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100 Years of Sociology in Cologne

  • Principal investigator: Prof. Dr. Michael Wagner
  • Research assistant: Stefanie Knebelspieß, M.A.
  • Funding institution: Fritz Thyssen Stiftung October 2016 - September 2017
  • Duration: October 2016 - October 2019

The Institute of Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS) was founded on 1 April 1919 under the name "Research Institute for Social Sciences" as a municipal institution. It was the first sociological research institute in Germany. On the occasion of the centenary of the ISS, a research project will present the history of sociology in Cologne in detail. The aim of the project is to make historical influences on the development of the institute visible and to reconstruct the decisions and social relations that led to the foundation of the research institute.

The project is divided into five substudies:

1. The actors and decision-making processes in the establishment of the Research Institute for Social Sciences

Who gave the ideas, who politically implemented the foundation and financing of the (initially municipal) research institute?

2. Programme, personnel and organisational development of the Research Institute for Social Sciences from 1918/19 to the present ISS

How did historical events and processes influence the personnel and programmatic development of sociology in Cologne? Special attention is to be paid to the Nazi era.

3. The Cologne School and other sociological schools in Germany

To what extent is it justified to speak of a "Cologne School"? How is the relationship to other sociological schools in Germany, such as the "Frankfurt School" or the "Leipzig School"?

4. Personnel and contentual development of the Cologne Journal for Sociology and Social Psychology (KZfSS)

What are the special features of the content orientation of the KZfSS and how has the national and international influence of the KZfSS on sociology developed? 

5. Cologne's sociology in teaching and its graduates

What was the composition of the student body in the 1920s and 1930s and how has it changed to this day? What do we know about the employment opportunities of Cologne's sociology graduates?