The Chair of Sociology, in particular Social Inequality, focuses on social inequalities over the life course, including those related to health, the labor market, and educational choices. Methodologically, there is a more quantitative orientation with a particular interest in causality issues. With respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, we explore the impact of the pandemic on mental health, social trust, political orientations, and vaccination decisions. Other research topics include social inequality and body weight, stigma, and social inequality between gender.     


The chair is currently working on the following projects:                             

Helping High-School Students in Choosing their Career: Experimental Evidence from a Large Scale School Policy

Project lead: Prof. Dr. Silke Anger
Funding: Bundesagentur für Arbeit
Duration: 2019 - 2025

Project details

Usage and acceptance of natural medicine and complementary medicine in Germany

Project lead: Prof. Dr. Rasmus Hoffmann (Head of the Bamberg subproject), PD Dr. med. Christian Keßler (Overall management Charité University Medicine Berlin)
Funding: Karl and Veronica Carstens-Stiftung
Project term: 2022 - 2025

In the project on the usage and acceptance of natural medicine and complementary medicine in Germany, in collaboration with the Charité in Berlin and funded by the Karl and Veronica Carstens Foundation, we are investigating the practical use and acceptance of natural medicine and complementary medicine in the population and identifying subpopulation-specific reasons for use. Another focus is on the related topics of vaccination and nutrition. We are particularly interested in identifying the connection between natural medicine and complementary medicine attitudes and the corona vaccination decision as well as investigating possible changes in attitudes towards non-conventional procedures in the course of the pandemic. With regard to nutrition, we investigate perceived obstacles and incentives for individual subpopulations to switch to a plant-based diet and take a closer look at the influence of medical recommendations on patients' willingness to change their diet.

COVID-19 and societal polarization - In-depth analysis of the development of well-being and trust in vulnerable groups

Project lead: Dr. Alexander Patzina, Dr. Matthias Collischon (IAB)
Funding: Hans-Böckler-Stiftung
Project term: 2022 - 2025

Project details

The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and exacerbated social and economic inequalities in society like no crisis before it. The crisis disproportionately affected disadvantaged groups, such as women who often work in essential jobs, or people with lower education who were less likely to be able to work from home. As a result, these vulnerable groups were not only affected by crisis-related labor market effects, but also exposed to a higher risk of infection or health risks. Our project aims to investigate the medium- and long-term effects of the crisis on vulnerable groups, with a particular focus on effects on individual well-being and social trust, which are central factors for the functioning of societies, but are often not investigated in research.

The data basis that enables us to examine these questions is the Panel Study on Labor Market and Social Security (PASS) of the Institute for Employment Research (IAB). The panel structure of the data allows us to follow households and individuals over time and thus generate long-term insights into the effects of the crisis over the course of the project.

More information can be found here.


In order to strengthen workplace health promotion and cooperation with health insurance companies, our Chair of Medical and Health Sociology cooperates with the Institute for Physical Emotional Education (Prof. Kalinowski) at the level of implementing preventive measures for health promotion and with the International Institute for Social Practice (Prof. Halsband) at the research level.