The Two First Paradigms of Empirical Social Research in Germany

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 9:15 AM
Room: Booth 49
Oral Presentation
Irmela GORGES , Sociology, Free University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany

Irmela Gorges


The two first paradigms of empirical social research in Germany



Empirical social research in Germany evolved from the necessity to get information about the impact of the industrialization on the social conditions in Germany during the 19th century. At the example of the Association for Social Policy, founded in 1872 in Germany, it will be exemplified how the founders of the Association developed a strategy to conduct empirical social research with which they could collect data which they could use to realize their political views of a functioning society. In front of the peak of the industrial revolution, the second generation of members of the Association, among them Max  and Alfred Weber,  developed a different political view of a future society. As a consequence, they fought for a different strategy to gather empirical data. Because both strategies of empirical social research differed from one another not only with regard to the methods to collect data but also in view of the political goals, i.e. with regard to their epistemology and  methodology as well as  methods to collect data, it seems to be justified to identify the two approaches to empirical social research as two different paradigms.