Here you will find information on events in the field of analytical-empirical social sciences. The events listed may be hosted by the Academy of Sociology, individual members or other people or organizations. We assume no liability for the accuracy of the information on third-party events.

Thomas Leopold (Köln): "Beyond the Nuclear Family: New Data on Kinship Networks Reveal Matrilineal Tilts, Ripple Effects of Divorce, and the Importance of Extended Kin"

This study analyzed ego-centric kinship network data from adults aged 25–35 across seven Western societies: Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, the UK, and the US. These data surpass existing data sources in the coverage of ties to nuclear, extended, and complex kin, allowing for a novel perspective on family and kinship as sources of influence, social integration, and support. This perspective yields three main findings that reach beyond the extant focus on the nuclear family. First, extended kin are central to younger adults’ lives. They account for approximately half of the family members that younger adults are emotionally close to, in regular contact with, and deem important in their lives. Second, kinship networks are matrilineally tilted. Compared to paternal kin, maternal kin are more often perceived as important, more frequently contacted, emotionally closer, and more reliable …

… as a source of support. These differences are sizable, emphasizing the vital role of kinship line in contemporary Western families. Third, the effects of parental separation permeate deeply into the family network, weakening ties particularly in the paternal line. Compensation of these relational losses through complex kin is limited in most countries but substantial in the US.

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Daniel McFarland (Stanford): "Homo Academicus Stanfordiensis"

Elite American universities are a site of struggle. Within them is a divided intellectual culture where faculty adopt distinct orientations toward their work activities, and they compete for position and power. To outcompete their peers, faculty innovate and secure more and varied forms of resources. The university supports these efforts with new programs, centers, and institutional initiatives, and it consecrates them through the selective conferral of promotions to tenure, full professorships, and administrative leadership positions. In this way the elite university as a field reproduces the legitimacy of elite faculty and the university’s dominant position in the larger academic field, but in a way adaptive to the changing environment. We present evidence of this via a full census of faculty members’ backgrounds, accrued capital,  …

… and administrative powers – e.g., attributes, affiliations, relationships, work activities, accomplishments and ranks – at Stanford University over a 25-year period. Multiple correspondence analysis reveal the university culture and habitus is divided, with hard science faculty building high-output labs aimed at securing scientific capital, and humanistic and social science faculty adopting activist concerns and developing popular courses to secure intellectual capital. Using hazard models, we show these forms of capital have distinct appeal to stages of promotion (tenure, full, leadership). We also show how faculty in both cultures innovate and secure new forms of capital (e.g., patents, donor funds, social media mentions – i.e., mostly toward new forms of scientific capital), increasing their pool of accrued resources (and the university’s), and raising the bar on promotion criteria. In conclusion we discuss how this system of struggle has implications for knowledge production.

If you want to attend in person, please visit our event page for registration (for free). Online attendance is possible without registration via Zoom (click here, Meeting ID: 384 326 1393, Passcode: 2324).

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Marita Jacob (University of Cologne): "Unlocking Equal Opportunities: How Counseling Mitigates Social Inequality in University Enrollment in Germany"

A large body of research has documented persistent social inequalities in access to higher education. In recent years, therefore, there has been growing research and policy interest in how such inequalities can be mitigated, for example through individual guidance counselling. Such individual guidance programmes often aim to promote the enrolment of students from low social backgrounds. However, social inequality in enrolment could also be reduced by individuals from high social backgrounds taking up vocational education and training, which is an attractive option also for high school leavers in Germany. Moreover, if we zoom in on the group of students from low social origins, there may be considerable effect heterogeneity, as students with a migrant background already tend to study …

…  more often than their peers even without counselling, because they are more strongly oriented towards intergenerational status gain. I will present findings on these questions from the project “Future and Career Plans before Leaving High School”. The project uses a randomised controlled trial study design with more than 1000 high school students embedded in a panel survey to evaluate the effect of an individual and intensive counselling programme in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. The results suggest that individual and intensive counselling can significantly reduce social inequalities in access to higher education, with opposite effects for students from high and low social backgrounds. Looking only at students from low SES, we find a stronger positive effect of counselling on enrolment for non-migrant students. Contrary to our expectation, this migration-related heterogeneity in the effect cannot be attributed to the status-gain motive. Beyond these individual-level programme effects, I will also discuss how such programmes affect aggregate social inequality and how this depends, for example, on the scale of implementation.


