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TU Berlin

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Chair of General Sociology - Theory of Modern Societies

The Chair in “General Sociology“ is in charge for teaching the basic theoretical foundations and recent developments in Sociological Theory and General Sociology on all levels of academic training (BA, MA, Doctoral Students). Teaching includes the historical formation of sociological theory, the basic contemporary approaches to sociological theory and research, the analyses of recent societal developments and the social structure of contemporary German and the emerging European society.

Based on phenomenology, social constructivism and the sociology of knowledge, theoretical research within General Sociology at the TUB is oriented towards the development of Communicative Constructivism, and it works to develop it on the basis of various fields of empirical research. The fields most intensively studied by us include knowledge and communication, visualization and video and religion, science and death.

1. Knowledge, i.e. the socially transmitted meaning, and communication, the social process of the transmission of knowledge, are in the major focus of our research. Since knowledge plays a descisive role in contemporary societies, our research aims at the face-to-face as well as the technically mediated forms by which “knowledge” is transmitted and "knowledge society" is constituted and legitimated.

2. Our methodological contribution to genre analysis, focused ethnography and videography contribute to the empirical investigation of communication and knowledge. We lay a particular stress on the increasing visualization of knowledge and the video-analysis of communicative processes, i.e. videography. Empirical analysis on visual data is facilitated by the VideoLabor, that forms part of the Chair for General Sociology.
3. Knowledge takes on quite different social forms. Next to everyday knowledge, communicative knowledge and visual knowledge, our research focuses also on religious knowledge and its significance for the technical-scientific civilization. At this, particularly the boundaries to and transgression with scientific and technical knowledge are of interest. As a paradigmatic case for the transgression of boundaries between religion, science, and technology, we are interested in the ways how contemporary society treat death and dying.

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