Introductory Module

Comparative Sociology

The main focus of the course is to increase students’ skills in elaboration of research program, collecting and analyzing data, using the comparative strategy. In the framework of the course the logic of comparative study is going to be discussed, the core methodological problems of comparative analysis, the possibilities and limits of usage of correlative and deductive methods, the particularities of construction of typological samples and the selection of cases in the qualitative comparative study. Besides the potential and the difficulties of generalization and developing of theoretical frames are going to be analyzed: the construction and concretization of categories, monitoring of cause-consequence connections, etc. Finally, the students are going to know the comparative research projects, conducted in various European countries and cover different social levels of analysis: from the micro (small groups and communities) to the macro (large international institutions), - and also will be able to try out in practice the principles of comparative methodology.

Effective Professional Communication. Part 1

Teacher: Dr. Lyudmila Kuznetsova

The main objective of this course is to develop professional communicative competence of a MA student mastering the international sociology in the framework of the English-language programs. The course presupposes the development of both academic English skills and general communicative competences necessary for professionals occupied in the social sciences and applied activities. During the classes students increase proficiency in the English language as a mean of addressing communicative, cognitive and professional tasks. The major attention is paid to productive types of speech activities (writing and speaking), integrative skills of reading and writing (annotating, summarizing, writing analytical papers). Particularly, students perform the critical literature analysis, learn to make informative and memorable presentations and scientific reports, write analytical essays, do exercises to develop self-correction. Alongside with the traditional lecturing exercises, such teaching methods as presentations, “round tables”, debates, opinion exchange meetings, case analysis, mental mapping, audio- and video-materials are largely applied in the course.

Effective Professional Communication. Part 2

Teacher: Dr. Lyudmila Kuznetsova

The discipline continues the course “Effective Professional Communication. Part1”. It aims at the further development of the MA students professional communicative competence mastering the international sociology in the framework of the English-language programs, at the stage when the students already have an advanced language basis but still experience some common mistakes which have to be elaborated. The academic English classes are combined with exercises on developing a specific language consciousness and improvement of the following skills: scientific and technical documentation design, writing scientific reports and articles, public presentation of the scientific work results by taking into account characteristics of the potential audience, etc. The course also focuses on the fluency of speech and flexibility in the use of means of expression.

German language. Part 1

Teachers: Dr. Madeleine Block / Dr. Irina Ezan

The main objective of the course is to develop the students’ skills in oral and written communication in German about everyday issues, as well as to enrich their opportunities of professional communication. Special attention is paid both to mastering grammar rules and to vocabulary enlargement. The learning process is differentiated by taking into account the level of German language proficiency in the study group. Active and interactive forms of education are used such as dialogues, presentations, debates, discussion of audio- and video-material in small teams. The students’ extra-curricular activities, such as research, performing series of homework assignments, selection of content for classroom discussions, etc., are highly encouraged.

German language. Part 2

Teachers: Dr. Madeleine Block / Dr. Irina Ezan

This discipline is a continuation of the course "German language. Part 1”. It aims at further development of students’ oral and written communication skills in German applied to everyday life communication, professional communication and research activities. Students continue to improve their oral and written German, enrich vocabulary, learn to understand and translate authentic scientific, popular scientific and journalistic written texts with a help of a dictionary, as well as to perceive the authentic monologic and dialogic oral texts. Students performing a part of their MA empirical research in the German-speaking countries or communities receive support in the communication with potential informants, preparing the research tools (questionnaires, interview guides) and analysing the research data.

German language. Part 3

Teachers: Dr. Madeleine Block / Dr. Irina Ezan

This discipline is a continuation of the course "German language. Part 2". It aims at further development of students' skills of oral and written communication in German language, especially in the field of professional communication. Students proceed with working on scientific and popular scientific German texts, they write informative and scientific texts and learn to present the results of scientific research to a broader audience by giving talks and presentations, and to debate with colleagues in German. Considerable attention is paid to the correction of stable mistakes made by students in written and oral speech. Students performing a part of their MA empirical research in the German-speaking countries or communities get a valuable support in the processing and analysing collected data, particularly in their work on the interview transcription or discourse-analysis materials.

