Process-Oriented Micro-Macro-Analysis: Mixing Methods in Longitudinal Analysis and Historical Sociology
Social theory is often interested in how meso, macro and micro phenomena interact, causally influence, and change each other.
However, analyzing such phenomena empirically pose methodological problems which have to be solved simultaneously: Not only is a (1) multi-level analysis needed, but (2) meso and macro phenomena typically change only on the longue durée, thus requiring either longitudinal analysis, historical methods or archival methods which typically make use of QUAL documentary analysis or QUAN public administrative data, structural or trend data. Although there are many sources of secondary data available, these data are produced in their respective historical times and face the problems of selectivity and availability. (3) In contrast, micro phenomena either address the individual lifecourse or biographies which are typically either analyzed with QUAN survey data or QUAL narrative interviews. Alternatively, very short-term social processes are typically grasped by methods such as ethnography and video analysis. Data are collected today and any past events are reconstructed from the perspective of the present – which poses the particular problem of how to reconstruct past events and social practices on the micro level.
In summary, process-oriented micro-macro-analyses typically combine or mix different data sorts (e.g. ethnography and public administrative data) which address different time layers. Based on these observations, the session asks how to conduct process-oriented micro—meso-macro-analyses.