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A European Societies and their Integration: 

The projects in Department A study the cultural, social, economic and welfare-state-based foundations of living conditions in Europe, their change and their variation in different European societies.

Research Area A1 studies the varieties and changes of the institutional structures in Europe that constitute crucial macro- and meso-conditions of societal integration. Research Area A2 addresses three structural core spheres of societal integration, which are the family, the educational system and the labour market. Research Area A3 focuses on specific groups who provide an especially telling litmus test for the integrative power of societies: immigrants and their children. Although research in Department A adopts various theoretical and methodological approaches, a common concern is the better integration of sociological theory and empirical research. Many overlapping and mutually stimulating research interests exist between the three areas. A series of projects in Department A compile or collect new elaborate large-scale, often longitudinal, data to give more appropriate empirical answers to key open questions. Many projects are embedded in wider national or international research initiatives.
B European Political Systems and their Integration: 

In various ways, the projects of Department B seek to contribute to the understanding of democratic politics and its development in Europe. The focus is both on comparative research investigating different aspects of the national political systems in Europe and their change in the course of European integration and on the emergent system of EU governance and conflict regulation and its relationships to national politics.

The three Research Areas focus on complementary, but also interrelated aspects of democratic politics in the European multi-level system of governance: the involvement and participation of citizens in democratic decision-making and their attitudes towards polities, policies and politics (B1), the roles of political parties and their candidates as well as parliaments and legislators for democratic governance, with a special emphasis on electoral competition and political representation (B2), and the mutual dependencies and influences between the various layers of multi-level politics with regard to substantial and institutional policies, but also interest intermediation and elections (B3). Numerous projects are densely tied into international research networks, some of them assuming leading roles. Several projects also aim at the by-product of providing scholars with innovative data sets as a collective good.

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