Area of Concentration: Society

Learning Objectives

Students analyze, reflect and assess social developments.

Students understand socio-political contexts and have the ability to critically question their own perceptions and actions.

The students master empirical methods and develop strategies for the practical management of current challenges.

"There is no such thing as society" - which is the famous saying of a British politician. But society does exist, and people are social beings. They cooperate and compete. They are embedded in practices, discourses and lifeworlds, form organizations and institutions, are subject to constraints, set common goals, follow rules, etc.


The courses in this focus area raise, for example, the following questions: How are societies constituted? What holds them together? Which society do we live in? Which one do we wish to live in? What did social change mean in earlier times? What are the major challenges today and what strategies, transformations and ideas do we use to meet them? How is social justice negotiated? What makes democracies? How is diversity practiced in institutions, organizations and social life? How does a "citizen-consumer" think? What conditions are indispensable for a successful conversation? How much explosive and driving force is there in globalization?


The courses in the focus area Society build bridges between everyday experiences and theoretical questions. They address individual lifestyles and institutional processes, personal relationships and social ties, private interests and public engagement. In each case, very specific topics are studied- for example, taste, consumption, fashion, advertising, art, architecture, the market, power, social responsibility, work, migration, family, identity, gender, diversity, religion, culture, science, freedom and equality.


The methodological tools used come from the fields of social sciences, cultural studies and social philosophy. At the Bachelor's level, the focus is on an introduction to the fundamentals of social research. At the Master's level, interdisciplinary synergies between core and contextual studies are exploited. The overarching goal is to reflect, expand and critically complement socio-economic models of human action.


The spectrum of courses covers the breadth from competence in reflection to competence in action: it ranges from the analysis of fundamental theories to empirical social research and practical exercises in the design of social processes.


Christine Abbt

Prof. Dr.

Full Professor (Chair) for Philosophy

Fachbereich Philosophie
Unterer Graben 21
9000 St Gallen

Patrik Aspers

Prof. Ph.D.

Full Professor (Chair) of Sociology

Büro 52-7130
Müller-Friedberg-Strasse 8
9000 St. Gallen