Faculty of Social Sciences

The research focus entitled “Cultural and religious diversity and social integration” takes the research carried out within the different subjects offered by the faculty and combines it into work on ethnic and religious pluralisation within the setting of globalisation and migration. In particular, this research on a topic of both public and great current interest covers three basic fields of research:

Fields of research

First, by examining dynamics of the symbolic and social mapping of borders, the emergence, reproduction and transformation of collective identities can be explained. Special interest here is directed at the causes and consequences resulting from different integration patterns exhibited by immigrants and other minorities in societies in Europe and under European influence; for example, in the international joint research project entitled “Causes and Consequences of Socio-Cultural Integration Processes of New Immigrants in Europe” (2010-2014, Diehl, Koenig), funded by the Norface ERA-NET programme, or the trilateral DFG project on outsider and established groupings in Israel and the autonomous Palestinian territories (2010-2013, Rosenthal).

The second field of research is closely related to this: it examines the connection between ethnic and religious diversity and structures of social inequality. Questions will be explored regarding, 1) the importance of unequal distribution of different resources required to build group identities and 2) the forms and effects of border mapping on the part of majority groupings (xenophobia and discrimination) or minority groupings (ethnicisation) on social class and status system. Here, the work looks at both the structures of ethnic stratification as well as their discursive representations.

The third field of research ultimately concerns the ways of coping with ethnic and religious diversity. Besides the everyday modicums of living with diversity, this work is particularly concerned with institutional regulatory framework and its public negotiation, which, in turn influence the dynamics of border mapping. A connection is drawn to the research focus entitled “globalisation and institutional change” and, not least, the globalisation-induced change taking place in politico-religious regimes, national integration policy and legal frameworks (legal pluralism) is also interrogatively examined. The nationwide competence network on “Dynamics of Religion and Politics in Southeast Asia” (Lauser) funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education (BMBF) falls under the management of this third topical area. From a methodical point of view, the three fields of research will be analysed using both quantitative and qualitative procedural approaches, involving the Center of Methods in Social Sciences.