Cultural Europe

National, Ethnic and Religious Conflicts and Cooperation in Europe

Teacher: Dr. Anisya Khokhlova

This course aims at developing the skills of research of national, ethnic and religious conflicts and cooperation through the lens of classical and new conceptual approaches developed in social science and related disciplines. It focuses on the specific features of conflicts unfolding in contemporary European democratic regimes under the pressures of globalization and increasing cultural diversity. It also considers different scenarios and tools of moderating and resolving such conflicts, and establishing the relations of cooperation between agents of various levels. In addition to conventional lectures and seminars, the participants of the course are invited to critically assess academic texts inquiring into burning conflicts, and to analyze specific conflict situations (e.g. ethnic and national conflicts in Cyprus and in the countries of former Yugoslavia, conflicts around memory politics and policies in Estonia and Latvia, and many more). They will also take part in a role game in which they will be able to play the cards of participants to an acute conflict triggered by differences in appearance.

Changing European Identities Inside and Beyond Nation State

Teacher: Dr. Margit Fauser

The course deals with the socio-political identities of citizens in Europe. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to classical works and current debates in the study of socio-political identity as a constitutive element of political community. With the emergence of nation states, nationalism and national identity have become the major principle of political organization in Europe since the late 18th century. In this process, other (national, ethnic, religious, linguistic etc.) identities became marginalized or superimposed by one dominant “state identity”, and newly “invented traditions” gained momentum. At the end of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, globalization, European integration, and various social and political transformations to a great extent associated with international migration, are (again) challenging this notion of national identity. At the same time, new nationalisms can today be observed in Western Europe’s established democracies as well as Eastern European post-communist countries. While parts of current discourses and institutional changes aim at strengthening national identities within the state, others stretch out beyond state borders to reach national minorities and diasporas afar. In addition, the project of European integration within the European Union has promoted a European identity premised upon universalist values as much as on national membership. Furthermore, cosmopolitanism and cosmopolitan identities have become an important discussion in the past years while it is still a matter of dispute to which degree these are part of national or European identity or whether these reach beyond. One crucial question here is whether cosmopolitan identities beyond the confines of European nation states are adequate (or sufficient) to define the boundaries of the political community.

Social Europe

International Organisations

Teacher: Prof. Dr. Stefan Kühl

This course raises questions about the role of institutions in shaping the international community and, conversely, the impact of globalization and societal structures of international experience, modern organization. It provides an introduction to the sociology of international organizations and provides an overview of the main theories of organizations and organizational behavior (system theory, neoinstitutionalism and others), and also the analysis of the impact of globalization processes on the institutional order. Students learn to distinguish between formal and informal processes in international organizations, learn the functions of informal structures and trace the relationship between formal and informal organizational processes. They also analyze the contribution of international organizations as actors while creating global norms and values ​​and internally mending these norms and values. Then they apply this knowledge to the analysis of specific international organizations such as the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, NATO, the Catholic Church, the International Football Federation, and others.

Economic Europe

European Market Economies between Global Competition, Regionalisation, and Political Regulation

Can the Central­ European Economic Model survive in times of an accelerated Globalisation? Is there any room left for different approaches to economic and social policy? Does international competition force the ever more integrating economies to follow the path of ‘one best practise’? Theses are the current central question not only for European economic policy makers, but also for governments, trade unions, and other NGOs.However, regardless of adaptations of elements from the Anglo­ Saxon into the Central­ European Economic model, globalisation did not lead to an entire equalisation of Production Regimes. Even though, both production regimes share a number of features for creating the wealth of nations, in other aspects both do differ significant one from another. The aim of the course is firstly to analyse the sources and preconditions of western economic development and growth. An introduction into basic economic models concerning productivity, growth, distribution forms the first part of the course. In the second part participants study economic theories and approaches beyond classical and neoclassical economics like new institutional economics and new economic geography. The last part is dedicated to the empirical application of the economic theories to the historical development of the central European, exemplified by Germany and the US American, as case for Anglo-Saxon Production regime.

Political Europe

Cultural Borders and Inter-State Relations in Europe
The focus of the discipline is a problem of cultural diversity in modern European states. This course raises questions about the discrepancy of borders of cultural communities and nation-states, and discusses the implications of this mismatch of cultural and political "map" of Europe: ethnic paradox, problematization of the idea of ​​cultural neutral state, conflict between cultural groups within the territory of a nation state, and the development of transnational links between cultural groups belonging to different national states. Students will acquire skills in analysis of identities of different cultural groups and mechanisms of the opposition construct "we are - they are" under the influence of objective and subjective cultural distance, as well as learn to critically evaluate the possibility of cross-border and transnational cooperation of cultural communities.