Meet the scientists researching at Goethe University: Sociologist Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow

We wanted to know: Why did our scientists want to become scientists in the first place? What are they working on, and what do they still want to discover? You can read their answers to these questions and more – including how they motivate their working groups and what they could really do without – as part of this series, which successively introduces some of the people behind the research conducted at Goethe University.

Name: Daniela Grunow
Profession: Sociologist
Place of work: Institute of Sociology

Why did you become a scientist?

Because I realized early on in my work as a budding sociologist that I personally value intellectual freedom and scientific truth-seeking more than the perks of a nine-to-five job.

What are you currently working on?

On questions of social integration in the context of the multidimensional social-structural shifts that have occurred in recent decades. Germany’s social structure changed considerably as a result of globalization processes, including but not limited to migration, educational expansion as well as increasing gender equality. This has led in part to greater equality, but also to new inequalities and lines of conflict that we are trying to understand better.

What do you still want to find out?

A key question that drives my work is why social inequalities in society are so persistent, even though so much is changing “for the better” at the same time.

What does your ideal workday look like?

The best workdays are the ones where I can conduct research in the morning without any interruptions and then discuss new research questions and results with my team, students and/or colleagues.

What could you easily do without in your daily work?

Academic self-administration and unnecessarily complex administrative procedures that make life difficult for everyone involved.

What I like about my job is…

… the independence and creativity of my work.

How do you motivate your working group?

Hopefully through my own enthusiasm for exciting, socially relevant questions and the empirical research results we produce together as a team.

To me, Goethe University Frankfurt is….

… my stimulating and sometimes challenging work environment on a beautiful campus in a cosmopolitan city characterized by great wealth and great poverty at the same time.

What should society know about your research? Are there common misconceptions, and if so, which?

I think the most serious misunderstanding occurs when politicians or “people in the field” think they can comprehend or solve complex social problems without involving empirical-analytical sociology.

Which famous personality would you like to swap days with?

With those responsible for the administrative burden at our universities. I could certainly learn a lot and, at best, implement a few changes.

How do you get your mind off research?

Sports, music and joint activities with my husband, my circle of friends and family.

Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow is member of the cluster project ConTrust. The cluster project explores the interplay of trust and mistrust in crisis and conflict situations.

More information on Prof. Grunow´s research topics is available here.

Photo: Jan Hering

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