The sociologist Daniela Grunow and her team have secured funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) for a new Research Unit called Reconfiguration and Internalization of Social Structure (RISS), of which she is the spokesperson. RISS will receive around €3 million for its first four-year funding period. It is one of thirteen new Research Units funded by the DFG.
The RISS Research Unit aims to explore the effect of social change on the social and political orientations of individuals. Recent social change, particularly in the form of rising alienation and polarization of certain groups in society despite increased social mobility, is altering the ‘structures’ sociologists usually divide society into, such as class. The team within the Research Unit will attempt to pin down this change using multidimensional analysis, i.e. by looking at how dimensions like socio-economic status, gender relations, migration status, and ethnic diversity intertwine. The final task is then to determine how such change is affecting individuals.
"We are assuming a decidedly multidimensional approach to social structure and want to examine the complexity of the topic,” Prof Grunow said in a press release. Prof Grunow will head the central RISS project, seeking to develop the multidimensional approach, manage the survey data collection and answer the central questions about effects on individuals. Other RISS projects will then focus on sub-topics, such as gender and parenting norms, in more depth.
Prof Grunow is based at Goethe University in Frankfurt, where she has been co-director of the Institute for Empirical-Analytical Research (InFER) since 2016. Before joining Goethe University, she held positions at Yale University in the U.S. and at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands.