The Environmental Research Group carries out research in the environmental social sciences. The group originates from the "Chair of Sociology" and is lead by Prof. Dr. em. Andreas Diekmann. The unit belongs to the Department of Humanities and Social and Political Science (GESS).
Areas of research are:
- environmental sociology
- sociology of employment and population
- social theory and cooperation systems
- methods of empirical social research
Rational Choice Theory forms the basis of Diekmann’s empirical research. Models from game theory and other mathematical branches are used to describe structures of social interaction and to deduce empirically testable hypotheses. These tests are conducted through systematic empirical surveys, using multivariate statistical methods or by carrying out controlled experiments. In the field of basic research, mechanisms of the emergence of cooperation, the working of cooperation systems, and the reasons for breaking up cooperation are being investigated. This research area is closely linked with research on development and the effects of social capital. Understanding the emergence and stability of cooperation is of great interest to environmental sociology (e.g. sustained rationing of resources), sociology of economy (e.g. the emergence and functioning of markets) and the development of social theory in general.