Research Project: Networks, Paradigms and Careers in the Academic Field: Sociology in Germany and the United States

Project description

The project is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and investigates changes in the logic of academic fields from a competition for knowledge to a competition for third-party funding and visibility. Three aspects in particular are of interest: the narrowing-down of paradigmatic diversity in academic fields, the changing patterns of cooperation among academics, and the change and increasing standardisation of academic career paths. The project examines these developments for the field of sociology in a comparative empirical study, in which sociology in the US and in German is analysed for the period 2000 to 2019. In order to test our research guiding hypotheses, as well as to generate hypotheses related to the study of changes in academic fields at the levels of countries, institutions and researchers, we combine different types of data: Publication data (e.g. article abstracts on SCOPUS), network data (collaborations, e.g. co-authorship and citations between researchers, appointment data), CV data, institutional data (e.g. financial resources of departments) and interview data generated in qualitative interviews that focus on how sociologists personally experienced the assumed changes. For the analysis methods of geometric data analysis, network analysis, quantitative text analysis, sequence analysis, causal analysis and qualitative-reconstructive social research are used and combined.





Project part Magdeburg  University

  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Schmitz, M. A.  
  • Jonas Volle, M. A.
    Jonas Volle is a researcher and doctoral student at Otto von Guericke University Magdeburg. His research interests lie in linking sociological perspectives and methodologies with approaches from computational social science. In particular, he is interested in methods such as text mining, network analysis or machine learning in the field of sociology of science and their combination with relational theory and network theory.


Project part Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen

  • Richard Münch is Senior Professor of Social Theory and Comparative Macrosociology
  • Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg is a sociologist. After studying sociology and economics at Philipps-Universität Marburg, the University of Manchester and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, he was awarded a doctorate (Dr. rer. pol.) at Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg with a thesis on "Governing the firm". He is assistant professor at University of Potsdam (on special leave until August 2024). His research interests in the field of science studies focus on the structures and dynamics of scientific fields (sociology, economics, management studies). Other research interests include economic sociology, transnationalisation research, field and discourse analysis, and relational sociological theory and methodologies.
  • Khulan Bayarkhuu supports the project as a computer scientist (interested in sociology) programming.



  • Beyer, Stephanie & Andreas Schmitz (2023): “Fear Factor(y)”: Academia. Subtle Mechanisms of Symbolic Domination in the Academic Field. Sociological Forum (im Erscheinen).
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, Christian (2023): „French economists and the symbolic power of (post-)national scopes of capital: Taking sides in discourses of crises, 2008–2021 Serendipities. Journal for the Sociology and History of the Social Sciences (im Erscheinen).
  • Schmitz, Andreas & Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg (2023): Viele Theorien, ein ,Theorizing‘? Eine Rekonstruktion des deutschen Feldes soziologischer Theorie. In: Andre Armbruster & Fabian Annicker (Hrsg.): Die Praxis soziologischer Theoriebildung (im Erscheinen).
  • Schmitz, Andreas & Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg (2023): Divided We Stand, United We Fall? Structure and Struggles of Contemporary German Sociology. International Sociology (angenommen).
  • Wieczorek, Oliver, Andreas Schmitz, Jonas Volle, Khulan Bayarkhuu & Richard Münch (2023): Collaborative Knowledge Production and the Consolidation of Innovative Research: Evidence from publications in 5 German sociology journals 2000–2019. Soziale Welt (forthcoming)
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, Christian & Andreas Schmitz (2022): Divorce à l’allemande. Luttes symboliques et tensions institutionnelles dans la sociologie allemande contemporaine“ Actes de la Recherche en Sciences Sociales, 243-244: 111–123.
  • Volle, Jonas (2022): Divergent representations of sceintific cooperations through bibliographic databases. The example of publication networks in Web of Science versus Scopus. Unveröffentlichte Masterarbeit, Universität Bonn. 
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, Christian (2021): Democratisation or politicisation? The changing nature of politico-economic expertise in European expert groups 1966–2017“. In: Jürgen Mackert, Jürgen, Hannah Wolf, Bryan Turner (Hrsg.): The Condition of Democracy, London: Routledge, 106–128.
  • Schmitz, Andreas & Jan Riebling (2021): Data Quality of Digital Process Data. A Generalized Framework and Simulation/Post-Hoc-Identification Strategy. Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, 74(4): 407–430.
  • Wieczorek, Oliver, Said Unger, Jan Riebling, Lukas Ehrhard, Christian Koß & Raphael Heiberger (2021): Mapping the field of psychology: Trends in research topics 1995–2015. Scientometrics 126: 9699–9731,
  • Wieczorek, Oliver & Daniel Schubert (2021): Die Wirkung symbolischer Macht von Forschungsassessments auf den akademischen Habitus. Eine Fallstudie zur Wirkung des britischen Reserach Excellence Frameworks auf britische Soziolog*Innen. In: Oliver Dimbath & Michaela Pfadenhauer (Hrsg.): Gewissheit. Beiträge und Debatten zum 3. Sektionskongress der Wissenssoziologie, S. 331–343. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.
  • Münch, Richard (2020). Academic Capitalism. In: Politics. Oxford Research Encyclopedias.
  • Schmitz, Andreas, Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg, Daniel Witte, & Maria Keil (2020): In welcher Gesellschaft forschen wir eigentlich? Struktur und Dynamik des Feldes der deutschen Soziologie, Zeitschrift für theoretische Soziologie. Zeitschrift für Theoretische Soziologie, 8(2): 245–281.
  • Schmitz, Andreas & Tomasz Warzok (2020): Geometric Data Analysis: Advanced Issues and Current Developments. In: Paul Atkinson, Sara Delamont, Alexandru Cernat, Joseph W.  Sakshaug & Richard A. Williams (Hrsg.): The SAGE Encyclopedia of Research Methods.
  • Schwemmer, Carsten & Oliver Wieczorek, Oliver (2020): The methodological divide of sociology: Evidence from two decades of journal publications. Sociology, 54(1): 3–21.
  • Baier, Christian & Andreas Schmitz (2019): Organizational Environments and Field Theory. The Example of the Field of German Universities 2002-2014. In: Jörg Blasius, Brigitte Le Roux, Frédéric Lebaron & Andreas Schmitz (Hrsg.):Empirical Investigations of Social Space. Cham: Springer, 305–322.



