Understanding Social Change

“RISS”, a new research group funded by the German Research Foundation, will receive three million euros to investigate social and political stability in our society. The project is co-led by Dr. Richard Traunmüller , Professor of Political Science at the University of Mannheim.

The project with the title “Reconfiguration and Internalization of Social Structure” (RISS) combines Social Stratification Analysis and Political Sociology and suggests a new analytical perspective on social change. Professor Dr. Daniela Grunow, sociologist at the Goethe University Frankfurt, is spokesperson and Professor Dr. Richard Traunmüller, holder of the Chair of Political Science and Empirical Democracy Research at the University of Mannheim, co-spokesperson for the project. The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) with approx. three million euros; the funding has initially been granted for four years. The RISS project will start in fall. The Mannheim part of the research group will be part of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES).

“We want to find out how individuals deal with new combinations of previously uncombined social characteristics such as educational success, gender ratio, migration and ethnic diversity and how these changes influence how individuals see themselves”, says Traunmüller. The aim is to develop and empirically test a theory which helps to explain the socio-structural shaping of individual and collective identities.

Researchers in Mannheim will combine the concepts of the various parts of the RISS project. The most important approaches will be included in an innovative empirical basis. The Mannheim team, headed by Traunmüller, will also investigate how Islamist and anti-Muslim violence disrupts the link between social structure, identity and behavior.