If you want to attend in person, please visit our event page for registration (for free). Online attendance is possible without registration via Zoom (click here, Meeting ID: 384 326 1393, Passcode: 2324).

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Speaker Series Continues

The AS Hybrid Speaker Series at the Institute for Sociology and Social Psychology (ISS), University of Cologne, which started in summer 2023, will continue in winter term 2023/24. In a mix of international and local speakers, the series invites to discussions about how sociological scholarship addresses major societal challenges and developments. The following lectures will be given:

  • 15.11.23 – Marita Jacob (Köln), Unlocking Equal Opportunities: How Counseling Mitigates Social Inequality in University Enrollment in Germany
  • 13.12.23 – Daniel McFarland (Stanford), Homo Academicus Stanfordiensis: The University as Strategic Action Field
  • 20.12.23 – Thomas Leopold (Köln), Beyond the Nuclear Family: New Data on Kinship Networks Reveal Matrilineal Tilts, Ripple Effects of Divorce, and the Importance of Extended Kin

Organization: Clemens Kroneberg (Cologne), Malte Reichelt (Bamberg).

If you want to attend in person, please visit our event page for registration (for free). Online attendance is possible without registration via Zoom (click here, Meeting ID: 384 326 1393, Passcode: 2324).

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Elizabeth Bruch (Michigan University): "Competition in Online Dating Markets"

Wednesday, June 28th, 2023, 17.45, ISS Cologne (in-person or via ZOOM)

The idea that mate pursuit unfolds in a market is the theoretical foundation for most social science studies of dating and marriage. Within that context, scholars argue that romantic pairings result from two factors: the preferences that people have for their partners and the demographic makeup of the market (i.e., opportunities). Much attention has been paid to measuring romantic preferences – that is, who desires whom – and also documenting how relationship patterns vary with market composition. But little attention has been paid to understanding how an individual’s preferences and opportunities combine in the market, i.e., the workings of the market. A market for dating or marriage implies that singles /compete/ for desirable partners – this competition determines who ends up with whom and who ends up alone. While competition is shaped by preferences and opportunities, it is not a simple sum of these things. …

… In her talk, Elizabeth Bruch presents a novel framework for studying competition in dating or marriage markets and apply it to data on messaging patterns observed within an online dating site. Our analyses provide insight into the nature of competition in this market – for example, who is most competitive, who competes with whom, and who faces the stiffest competition – and how this competition arises out of preferences and opportunities. In doing so, we develop a deeper understanding of how population – and individual-level factors combine to shape relationship outcomes.

Elizabeth Bruch is a Professor of Sociology at Michigan University.

For information about online or in-person attendance, please click here.

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Venice Workshop Analytical Sociology: Theory and Empirical Applications

In November 2023, the workshop on “Analytical Sociology: Theory and Empirical Applications” in will take place in Venice, Italy, on the island of San Servolo. What began in 1999 as a seminar with a few doctoral students has now developed into a 4-day workshop with almost 100 participants each year. The workshop welcomes theoretical contributions in the field of analytical sociology or theory-driven empirical social research on any topic. There will be slots for a maximum of 30 oral presentations (30 minutes including discussion) and 25 posters. The poster sessions will begin with short introductory presentations in the main conference hall. The workshop language is  English.

Location: The workshop will take place from Monday 20th November 9:30 to Thursday 23rd November 13:00. It will be held at the Venice International University (VIU), Venice, Italy. The VIU buildings are located on the small island of San Servolo (about 10 minutes by boat from the historic city centre). Participants can book hotel rooms either on San Servolo or in the city centre.

Organizers: Josef Brüderl and Gerrit Bauer (LMU Munich) in cooperation with the Venice International University (VIU) and the Academy of Sociology (AS).

Workshop fees: There is no workshop fee, but we cannot cover your travel costs.