  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, C. (2023) . ‘Production and consecration of experts in the field of European politics using the example of political economy European Expert Groups 1966-2018’, EG Colloquium 2023 at the Collège d’Europe, Brugges, invited talk, 15.05.2023.
  • Volle, J. (2022). ’Networks, Paradigms and Careers in the Academic Field: Sociology in Germany and the United States’. GESIS CSS-Meeting, 20.12.2022.
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, C. (2022). ‘French economists and the symbolic power of (post)national academic capital: taking sides in crises’ discourses 2008-2021’, 117th Annual Meeting American Sociological Association, Los Angeles, invited talk, 08.08.2022.
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, C. (2022). ‘French economistsʼ position-taking in times of economic and disciplinary crises’, IDHES UMR CNRS 8533, École Normale Supérieur Paris-Saclay, Gif-Sur-Yvette, 28.04.2022.
  • Schmitz, A., Wieczorek, O., Volle, J., Münch, R. (2022). ’The changing epistemic structure of US and German Sociology’. New Challenges in Field Theory. Universität Strasbourg, 10.06.2022.
  • Schmidt-Wellenburg, C. (2021). ‘French economists’ discourses on the European Crisis’, Diskursnet Workshop „The Role of Economic Experts in Crisis-Prone Societies“, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, 06.10.2021.
  • Münch, R. (2021). Alle Macht dem Präsidium: Von der Herrschaft der Ordinarien zur total administrierten Universität? Universität Passau, 24.03.2021, online.
  • Schmitz, A. & Beyer, S. (2021). ‘Fear and Loathing in Academia – Subtle Mechanisms of Symbolic Domination within the Academic Field’, IV ISA Forum of Sociology.
  • Schmitz, A., Volle, J. (2021). ’Networks, Paradigms and Careers in the Academic Field: Sociology in Germany and the United States’. GESIS-Eurolab Brown Bag Session, 19.11.2021.
  • Schmitz, A. & Riebling, R. (2020). ‘Data Quality of Digital Process-Data. An Integrative Framework‘. 40. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie.
  • Schmitz, A. & Schmidt-Wellenburg, C. (2020). ‚Sozio-Logiken der Methoden- und Theorienwahl im deutschen Feld der Soziologie‘. 40. Kongress der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie.
  • Schmitz, A. (2020). ‚Diversity Counts – Counting diversity. Gender-Mainstreaming & Diversity Management in German Universities’. Deutscher Diversity Tag 2020.
  • Wieczorek, Oliver (2020). ‘Scholars and Universities in the US-Field of Power. A Network-Analytical approach.’ Sunbelt 2020, Paris.
  • Wieczorek, Oliver. (2020). ‘What Accounts for the Access of Academics and Universities to US-Science Policy? The role of Eminence, Endowments, Networks of Power and Strategic Plans’. 6th International Conference on Computational Social Science.

Letzte Änderung: 01.04.2024 - Ansprechpartner: Webmaster