Research Agenda

During the last years, analytical sociology established as a research program that aims to explain the social reality by an understanding approach. When explaining macro-level phenomena such as network structures, diffusion of social practices or certain attitudes, analytical sociology intends to overcome incomplete explanations which remain restricted on the macro level. Instead, the crucial objective is to unveil the meso- or micro-level social mechanisms operating as causative factors for the explananda on the macro-level.

While the research program of analytic sociology is comparably well-grounded as regards theory, empirical tests of social mechanisms still need to be advanced. Until now, only a limited amount of quantitative studies within a restricted set of sociological domains explicitly refers to mechanism-based explanations.

The objective of the research project AnaGramm is to close this gap. By using the theoretical and methodological tools of analytical sociology, AnaGramm systematically answers research questions from the fields of theoretical sociology as well as communication and attitude research. A matter of particular importance is to test mechanism-based explanations by means of more elaborated statistical methods.

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About Tilo Beckers

Since October 2009, I am an “Akademischer Rat auf Zeit” (equiv. of assistant professor) in Sociology and Research Methods at the University of Düsseldorf. In the summer term 2010 (April through September), I have been on leave as a substitute full professor (W2) for "Methods of Empirical Research and Social Stratification" at the University of Osnabrück, Germany. I have studied at the University of Düsseldorf (MA 1999) and at the New School for Social Research (New York City; DAAD-scholarship and full fee and tuition waiver of the New School). Thereafter, I have been a research assistant and lecturer at the University of Cologne and accomplished my PhD (2008) with a thesis on "Homosexuality and Human Development. Genesis, Structure and Change of Attitudes Towards Same-Sex Sexual Contacts in a Cross-National Contextual Analysis" (in German; presented at ASA Annual Meeting 2008, Boston). My postdoc study at the University of Cologne has been published as a book chapter on "Islam and the Acceptance of Homosexuality: the Shortage of Socio-Economic Well-being and Responsive Democracy" (in: Samar Habib (ed.) 2009: Homosexuality and Islam. Praeger; presented at ESA Conference 2009, Lisbon). My current substantial research focuses on attitudes towards beginning- and end-of-life issues (i.e. topics evolving around abortion, IVF, PID and also euthanasia, patient's wills, palliative medicine). At the ISA World Congress 2010 in Gothenburg, I have organized an Ad-hoc Session on "Beginning- and End-of-Life-Issues on the Move" (together with Eva Jaspers, Utrecht, and Nora Machado, Lisbon). My methodological research is closely linked to issues of cross-national comparison, the analysis of social change and multilevel analysis. Please find out more about current research projects FAIVA-LIFE, "Boundaries of Life" and AnaGramm on my University website and my blogs.

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