Research and teaching focuses on internationally important and socially relevant issues in Southeast Asia, with the following specialist areas:
- Analysis of development and transformation processes
- Social-ecological research: towards sustainable society-nature relations
- Gender inequality
In accordance with the methodological requirements of qualitative social research, innovative interdisciplinary procedures and transdisciplinary collaboration with bearers of practical knowledge are central to our work. The application of theoretically and empirically grounded comparative approaches opens up new pathways to understanding through the interpretation of findings of multi-country research, with a focus on Indonesia.
Research priority area: development sociology
Changes in rural and urban areas brought about by globalization area occurring, alongside changes to social perceptions and people’s expectations. The networking of rural areas through migration from underdeveloped regions and migration into cities poses new challenges for the theoretical understanding of the terms locality and sustainability. Case studies (for example of biofuels, biodiversity) are used to analyse emerging tensions between patterns of development in rural and urban areas.
Research priority area: gender inequality
The focus is on understanding the process of the social production of gender, and identifying constant and variable elements therein. To this end, the approach draws on development sociology, organizational sociology and institutional economics. Chair incumbent Professor Martina Padmanabhan’s concept of Interface is used as a theoretical framework for analysing the negotiation of meaning, knowledge and power between the sexes in a life-world where gender inequality confronts other, competing logics.
Research priority area: institutional Analysis
Institutions are understood as rule-governed arrangements, which structure social institutions and thereby contribute to the coordination of human action. The enablement of collective action is central for the establishment and enforcement of rights of access to common-pool environmental resources. At the same time, analysis of the specific properties of natural resources, and of stakeholders, are required in order to determine ecologically appropriate governance structures. The interest shown by classical institutionalism in gender as an asymmetrical institution links our work to modern negotiation-based approaches.