Research Areas

Our research programme comprises several interrelated domains that are listed below.

Families in Transition

Processes such as individualisation, secularisation, multiculturalisation, and emancipation underlie the changes that have been taking place in families. Research in this area unravels the ways in which policy, economic, and cultural contexts structure gendered and generational interdependencies in families. It examines the risks for social inequality and social exclusion that are connected with different divisions of care and financial responsibilities between men and women in families, the (informal) market, civil society, and public arrangements.

Policy Innovations

This research area focuses on the development and implementation of policies and on the social effects of policy interventions in terms of social inequality and social inclusion. Concerning the development and implementation of policies the focus is on gaining an understanding of the support for policy instruments, and of how organisations apply or impose policy instruments.

Attention is also paid to the questions of whether the assumptions underlying policy measures concur with the meanings attached to them by professionals and citizens, and whether the objects of policy instruments act according to the behavioural assumptions underlying them. Concerning the social effects of policy interventions the focus is on the interplay between developments in social security systems, collective agreements, and labour market regimes in dealing with 'old' and 'new' social risks.

Globalisation and Work

Work has been undergoing dramatic changes under the influence of globalisation, modernisation, digitisation, and the influx of women into the job market. This research area examines structural imbalances in the labour market, e.g. the discrepancy between workers' expectations for upward mobility throughout their working life and the inability of organizations to accommodate large numbers of older workers. Other focal points in this domain include the mismatch between the technical skills that organizations require and the skills that inadequately educated workers have to offer, and the lack of change in the formal and informal rules of the breadwinner model and women's integration into the labour market.

Research projects address these structural imbalances, asking questions about organisations' and policy makers' responses, and the emergence of new inequalities and new forms of social exclusion against the backdrop of welfare state policies.

Socio-economic Transformations

This research area studies economic processes from a dynamic sociological perspective. The main focus is on the relational structures in which the behaviour of economic actors is embedded. Studying economic fields and their transformations over time allows for a better understanding of crucial socio-economic changes. Studies that are currently carried out in this vein concern economic elites, the rise of 'shareholder value' in the US and Europe, the transformation of pharmaceutical companies, and the social dynamics of innovation.