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2013 (35) Heft 2

Aktuelle Themen der Soziologie I

 

Guest-Editor: Ulrich Rosar


Abstracts | Inhalt | Editorial

Marco Giesselmann / Jan Goebel
Soziale Ungleichheit in Deutschland in der Längsschnittperspektive. Befunde zur Armutsproblematik auf Basis des Sozio-oekonomischen Panels (SOEP)
277-302

Abstract: In this article, we discuss and analyse poverty in Germany from a longitudinal perspective. Using data from the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP), we first show that the general poverty rate in Germany has constantly increased since the late 1990s. Shifting to a life-course perspective, we show that not only socio-structural characteristics have a strong impact on the poverty risk, but also critical life-events. While focusing on dynamics of poverty within individual life-courses, it appears that incidents like formation of a new household, birth of a child and separation from partner are associated with an immediate increase of the poverty risk. The event of becoming unemployed stands particularly out. Comparing longitudinal and fixed-effects approaches on the one hand with simple cross-sectional procedures on the other, our analyses finally emphasises that cross-sectional analyses are not sufficient to fully understand or to explain poverty. Therefore, our study can be interpreted as a claim to make stronger use of the benefits of longitudinal data in the context of poverty research.

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Karsten Hank / Martina Brandt
Health, Families, and Work in Later Life: A Review of Current Research and Perspectives
303-320

Abstract: There is a rapid growth in published knowledge about different aspects of age and aging. While this is highly welcome, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep up even with the main insights provided by this literature. Our review thus aims to provide a compact overview of current social science research in three major domains of older people's life: health, families, and work. Moreover, we briefly discuss some theoretical issues and introduce the Survey of Health, Ageing, and Retirement in Europe (SHARE). The research findings discussed here demonstrate both the challenges and opportunities lying ahead of us as life expectancy is increasing steadily and as the proportion of older people in our societies will grow further. More generally, we find a great value of life course and cross-nationally comparative perspectives in aging research. We conclude with an outlook on perspectives for future studies in this field.

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Sabine Keller / Bernhard Nauck
The German Family Panel (pairfam). Research Potential and First Results of a Multi-Disciplinary Longitudinal Study on Partnership and Family Dynamics in Germany
321-339

Abstract: The German Family Panel pairfam is a multidisciplinary, multi-actor, longitudinal study of partnership and family dynamics in Germany. The present paper illustrates the wide analytical potential inherent in the annually growing pairfam dataset by summarizing published analyses of pairfam data on the topics of partnership, parenthood, and intergenerational relationships. Since the panel is uniquely rich due to its longitudinal and multi-actor design, this selection of publications also provides a concise review of current developments in the sociology of family and partnership.

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Ina E. Bieber / Evelyn Bytzek
Herausforderungen und Perspektiven der empirischen Wahlforschung in Deutschland am Beispiel der German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES)
341-370

Abstract: Empirical electoral research in Germany has reached a high level of quality both with regard to theoretical approaches and methodological issues. Moreover, it is strongly linked to other disciplines in political science such as comparative political studies or political communication and also highly integrated in international electoral research. However, a changing context of voting and internal deficits are imposing challenges on electoral research in Germany which should be met in the next years and decades. Still, these challenges can also be regarded as perspectives for future electoral research. This paper thus describes the current standing of empirical electoral research in Germany and gives a detailed account of the challenges resulting from this. Further, using the example of the German Longitudinal Election Study (GLES) we show how these challenges can be and are actually met.

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Stefan Liebig / Carsten Sauer
Soziologische Gerechtigkeitsanalyse. Überlegungen zur theoretischen Fundierung eines Forschungsfeldes
371-394

Abstract: During the last years the focus of sociological justice research has been on the measurement of justice attitudes of the people outside the laboratory via large scale and internationally comparative surveys. Within these surveys one attempt has been to identify the social determinants and the consequences of individual justice attitudes. However, the theoretical foundation of this research within exiting sociological theories and concepts has been neglected. Therefore, the sociological justice research is so far not able to provide theoretically sound answers to at least two questions: (1) why do people think justice is important, and (2) what are the reasons for substantively different justice attitudes? By using the theory of social production functions and the goal-framing theory this contribution tries to overcome this shortcoming and suggests an explanation why justice is seen as a desirable goal and why norms of justice are in the very own interest of the individual. Assumptions are derived under which conditions individuals declare themselves in favor of a specific principle of justice to solve conflicts of allocation and distribution. The aim of this paper is to derive theoretically substantive and empirically testable predictions based on a general theory of action and thus to contribute to a stronger theoretical foundation of sociological justice research.

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Ulf Tranow
Solidarität: Vorschlag für eine soziologische Begriffsbestimmung
395-421

Abstract: Although solidarity is a key issue in sociology, surprisingly little attention has been given to the question what constitutes solidarity from a sociological perspective. In this paper I suggest a concept of solidarity which might work as a general framework for theoretical and empirical investigations. The central idea is that solidarity norms make up the core of the concept. Solidarity norms demand from their addressees that they transfer resources without compensation either to a collective or to individuals. It is argued that there are two levels of solidarity to be distinguished: (1) the level of social systems where solidarity is manifested in solidarity norms and (2) the level of individuals where solidarity is embedded in commitment to solidarity norms. I differentiate between four universal solidarity norms which can be found in associations on every level of social aggregation: norms of provision, of sharing, of supporting, and of loyalty.

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Mengyue Liu
Kultur, soziale Institutionen und die ökonomische Entwicklung in China
423-447

Abstract: One of the main concerns of New Institutional Economics is to explain the pervasive existence of inefficient political or economic arrangements. However, quite different explanations of this phenomenon are offered. Some authors consider it a result of formally established rules, others think it is caused by traditional cultural beliefs, yet others ascribe it to evolved social relations. But each of these approaches can only cover part of the truth. In this paper I suggest that societal development and endurance can only be explained if we consider the dynamic interactions between formal, cultural and social institutions. In applying this theoretical framework to the development of the Chinese economy during the past thirty years, I will argue that the special relations between the socialist political system, Confucian familist culture and social relationships—namely Guanxi—have contributed to the rise and concomitant problems of the Chinese economy. On this basis it might be possible to answer two questions that have troubled scholars for decades: How could the Chinese private economy flourish without well-defined property rights? Why did the Chinese entrepreneurs fail to lead China to further political reform after having achieved huge success on the market?

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Tobias Escher
Mobilisierung zu politischer Partizipation durch das Internet: Erwartungen, Erkenntnisse und Herausforderungen der Forschung
449-476

Abstract: This article is focusing on the state of research into the extent to which the opportunities for information, communication and participation opened up by the Internet have led to greater mobilisation of the public for political participation. After briefly presenting the diversity of conflicting expectations towards the Internet’s role for the political process, the article discusses the relevance of digital media as a means for mobilising greater and more equal political participation from a liberal-representative perspective on democracy. At the core of the article is a discussion of the last 15 years of research empirically testing the mobilisation hypothesis as well as the theories proposed to explain the observed participation patterns. What becomes clear is that the Internet does indeed slightly increase rates of political participation but with few exceptions those newly mobilised come from parts of the population that are already politically active. At the same time, the explanations still exhibit considerable gaps that remain to be closed. To this end future research needs to address a number of challenges which are discussed in the final section of the article.

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