In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.
I am mostly concerned with a sociology of sociology. Sociology as an academic subject has a history of 100-150 years in which the division of academic domains has evolved and changed considerably. My research questions center around the major question of the principle relationship between sociology, economics, history, and psychology and a few smaller academic fields. We are currently in times in which an increased discussion on interdisciplinarity is on the agenda. Major questions remaining are: (1.) Has the field of sociology changed since Émile Durkheim or Max Weber? (2.) Which domain can sociology claim as being its exclusive ground? Answers to these questions have to identify a broader landscape of academic division: Economics is moving increasingly in the direction of social topics and sociological ground. The “imperialism of economics” (Granovetter) is increasingly approaching traditional academic fields of history, psychology, and sociology. However, at least two psychologists and an economic historian have received Nobel prizes in economics. How can sociology map with this trend, how can this development be converted into an academic opportunity for sociology? Observed trends let us conclude that the public image of sociology may have declined during recent decades, but the strategic use and importance of sociology has never been greater. So, sociology seems to have become an upgraded discipline since social networks, communication processes, institutions and culture are increasingly considered as core dimensions. This perspective includes an evaluation of academic hazards as well as opportunities for sociology as a rising key discipline in the 21st century.
Besides the field of interest briefly described above I am also engaged in the history of economic thought, political economy, socioeconomics, general sociology, social stratification and mobility, economic sociology, sociology of consumption and life-styles and in sociology of entrepreneurship.
What characterizes your scientific work?
I have been teaching and doing research in different academic settings, e.g. in a (genuine) faculty of sociology (Bielefeld), in faculties of economics and management, and in business schools teaching courses in programs of sociology, economics or business administration. Knowing about the own potential as an interdisciplinarity-seeking sociologist provides comparative advantages to hint to bridges and synergies where other remain in their academic niches.
What is the main professional activity you are engaged in?
After the ISA world congress at Madrid (1990) I joined the board of the RC30 Sociology of Work and after 1994 (Bielefeld) I changed into the board of RC02 Economy and Society. Since then I have held numerous positions in diverse organizations, I am currently a board member of the International Joseph Schumpeter Society.
What are your next projects or publications?
Most recently, I edited the book Sociology of the Economy: Old and New Questions (VS Publishers 2014) and published on different topics, such as on social networks (American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 2013), Schumpeter as a universal social theorist, (Atlantic Economic Journal, 2014), entrepreneurship and independent professionals, social and economic logics (International Advances in Economic Research, 2014), the articles “Integrative Entrepreneurship Research – Bridging the Gap Between Sociological and Economic Perspectives” (International Journal of Entrepreneurial Venturing, 2014) and “Micro-Entrepreneurship: Tendency Towards Precarious Work?” (Athens Journal of Economics and Business, 2015). I also published two new books “Studying Society in Order to Understand the Economy” (VS Publishers 2015, in German) and “Consumption – Multidisciplinary Perspectives” (VS Publishers 2015, in German, in press) and I am engaged in writing a new monograph on entrepreneurship and coediting an international volume on entrepreneurship studies.