Abstract Submission: Please send an abstract (one page max.) by July 15th ( Please indicate whether you prefer an oral presentation, a poster or are indifferent. A preliminary programme will be available in early August.

For further organizational details please see the workshop homepage.

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Kasten Hank (Cologne University): Assessing sexual minority respondents’ attitudes, behaviors, and outcomes: Quantitative findings from pairfam and FReDA

Wednesday, June 14th, 2023, 17.45, ISS Cologne (in-person or via ZOOM)

Next to significant expansions of legal rights and recognitions of homosexuals, the beginning of the 21st century brought along a rapid expansion of social science research on gay and lesbian family issues. Whereas many studies are still based on qualitative research designs, the greater availability of high-quality survey data has spawned a new wave of quantitative research allowing representative studies of sexual minority populations that go beyond simple demographic accounts of, for example, union dynamics or fertility. We provide an overview of recent studies based on the German Family Panel (pairfam) and the German Family Demography Panel Study (FReDA), investigating such diverse topics as intergenerational relationships, expectations concerning partnerships and parenthood, as well as the subjective well-being of gays and lesbians in Germany.

For information about online or in-person attendance, please click here.

Filiz Garip (Princeton University): Climate Change, Migration, and Inequality

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023, 17.45, ISS Cologne (in-person or via ZOOM)

Existing work presents mixed findings on the impact of weather events on international migration. Relying on fine-grained data over 1980-2018 in the Mexico-U.S. setting, we turn to machine learning (ML) tools to first determine if weather events can predict migration choices of 140,000+ individuals. We include a comprehensive list of weather indicators measured at various lags and to consider complex interactions among the inputs. These models rely on data-driven model selection, optimize predictive performance, but often produce ‘black-box’ results. In our case, the results show that weather indicators offer at best a modest improvement in migration predictions. We then attempt to open the black box and model the linkages between select weather indicators and migration choices. We find the combination of precipitation and temperature extremes and their sequencing to be crucial to predicting weather-driven migration responses out of Mexico. We also show heterogeneity in these responses by household wealth. Specifically, …

… we find that wealthier households in rural communities migrate in the immediate aftermath of a negative weather shock (relative to the ‘normal’ weather in their community), while poorer households need to experience consecutive and worsening shocks to migrate to the United States. This pattern suggests that migration as an adaptation strategy might be available to select households in the developing world.


For information about online or in-person attendance, please click here.

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Lea Ellwardt: The Ties that Bother. Difficult Relationships in Older Adults’ Personal Network

Wednesday, May 3, 2023, 17.45, ISS Cologne (in-person or via ZOOM)

Difficult relationships may impede some benefits of social integration. This study inquires how many difficult relationships prevail in the personal network in late life, where they originate, and to what extent they affect loneliness. We supplemented the Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) with our data collection on egocentric networks before the COVID-19 pandemic and a module that re-assessed loneliness during the pandemic. The sample comprised 883 respondents with a mean age of 73, and their 4,142 relationships. 15% of the respondents had at least one difficult relationship. Findings suggest that older adults may face structural and social-emotional constraints that pressure them to continue difficult relationships. Relationship difficulty in the personal network was unrelated to an increase in loneliness. The talk will also present some preliminary insights from on ongoing mixed methods project in carnival organizations.

For information about online or in-person attendance, please click here.

Mario L. Small: Financial Institutions, Neighborhoods & Racial Inequality

Wednesday, April 12, 2023, 17.45, ISS Cologne (in-person or via ZOOM)

Research has made clear that racial inequality is affected by neighborhood conditions. One important condition is access to financial establishments. We examine how living in minority neighborhoods affects ease of access to conventional banks vs. to alternative financial institutions (AFIs) such as check cashers and payday lenders, which are often more expensive and have at times been called predatory. Based on more than 6 million queries, we compute the difference in the time required to walk, drive, or take public transit to the nearest bank vs. the nearest AFI from the middle of every block in each of 19 of the nation’s largest cities. Results suggest that race is strikingly more important than class, as the AFI is more often closer than the bank in well-off minority neighborhoods than in poor white ones. I present additional survey and interview results on the factors underlying these differences.

For information about online or in-person attendance, please click here.