The research group defines cultural sociology as the study of the production and circulation of meaning as they occur through social processes. This may in many cases imply a micro-sociological perspective on cultural repertoires and tacit knowledge that people apply when navigating through their social world. However, as culture is always closely intertwined with structures, institutions and nature, research in cultural sociology also includes meso and macro perspectives that situate social practices, identities and the production of meaning within larger historical and societal contexts such as organizations, institutional logics, discursive orders etc. The research group in sociology does interdisciplinary research.
The Sociology Research Group´s broad cultural sensibility, combined with a structural, relational and historical and political perspective, is applied to the study of three themes.
- Rural life and rural development, including rural-urban relations and policies affecting the rural areas.
- Professions, organizations and practices, including sub-themes as norms, values, logics and management.
- Civil society, including sub-themes such as social capital and trust, voluntary associations, religious groups, integration, migration, state-citizen relations and globalization.
The members of the group have published considerably. Their publications are cited both nationally and internationally. Members are successful in attracting external funding, and they cooperate widely with other research environments in cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional constellations.
The diversity of topics and perspectives that characterizes the work of the research group readily lends itself to methodological pluralism and, in many cases, mixed-methods research is applied on particular topics. The scope is cross-disciplinary.
Commonly used methods include fieldwork, interviews, participant-observations, case studies, surveys, regression analyses, document analyses and source critical method. The research group has an open and inclusive approach to various disciplines and methods within the sociological field.
These methods are applied within the three themes, as well as across themes in specific research projects.
The Sociology Research Group prefers to publish in these journals:
Civil Society, Journal of
Journal of Management Studies
Journal of Rural Studies
Journal of Rural & Community Development
Land Use Policy
Local Government Studies
Progress in Human Geography
Public Management Review
Theory, Culture and Society
Scandinavian Journal of Management
Social policy and Administration
Social & Cultural Geography
The applied and cooperative approach of the group implies an on-going knowledge exchange with the surrounding world. This takes place in the following ways:
- Involvement in practice-oriented projects, for example in local communities, often using participatory research methods.
- Publication of easily accessible and highly applicable reports, often with the aim of contributing to specific policy areas, such as rural, social and digitalization policies.
- Giving talks to municipalities, interest organizations, voluntary associations, trade unions etc.
- (Pro)active presence in the media.
- Organizing seminars and workshops for e.g. municipal employees.
- Publication of feature articles in national and regional newspapers.
- Publication at blogs, electronic media etc.
- Publication of an annual anthology, which is widely distributed.
The Sociology research group is responsible for the BSc in Sociology and Cultural Analysis and MSc in Cultural Sociology at University of Southern Denmark, Esbjerg. Practically all teaching is undertaken by the 16 group members. This ensures a comprehensive research-based teaching practice. Courses are continuously developed in accordance with the research activities of the group. We also ensure that students always have easy access to all group members.
Our main paedagogical concept is to give students the opportunity to become ’mini-researchers’. Hence, we want to teach them how to systematically identify, delimit and formulate a relevant research problem, undertake data collection and analyze the data by use of theoretical concepts. This takes places in so-called semester projects, where the students are expected to undertake their own investigations of real world problems for private and public organizations. Overall, we attempt to create a close contact between students and the members of the research group, also by including them in our own research activities when relevant, co-authoring reports, feature articles and journal articles.
In order to equip the students to undertake their semester projects, we vary between teaching theory and practice. The aim is to educate skillful, reflexive and independent academics for the contemporary and future labour market.