Corso opzionale svolto a Vienna

Learning Outcomes

After the successful completion of the integrated course, students will have gained the following knowledge and skills:

Basic sociological knowledge, knowledge of particular sociological assumptions and theories as well as associated authors, acquisition of competence in asking sociological questions and looking at current social processes.


The lecture serves to provide students with basic knowledge for orientation in sociology. Based on insights into the history of the origins of sociology, we will turn to central topics of the early formation of sociological thinking and its various contributions to the systematization of sociology as a discipline. Paradigms such as methodological individualism and rationalization and, in contrast, the holistic functionally differentiated approach come into play as well as the concept of interaction and social forms. We will approach the different paradigms by means of corresponding studies. In this context, one of the questions, we will ask is ´In which way McDonalds relates to the assumption of rationalization´.

In the further course of the lecture, we will discuss theoretical developments, like, among others, role theory, accompanied by the question: ´How do we perform our self-presentation in everyday life?´ and go on with institutional theory as well as having a look at the individualization theses.

A specific emphasis we will put on the paradigm of the so-called social constructivism that, within sociology, is closely linked to the book “The social construction of reality” by Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. In line with this classic work, we will study the intersection of diverse strands of sociological ideas like the aforementioned methodological individualism and structuralism as well as the sociological contributions of the symbolic interactionism informed by pragmatism and social psychology. Moreover, this theory will serve as a starting point to discuss grand theories like structural functionalism and critical theory. Finally, we will conclude our round-trip in sociological ideas by having a look at current developments in social constructivism within sociology, as they come to bear, for example, in communicative constructivism.

In the course of the lecture series we will learn that what is special about sociology is not a particular subject of empirical and theoretical interest, but first and foremost the ways in which questions are posted. However, the ongoing theoretical contributions provide a template to elaborate questions that sociologists generate in their empirical observation of everyday social processes. Corresponding to that, within discussion groups we will train to ask sociological questions in relation to our own experiences of the social.

Student’s Material and Literature

Will be provided before the course

Teaching and Training

Development of discussion questions in preparation for the lecture series, based on the provided literature and own experiences of social processes. Discussion groups


Written examination at the end of the lecture week

Course Frequency

Blocked integrated course during the summer’s term