Department Sociology

Program Social and Cultural Dynamics

The research of the Department of Sociology is organized in the program, Social and Cultural Dynamics.

Program Description

The program Social and Cultural Dynamics (SCD) studies the dynamics of social behavior and cultural values in the area of social inequality and social cohesion. Topics studied within the broader theme of social inequality are work, occupation, income, poverty, welfare and health. Topics studied within social cohesion are values, solidarity, marriage, family, and social networks. With dynamics, we refer to the degree to which these issues change (or remain unchanged) in society as a whole (i.e., historical time), and the degree to which these issues change (or remain unchanged) for individuals (i.e., individual time). The program is motivated by external and internal forces: processes of (post)modernization in western societies on the one hand, and theoretical and empirical innovations in the life course perspective on the other hand.

The main research goals of the program are:

  1. To describe and explain social and cultural dynamics at the individual level, in particular by doing life course research.
  2. To describe and explain social and cultural dynamics at the macro-level, in particular by doing systematic cross-national research on societal change.
  3. To study the interaction between micro- and macro-level processes, in particular by examining how institutional changes (i.e., changes in social policy and changes in value climates) are related to individual (dynamic) behavior and values (and vice versa).

Although the program is sociological in its core, it is influenced by research lines from other disciplines, in particular by demography, social policy studies, and economics. In terms of methodology, the program is primarily quantitative, with a strong focus on comparative and longitudinal designs in survey research. The program invests heavily in the collection and preparation of primary data.

The mission of the program is to become a leading program in the sociology of social and cultural change that (a) combines micro- and macro-level perspectives, and (b) combines comparative and longitudinal research designs.