Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Politische Soziologie und Sozialpolitik

Wintersemester 2021/22

53091 SE (BA) Einführung in die Vergleichende Politische Ökonomie

Dozentin: Hanna Schwander

Dieses Seminar führt Studierende in die wichtigsten theoretischen Ansätze und empirischen Befunde der Vergleichende Politische Ökonomie (CPE) ein. Die Teildisziplin CPE konzeptualisiert und untersucht die Beziehung zwischen Staat und Market, zwischen Politik und Wirtschaft. CPE befasst sich insbesondere mit den institutionellen Unterschieden in der Organisation moderner kapitalistischer Systeme und deren Auswirkungen auf Wirtschaftswachstum, Produktionsstrategien und individuelle Lebenschancen.

Konkret diskutieren wir folgende Fragen im Seminar:  Warum sind manche Länder reicher oder ungleicher als andere? Warum gibt es Wohlfahrtsstaaten und warum unterscheiden sie sich in ihrer institutionellen Ausgestaltung Wieso ist es kein Zufall, dass Apple eine amerikanische Firma ist und Mercedes in Deutschland entwickelt werden? Wie und warum unterscheiden sich die polit-ökonomischen Reaktionen auf Globalisierung, Wirtschaftswandel und demographischer Wandel zwischen modernen kapitalistischen Demokratien?

Der Kurs findet synchron statt.


53050 CO (BA/MA) Forschungskollquium für BA- und MA-Studierende und Doktoranden

Dozentin: Hanna Schwander

In diesem virtuell stattfindendem Forschungskolloquium diskutieren wir die Qualifikationsarbeiten von Bachelor und Masterstudierende sowie Doktoranden am Lehrbereich für Politische Soziologie und Sozialpolitik. Neben der Präsentation des eigenen Projektes sollen die Teilnehmenden ein Projekt eines Teilnehmenden diskutieren.


53188 VS (BA) Growth, Inequality and Poverty

Dozentin: Leire Rincón García

This course is largely about income in three guises: growth (changes in average income per head in countries); inequality (the dispersion of income between and within countries); and poverty (insufficient income). For sure, income is not all that there is, but it is a fundamental component of human development. The ranking of countries according to the UN Human Development Index is broadly in line with that based on income per capita; and the developed economies are also at the top of achievements in human development, while the low-income countries in most cases show a poor record. Moreover, disparities in life expectancy across countries and within countries tend also to be correlated with income gaps. Therefore, focusing on economic growth – or the lack of it – and the disparities in income between countries and within countries is well justified if one wants to understand the potential for countries and individuals to improve their living standards. The course introduces the participants into key debates and issues in the field.

By the end of the course students are expected to be familiar with the main debates surrounding economic growth, inequality and poverty. Also, they will be able to identify the impact of key factors behind income outcomes as well as to analyse the interconnection between the key leading themes. In particular, participants will develop the capacity to critically examine interventions aimed at reducing inequality and alleviating poverty. The course also offers them the opportunity to sharpen practical skills such as: working effectively in a team, searching and managing specialised information, preparing focused presentations, developing arguments based on theory and evidence, and improving their writing skills.


53165 SE (BA) Public Opinion on Welfare and Social Policy

Dozentin: Leire Rincón García

The welfare state is a key institution to sustain our modern way of life, support our economies and ensure human rights. Yet welfare states are under siege from a number of rising challenges that require imminent reforms. Crucial to the politics of welfare state is public opinion. How supportive citizens are to the welfare state and different alternatives for reform shape the way the welfare state have developed and also the prospects of future reform.

Current welfare states are facing numerous pressures which make imminent need for reform. Such pressures include, but are not limited to, changing socio-demographic trends with ageing populations and plunging birth-rates; uncertain labour market transformations propelled by the digitalisation and automatization of work, which are all currently being accompanied by the unprecedented crisis of covid-19 and its lasting socio-economic impacts. Current welfare institutions are unequipped to tackle these changes, which render the need for reform and updating increasingly evident.

But what are the public’s demands for welfare reform? Which policy alternatives do they prefer and why? What aspects or policies is public opinion more or less favourable to, and why is this the case? Which are the coalitions of support for different types of welfare reform? In this course we look at how public opinion is a key actor influencing welfare state development, and also look at the origins of preferences of mass opinion towards the welfare state. How do the individual-level determinants and contextual factors shape the demand for welfare reform? Which theories explain these preferences? How can we measure these preferences more efficiently and which are the key methodological approaches and challenges to these questions?

Students of this course will learn the importance of public opinion to the politics of welfare reform. They will also learn the determinants and the origins of public demands for welfare reform and understand how to capture public opinion towards reform, key insights from existing work, and remaining challenges.

Learning outcomes:

  • Distinguish between welfare state, social policy, and redistribution
  • Understand the influence of public opinion in the politics of welfare state
  • Understand the determinants of welfare and social policy attitudes
  • Understand the different theories and explanations
  • Understand the different methodological approaches and limitations to the study of public opinion and welfare state


53082 SE (BA) Liberal Democracy and Far Right Politics – Polar Opposites?

Dozent: Luke Shuttleworth

Across the globe, we have witnessed the resurgence of far right parties and social movements, as well as the normalisation and mainstreaming of exclusionary populist ideas and discourses. In academic and public spheres alike, this development is commonly framed as a threat to liberal democratic structures and institutions which are commonly associated with values such as liberty, tolerance, and equality, as well as continuous, steady progress towards a more egalitarian society. In contrast, the far right is characterised by an aversion to constitutional guarantees and equal rights, as well as exclusionary rhetoric towards marginalised and especially racialised groups. Despite these differences, researchers are calling for a more nuanced take on the relationship between the far right and liberal democracy. Thus, as opposed to seeing the two as polar opposites, a growing number of scholars contend that systemic forms of discrimination and marginalisation embedded in liberal democratic structures and institutions provide opportunities for far right mobilisations.

In this seminar, we will discuss the relationship between the far right and liberal democracy. Amongst others, the following questions will be dealt with: How do far right mobilisations reflect wider structural forms of marginalisation in society? In how far are mainstream political actors complicit in the normalisation of exclusionary populist discourse? In how far does structural racism and other forms of discrimination/domination provide opportunities to far right actors? The focus will be on Europe and especially the UK.

At the end of the seminar, students will work in groups on ideas for counter-measures and present these as a project in the final sessions. Students are encouraged to be creative and can choose their own topics, as well as the issue which the counter-measure aims to respond to. Groups can for instance propose policy changes, educational schemes, as well as ideas for artistic projects, protest actions, and advocacy measures


53022 GK (BA) Grundkurs: Politisches System der Bundesrepublik Deutschland

Dozent: Luke Shuttleworth (u. a.)


Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin