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Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference

Political Sociology: Power, Place and Difference


A keen eye for power differentials

The programme group ‘Political Sociology – Power, Place and Difference’ researches evolving relations of conflict and cohesion in various national and international settings. Our research on citizenship, politics, policies, social movements and the state extends beyond actor-centred approaches through relational analyses and a keen eye for power differentials. Group members employ and develop a wide variety of interpretative and analytic methodologies for rigorous empirical research. We are committed to enhancing and developing comparative and theoretically informed research of current societal issues. The group supports diverse engagements outside the academic arena. In close collaboration with two other programme groups, we form one of the centres of European sociology.

Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Europe

While remaining globally connected and engaged in scholarly debates around the world, we situate ourselves in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and Europe. We engage with issues that are located in these particular places and seek global comparisons to further our understandings. We are interested in how contemporary inequalities and global power differences hit the ground in urban neighbourhoods, local governments, shopping streets, civic integration courses and professional-client relationships.

Understanding difference

Our theoretical and methodological pluralism provides room for understanding the production of difference, ranging from gendered aspects of class-based politics, meanings of health, sexual nationalisms and economic manifestations of diversity to ethnic and racial politics. We look at difference as a product and source of conflict and exclusion, but also as a tool for emancipation. Contemporary inequalities and power struggles over difference are manifold and complex, necessitating innovative combinations of theoretical perspectives. The programme group combines sociologies of citizenship, the welfare state, health and risk, emotion, social movements, urban sociologies and sociologies of gender, sexuality, ethnicity and migration.

Faculty and PhD candidates

The group comprises about 20 faculty, 25 PhD candidates and a range of affiliates and guests. Members of the programme group specialise in the research of a wide variety of subjects, including migration and migrant integration, health, risk, urbanism, labour and entrepreneurship, gender, sexualities, belonging, emotions, social movements, citizenship and social policy. We are committed to our engagement with public issues, relating private troubles to changing institutions and social structures. In our scholarly work, we engage in current sociological and interdisciplinary debates. However, we believe that our work as scholars should also include an engagement with publics, ranging from social movements, businesses and civil society to governments and—importantly—students. Many of us also actively contribute to print and social media.


We are associated with the Centre for Urban Studies, the Centre for Social Science and Global Health and the Amsterdam Centre for Inequality Studies, which all cover research priority areas. Furthermore, we are co-founders and active participants in three interdisciplinary centres: the Amsterdam Research Centre for Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS), the Centre for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES) and the Long Term Care Partnership.


Through teaching, we contribute substantially to all parts of the BA and MA sociology, BA Social Science, BA and MA specialization Gender and Sexuality, Migration and Ethnicity, Citizenship and Care, Social Problems and Social Policy, Urban Sociology, Medical Anthropology and Sociology, the Research Master Social Science, the Research Master Urban Studies and PhD training.

Programme leader

dr. P.R. (Patrick) Brown

Patrick Brown

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