Qualitative social research and transregional theory-building in the context of global sociology(ies)

This research network seeks to advance sociological theory building that is based on qualitative research in societies of the global South. By initiating scholarly exchanges and collaborations among sociologists from Europa, Africa, Latin America and Asia it contributes to interrogating ongoing Western-centrisms and to advancing self-reflexive sociological concepts that account for the increasing transregional entanglements under the global condition.


Over the last decades, there have been sustained and mounting critiques of the ways in which efforts in sociological theory continue to be predominantly based on premises, heuristics, and concepts of Western origin and on research carried out in Western societies while at the same time claiming universal validity. In particular, scholars committed to postcolonial theories have criticized the fact that Western sociological theories bear the imprint of very particular historical trajectories towards modernity, fail to account for the West’s historical entanglement with other world regions and fail to interrogate their own constitutive embeddedness in colonial histories and postcolonial conjunctures. These postcolonial critiques have provided valuable and welcome insights into unexamined ideological assumptions of Western sociological theory. However, the task to make good on the promise of global sociology to offer theoretical tools for understanding contemporary, globally entangled social worlds via theory building based on empirical research in the Global South is still ahead.


In this network, we seek to advance theory building through systematic comparisons of the research results of network members in three fields of research: (1) health, gender and sexuality, (2) families, biographies and generation, and (3) space, architecture and urbanism. While taking into account and critically discussing relevant strands of research such as historical comparative macro-sociology, development sociology and studies on transnationalism we aim to go beyond these by carving out a specific terrain of transregional social theory.


  • The program for our May 18–21, 2022 workshop at the Historic Observatory (Historische Sternwarte) in Göttingen is available here.
  • The program for our February 15–18, 2023 workshop at the University of Ghana in Accra is available here.
February 15–18, 2023

„Global Sociology and Comparative Urbanism”

In Accra (Ghana) in collaboration with the University of Ghana. Keynote speakers: • Prof. Dr. Steve Tonah (University of Ghana) • Prof. Dr. AbdouMaliq Simone (University of Sheffield) • Prof. Dr. Michael Okyerefo (University of Ghana)

September 26–30, 2022

German Sociological Association, Bielefeld (Germany)

„Doing Global Sociology“ in „Polarized Worlds“: Methodological Approaches from Qualitative Social Research at the 41st congress of the German Sociological Association.

May 18–21, 2022

„Doing Global Sociology: Methodology and Theory after the Postcolonial Critique”

At the Historic Observatory in Göttingen (Germany). In collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity. Keynote speakers: • Prof. Dr. Renata Campos Motta (FU Berlin) • Prof. Dr. Sari Hanafi (AU Beirut) • Prof. Dr. Gabriele Rosenthal (University of Göttingen) • Prof. Dr. Elísio Macamo (University of Basel)

September 20, 2021

Follow-up Workshop

In this workshop, we delved right into the three thematic dimensions of our network: • (1) health, gender and sexuality, • (2) families, biographies and generation, and • (3) space, architecture and urbanism. In the thematic groups, we identified key issues which we will be discussing in our first face-to-face meeting in May 2022, i.e. comparison, positionality, translation and contested knowledges/concepts.

April 9, 2021

Kick-off Workshop with our guests Raewyn Connell and Saïd Arjomand

The pandemic forced us to hold the first two network meetings online. We opened our joined work by two impressive talks by Raewyn Connell and Saïd Arjomand. • Raewyn Connell: “Transforming Sociological Theory from the Periphery: Some attempts, and some futures” • Saïd Arjomand: “World regions and the unpacking of multiple modernities: A pluralistic view of global sociological theory”

Framework and Financing

Funded by the German Research Association (DFG)

DFG project page
Feb. 2022 –
Jan. 2025
Prof. Dr. Marian Burchardt
(Leipzig University)
Dr. Johannes Becker
(University of Göttingen)
Project number:
BU 3230/4-1
DFG project page