Empirical macrosociology is devoted to the study of large-scale processes and structures shaping societies in the modern world. Classical topics include the rise of capitalist market economies, the formation of nation-states, citizenship regimes, social movement dynamics, and cultural change. Recently, empirical macrosociology has turned attention to global and transnational forces such as colonial empires and their lasting impact on power inequalities, or international institutions and their impact on the diffusion of legal norms and public policies. Rooted in major traditions of sociological theory, empirical macrosociology deploys a broad spectrum of research methods ranging from historical case studies and qualitative comparative analysis to cross-national surveys and macro-quantitative data analysis.
Research and teaching at the Chair for Empirical Macrosociology (Koenig) at the Max-Weber-Institute has a special focus on the governance of cultural diversity in global comparative perspective. Contestations over religious, linguistic and ethnic differences are intricately related to patterns of socio-economic inequality, political regime characteristics, and transnational legal institutions. To understand the interplay of global and local dynamics of governing cultural diversity, the Chair’s agenda advances theoretically grounded mixed-method research that engages with several specialized subfields including cultural sociology, historical sociology, sociology of religion, migration studies, and socio-legal studies.