Enthusiasts unite the field of sociology at Aarhus University

Sociology does not have a department at Aarhus University, but several fields of research are interested in sociological studies. This manifests itself in CESAU, which is not only an interdisciplinary centre but has also set a new interdisciplinary standard.

2012.01.19 | Daniel Jørgensen

- You could say that we provide the framework for a broad subject, namely the interest in sociological studies, says Carsten Bagge Laustsen, Director at the Centre for Sociological Studies, Aarhus University (CESAU).

At Aarhus University, the field of sociology exists among different fields of research and is not affiliated to one particular department, as is the case at the University of Copenhagen and Aalborg University.

- But I think that we have proven that the field of sociology is alive and kicking. Members from all main academic areas form part of our research groups. So you could say we were as interdisciplinary as can be long before it became one of the university’s strategic objectives, says Carsten Bagge Laustsen and smiles.

More than 200 researchers
CESAU originally started with a report on possible synergies in connection with Aarhus University's merger with the Department of Education. The first specific initiative was a joint supplementary subject programme in sociology, and it just went on from there.

Today, 14 research groups with more than 200 researchers form part of the centre.

- And we still get requests from research groups asking whether they may be affiliated to us. This is obviously not a problem, as long as they meet our requirements in terms of interdisciplinarity and have an interest in the field of sociology, says Carsten Bagge Laustsen and continues:

- One of our projects is that we want to offer a Master's degree programme in English, but this depends on how the immediate future of the centre will turn out.

In addition, the centre organises a wide range of conferences, seminars and PhD courses.

Danish Conference of Sociology 2012
One of CESAU's major events in 2012 is the Danish Conference of Sociology. The name can be somewhat misleading, as the event is not only aimed at sociologists but different fields of research, which is in line with the spirit of the centre. There will be 100 participants from Aarhus University alone.

The topic of the conference is "Troubled Identities", and it deals with the strain that we are under in our identity formation process due to great freedom of choice, cross-pressure and high expectations from the outside world.

- Once people brought up their children in the same way as they were brought up. Today, you can buy various books telling you how it should be done. To make matters worse, you practically have to make a religious choice regarding which expert you wish to believe when it comes to the bringing up of children, since all the clever books contradict each other, says Carsten Bagge Laustsen and continues:

- How does it affect us as individuals when we have all sorts of opportunities but not a clear basis for making the right choice? How do you handle cross-pressure, when you also have to optimise your family life, health, leisure life and professional career, all at the same time? This will be one of the central topics at the conference.


Carsten Bagge Laustsen, Associate Professor

Department of Political Science and Government
Centre for Sociological Studies, Aarhus University

Telephone: +45 8716 4523
E-mail: cbl@ps.au.dk

Aarhus BSS
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