Welcome to the Department of Social Network Research and Family Sociology

Institute of Sociology, University of Mainz

Focus of Research and Teaching

The research area deals with families and other (childless) living arrangements as well as life courses and family development processes. The focus is on the description and explanation of changes in family forms, family functions and family development processes. Topics include, for example, the pluralization of lifestyles and family forms, reasons for low fertility and childlessness or the compatibility of family and career.

The individual and the conditions of the individual's actions in the context of relationships with other actors are captured with the help of network analysis in order to take into account the social context in which actors are embedded. This means that the studies are not only based on the information or attributes of the actors and their characteristics, but also on information about the way in which the actors are connected to each other, i.e. their social relationships. The study of social networks is based on the consideration that seemingly autonomous individuals and organizations are embedded in social relationships and interactions that influence the actions and possibilities for action of individuals, families, etc.

These topics are the subject of research and teaching. They are examined empirically on the basis of theory. The influences of the socio-structural context, the social milieu, the individual situation and the social integration of the actors in social relationships are also taken into account. Current developments - for example in law, social policy, the economy and the labor market - are also of interest. Thematically, an attempt is made to tie in with socio-political discourses on family and social networks.

Courses are regularly offered in the areas of network research, family sociology and methodological problems of family science and network analysis.

Learning network research
From 19.02.2024 to 23.02.2024 a Spring School for "Network Newbies" will take place again. This is a one-week practice-oriented introductory course in sociological network analysis, in which basic theoretical elements and practical applications are taught and applied. For more information click here.


The article "Exploring Motives and Strategies in the Production of Knowledge in the University Context by the Example of Academic Career Trajectories" by Marina Hennig, Omar Shehata, Emre Bilgin, Aimée Tina Booh, Seraphine Domes und Marie Nottebaum was published in the journal "Global Journal of Human-Social Science" and is now accessible via following link.

The office hours of Prof. Hennig take place during the lecture period on Wednesdays from 9:30 to 10:30.
Appointments can be made in the Secretary.