Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Social Sciences

Social and political inequalities as well as work and lifestyle

Modern societies and democracies find themselves in a contentious area between political equality and social inequality. The “Social and Political Inequalities” research focus deals with the various manifestations, the associated conflicts, the causes and the legitimation patterns of inequality. Social inequalities are the result of unequal distribution and intergenerational transmission of economic, social and cultural capital, but can also be conveyed and moderated by the state via ascribed differentiating categories such as age, gender or ethnicity. In a globalised world, social inequalities also arise from different levels of integration in international production and financial regimes, and thus cross the borders of societies organised by national states. Political inequalities are often socially encoded, such as the interest in and knowledge of politics which varies by class, status and environment. In addition, political inequalities are caused by the differential distribution of citizenship rights.


Changes to work, gender and private lifestyle are looked at from action theory, organisational theory, institutional theory and international comparative perspectives. Work is examined as the central dimension of social inequality and societal power structures within the overall context of work and life. Social and operational organisation of work is investigated within various social, politico-economic and socio-historical contexts and in its interactions with individual patterns of life (e.g., care and career). In addition to the macroanalytical and mesoanalytical perspectives of socio-structural and institutional upheavals to working society, this area also takes into account socialisation processes relating to work, lifestyle, gender and family on a microanalytical level. Finally, along an explicitly critical and normative scale, this area investigates the consequences of current work and lifestyle developments for social and political behaviour and the emergence of new forms of social relationships and collective and civic behaviour, as well as their impact on the processes of social interaction, social inequality, social and geographical mobility, and demographic development.


Here you can find current research projects on social and political inequalities as well as work and lifestyle.

Research areas


Prof. Dr. Anette Fasang

Empirical Social Research

Prof. Dr. Johannes Giesecke

Social Science Research Methods

Prof. Dr. Martin Kroh


Prof. Dr. Steffen Mau



Sociology of Work and Gender Relations

Prof. Dr. Christine Wimbauer, Prof. Dr. sc. oec. Karin Lohr

Sociology of Social Policy

Prof. Dr. Philipp Lersch

Educational Sociology and Labor market Research

Prof. Jutta Allmendinger

Industrial Ecology and Climate Change

Prof. Dr. Helga Weisz