Department Department of Social Sciences

Research with societal impact

Research in the social sciences encompasses a broad spectrum of internationally leading disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship that addresses key societal challenges at the national, European and global levels – both seminally contributing to academic debates and providing timely advice on policies and solutions.

Our Mission Statement 


Our 4 institutes

We develop synergies across different areas within the social sciences.

The Department of Social Sciences is home to four institutes. The Centre for Childhood and Youth Research, the Institute for Education and Society, the Institute for Socio Economic Inequality and the Institute of Political Science.

Research in social and economic inequality is devoted to strategic topics such as income and wealth dynamics and the interplay between the two, inequalities related to education and gender and their consequences for health and ageing, the rise of a new precariat, the accumulation of social stressors for cohorts and whole societies, convergence and divergence between immigrants and locals, and the complex policy problems associated with the rising frustrations of the middle classes.

Research in the sociology of education explores the consequences of educational opportunities and (formal and non-formal) processes of education over the life course and analyzes the ways education systems affect the life chances of individuals and groups. It provides new insights on macro-, meso- and micro-levels, from global to local, and comparatively, based on quantitative, qualitative and historical data. Comparative perspectives, emphasizing historical and spatial similarities and differences, facilitate our understanding of educational achievement, attainment and inequalities, and inform policymaking.

Research on childhood and youth examines the conditions and opportunity structures of growing up against the backdrop of social change and inequalities. A range of theoretical perspectives and multi-methodological designs serve to research the links between policies, education and welfare systems, and social and personal resources for citizenship, identity, health, migration, participation, school-to-work transition, and well-being. The social scientific examination of childhood, youth, and young adulthood produces unique insights that are highly relevant to policy.

Research in political science focuses on European Union policies and decision-making, European and international political economy, electoral politics in post-conflict societies, human rights and parliamentarianism. This research critically examines contemporary processes of multi-level governance and the implications of such complex, evolving structures for both policy coherence and democratic accountability.