Our basic-oriented research at the Chair of Political Sociology focuses on political attitudes and political behavior of citizens in modern democracies. In particular, we study electoral behavior and other forms of participation that enable citizens to actively participate in politics in Germany and Europe.
Our approach is micro-analytical, i.e. it focuses on single individuals. However, we do not view citizens as isolated entities, but rather consider their embedding in diverse contexts. In order to explain attitudes and behaviour, we therefore use both individual characteristics such as socio-structural or socio-psychological characteristics as well as characteristics of contextual units. These units include primary environments such as family and friends, secondary relationships such as neighbours or work colleagues as well as small-scale socio-geographical environments or the national level.
We also analyse how citizens receive and process information from multiple channels. In doing so, we take into account an increasingly complex structure of actors and content of political communication; this includes both the content of offline and online media communication as well as the messages of political parties that they disseminate during and beyond election campaign periods.
In addition to these channels of political communication, one focus of our research is the everyday communication of citizens. The vision of deliberative democracy, which is discussed in normative theory of democracy as a particularly influential ideal, is a significant inspiration in this context. For example, we investigate whether political conversations approach deliberative ideals such as inclusive participation or argumentative debate. Finally, we look at the influences of various discussion characteristics on political behavior and attitudes.
This profile finds its concrete expression in the research projects and publications of the chair.