Summer Semester 2022

Aims of the course

Ethnography has a long tradition in urban and spatial sociology as well as in the sociology of technology and organisation. The research approach triangulates data from participant observation with other data in the context of field research. While conventional ethnographies aim to capture a social group or culture holistically by means of longterm field visits, focused ethnography attempts to capture structures and patterns of interaction, communication and situations by means of short field visits. Further developments are videography, which – similar to the hermeneutic sociology of knowledge (also: social science hermeneutics) – allows for detailed interpretations, and technography, which is particularly suitable for research in the sociology of technology. Part of the seminar are ethnographic research trips throughout Berlin and Germany. This course gives students the opportunity to deepen their knowledge in one of the traditions of empirical social methods: sociological ethnography. Here, students also learn how different aspects of social inequality (e.g. age, education, gender, ethnic or regional origin) affect the subject area.

Application example: Covid-19 in low-income neighbourhoods
Using the example of various Berlin neighbourhoods, we address the following questions: How do poverty and social inequality manifest themselves in cities, for example in infrastructure, buildings, social composition or communicative behaviour between residents of the neighbourhoods? The focus is on class and milieu differences as well as on housing and food as well as the food market (food retail, out-of-home consumption). The project builds on the results of the 1st project phase of the project “Waren und Wissen” (A03) in the Collaborative Research Centre “Refiguration of Spaces” (SFB/CRC 1625). Schulze’s sociological approach of milieu construction is used as the theoretical basis.