History of the Sociology Division

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Sociology in Salzburg — a foundation of 1968

With the founding of the Institute for Sociology and Cultural Studies, the appointment of Mohammed Rassem and the start of teaching, the first humanities-oriented subject of sociology was established in Austria in 1968. In addition to the chair, two assistant positions were created, filled by Dr. Robert Hepp and Dr. Sigrid Paul, who had followed Prof. Rassem from Saarbrücken. The first location of the Institute was in a spacious apartment in the former Hotel Corso in Imbergstraße and was soon replaced by the Pustet House in Sigmund-Haffner-Gasse. In the course of negotiations with the ministries, there was also resistance to sociology as a field of study at a faculty of philosophy, as some were of the opinion that there was no further need for sociologists on the labor market. Therefore, after tough wrangling, the study of sociology could finally be chosen only as a minor, but not as a major. In terms of personnel, the Institute expanded in the 1970s with the addition of Dr. Justin Stagl, Dr. Brunhilde Scheuringer and Dr. Wolfgang Rose, among others, who were to continue working at the Institute for a long time, sometimes with interruptions.

On the way to institutionalization

An important step in establishing Sociology in Salzburg was the establishment of a diploma program starting in 1986. Sociology was required to be combined and could only be chosen as the first field of study, but already in the first semester, the summer semester of 1987, Sociology registered 36 major students. At the same time, the department moved to Schwarzstraße, directly above the Marionette Theater, because additional classrooms were now needed.

New acquaintances

The number of students grew steadily, and after only a few years another move was necessary; this time to Rudolfskai, where, together with the Institutes of History, Communication Studies and Political Science, the newly adapted Institute House for Social Sciences was moved into, which still serves as a home today. After Prof. Rassem retired, the chair was filled by Prof. Justin Stagl, who had previously moved from Salzburg to Bonn. In 1993, Prof. Reinhard Bachleitner also moved to the Institute, which he headed until 2007.

The decade of new curricula

The curricula changed in increasingly rapid succession. As of October 2001, the diploma program in sociology was no longer subject to combination and ended with the degree Mag.phil. (instead of Mag.rer.soc.oec.). With the implementation of the Bologna guidelines, a Bachelor’s program and a Master’s program have been offered since 2007 and 2008, respectively. As a result of the restructuring of the university according to the UG 2002, the former institute now forms a department of the Department of Political Science and Sociology. The rapidly increasing number of students – between 2004 and 2009 it grew by more than 150%! also required personnel reinforcement. In 2010, Prof. Kornelia Hahn from Bonn was appointed as successor to Prof. Stagl, and a new chair on social structure analysis was established and filled with Prof. Fux from Zurich. Furthermore, additional mid-level positions were created.

More detailed information on the history can be found in the small commemorative brochure on the occasion of the 40th anniversary in 2008.

Institute directors and heads of departments or (deputy) heads of departments

1968-1990O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Mohammed Rassem
1989Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sigrid Paul
1990-1991Ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brunhilde Scheuringer
1991-1994O. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Justin Stagl
1994-2007Univ.-Prof. Dr. Reinhard Bachleitner
2007-2010a.Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Martin Weichbold
seit 2010Univ.-Prof. Dr. Kornelia Hahn

Honorary professorships

Prof. Dr. Werner Stark (23.04.1974)
Prof. Dr. Thomas Luckmann – Honorarprofessor für Kultursoziologie (21.06.1996)
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Arminger – Honorarprofessor für Statistik in den Sozialwissenschaften (19.06.1998)


Guest professorships from 1973 to 2008

1973Prof. Dr. Werner Stark
1989Prof. Dr. Martinus Emge
1990/91Prof. Dr. Karl Acham
1991Prof. Dr. Paul Kellermann
1991/92Prof. DDr. Karl-Heinz Hillmann
1992/93Prof. Dr. Manfred Prisching
1993/94Prof. Dr. Jaroslav Střítecký
1995Prof. Dr. Friedrich Fürstenberg
1997Prof. Dr. Andreas Balog
1998Prof. Dr. Friedrich Fürstenberg
1998Prof. Dr. Thomas Luckmann
1998/99Prof. Dr. Christian Giordano
1999Prof. Dr. Gerhard Arminger
1999Prof. Dr. Manfred Prisching
2000/01Prof. DDr. Heinz Günter Vester
2001/02Prof. Dr. Doris Lucke
2003Prof. Dr. Friedrich Fürstenberg
2004Prof. Dr. Helmut Staubmann
2004/05Prof. Dr. Manfred Prisching
2005Prof. Dr. Andrea Bührmann
2007/08Prof. Dr. Johannes Weiß