Chair of Sociology / Urban and Regional Studies

Welcome to the Chair of Sociology / Urban and Regional Studies

Research Profile

The chair's research focuses on forms, developments, conditions, consequences, and processes of socio-spatial inequality in different social groups and populations. Some of the topics covered are socio-spatial context and developmental opportunities in the housing, working and living conditions, social integration in an immigration based society as well as opportunities for social contacts, personal networks and mobility behaviour. The projects follow a theory-based empirical research. Empirical analysis is used for comparison between different neighbourhoods, towns or regions. The structural social and demographic change in the Ruhr Area is a topic of special focus.

The teaching programme is predominantly composed of classes in urban and regional sociology. An introductory lecture conveys the fundamental knowledge of this research area. Other courses give special thematic emphasis on topics such as the development of housing and living conditions, residential mobility or the socio-spatial conditions of social life, well-being and social networks. Most of these courses have a strict empirical orientation or are designed as research based learning. The chair is strongly involved in the Master’s study programme “Urban and Regional Development”. In addition, a lecture teaches the fundamentals, namely, the most important terms of classic and modern theory of sociology.

Current Research

The MERCUR joint project investigates how migrants and their self-organisations encounter social risks and create social security structures. At the three university locations Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg, the embedding of migrant organisations in the German welfare landscape will be studied, based on the assumption that the organisations play an important role in mediating access to informal (network-related) and formal (welfare-state) security resources. The research focuses on three guiding questions:

(1) How does the political level address social risks of migrants?
(2) How are local migrant organisations responding to these challenges?
(3) How are formal and informal security structures of migrants actually used for their goals?

The RUB focuses on migrant organisations and their networks. The cooperative network structures between migrant organisations and other welfare providers will be studied by conducting guideline-based expert interviews with representatives of several organisations. Finally, the identified networks will be analysed and visualised.

Project members:
Ruhr-Universität Bochum: Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries, Prof. Dr. Sören Petermann, Eva Günzel, B.A.
Universität Duisburg-Essen: Prof. Dr. Ute Klammer, Dr. Thorsten Schlee, Dipl. Soz.-Wiss. Ariana Kellmer
Technische Universität Dortmund: Prof. Dr. Karolina Barglowski, Lisa Bonfert, M.Sc.
Duration: May 2020 - October 2022
Funding: MERCUR Mercator Research Centre Ruhr

This project investigates how personal networks in Germany have changed in the past decades, but also in international comparison, against the background of social developments (modernization, acceleration of communication and mobility, transnationalization, changes in the working world). Several hypotheses suggest contradictory developments. As a result of increasing wealth, it is expected that fewer and fewer people are dependent on social capital. On the other hand, the potential for social contacts increases with modern means of transport and communication, as well as through increased transnationalization.

Completed Research

The research project examines the effects of spatial segregation and educational segregation on the well-being of children and adolescents in North Rhine-Westphalia. Poverty is more than insufficient money, it is a lack of material, social, cultural and infrastructural resources of a successful life. Those who want to support disadvantaged children in their well-being must change the "permanent environment" in which they grow up. The focus of the project is the permanent environment of teenagers, especially the conditions of social contexts like family, school and neighbourhood. The project is carried out by ZEFIR jointly with the partner commune Herne. The Canadian "Middle Years Development Instrument" (MDI) is a population diagnostic tool that is capable of understanding such effects and creating environments with equal opportunities for all children and adolescents. It consists of classroom interviews in different classes in all the schools of a city. In Canada and other countries, MDI is now the basis for the development of municipal action and prevention strategies. It is to be used for the first time in this German pilot study.

This research project has taken a look at the current state of acceptance of socio-cultural diversity and the extent of xenophobic attitudes in the city of Leipzig. For this purpose, data from the communal survey of Leipzig from 2014, for the adult population, and the youth-survey Leipzig from 2015 for 14 to 18-year-old citizens were evaluated. The project was carried out on behalf of the City of Leipzig in cooperation with the Zentrum für Sozialforschung Halle (zsh – a centre for social research).

How to find the Chair of Sociology / Urban and Regional Studies


Ruhr-University Bochum
Faculty of Social Sciencs
Chair Sociology / Urban and Regional Studies
GD E1/347 Postfach 73
Universitätsstraße 150
44801 Bochum


building GD, floor E1, room 347
phone: +49 234 32-28706

consultation hours

consultation hours of Prof. Dr. Sören Petermann
by appointment
appointment only via mail


consultation hours of Chairs staff
The consulation hours of the Chairs staff can be found here.


opening hours of the chairs office
tuesday 10.00 - 12.00 am

2021-09-21 Campusplan-1200-px
© Ruhr-Universität Bochum

The Faculty of Social Science is located in the GD-building at the western limit of the campus.

Room plans of the buliding can be found on the pages of the Faculty.

General travel redommendations can be found on the mobility-page of the Ruhr-University.