About the Institute

At a Glance

The Institute of Sociology offers a broad spectrum of research activities, with particular focus on an analysis of transnationalization and Europeanization processes and international comparison, especially of European societies. This research and teaching agenda is implemented together with the Central Institutes for East European Studies, Latin American Studies, and the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies as well as the Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) and the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW).

Members of the Institute are involved in the German Research Foundation (DFG) Research Unit studying European socialization processes, the Collaborative Research Center (SFB) “Affective Societies – Dynamics of Sociality in a World in Motion”, the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP), and the National Educational Panel Study (NEPS) as well as at several graduate schools funded by the German Excellence Initiative. This research profile is complemented by a research-oriented master’s program "Sociology – European Societies," which is offered in English and German.

Council of the Institute (Institutsrat)

Professors: Katharina Bluhm, Sérgio Costa, Jürgen Gerhards (Managing Director), Christian von Scheve

Representive of research associates: Lisa Bankowski

Students' representative: Lars Mojem

Representative of non-scientific staff: Inga Ganzer


In an article Heiner Ganßmann presents a historical portrayal of the institute. As a student, research associate and later professor he was part of the institutes’ development from 1963-2009 and correspondingly participated in its creation.

Heiner Ganßmann (2013): Ein umgedrehtes U – Soziologie an der Freien Universität Berlin, in: Gesellschaftswissenschaften an der Freien Universität Berlin. V&R Unipress, S. 265-278 (only in German).

Postdoctoral lecture qualifications (Habilitationen)

The success of university institutes can manifest in different dimensions. For sure, one relevant dimension is if and to what extent an institute is able to educate its young academics and to position them on the labour market successfully. The Institute of Sociology does not have empirical information about all its graduates and their paths of career. But we know which persons made their postdoctoral lecture qualification ("Habilitation") at the institute and who became professors later.

This table lists those persons who made their postdoctoral lecture qualification in the field of sociology at Freie Universität Berlin, partly in cooperation with other institutes in Berlin (Max Planck Institute, Social Science Research Center, etc.) and who were able to get a professorship. Especially regarding the former years this list is surely not complete. Since the introduction of junior professorships appointments got possible without “Habilitation”. For the last five years the list also includes persons who were research associates at the institute and who were appointed to a junior professorship.

One can see: Until now the Institute of Sociology was very successful in educating and positioning young academics.