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Research focus and programme groups

Broadly speaking, the AISSR research programme focuses on the functioning of contemporary societies and their interrelationships from a historical, comparative and empirical perspective. More specifically, the research programme is organized into thirteen thematically focused groups, with an anchor in one or more of the represented disciplines: sociology; geography; planning and development studies; political science; and anthropology. These programme groups operate as intellectual communities of scholars, contributing complementary research perspectives to the institute as a relatively new entity. The groups cover a broad spectrum of topics, such as health, citizenship, stratification, globalization and democratic representation, yet all through the lens of international comparison and multi-level analysis.

Overview of programme groups

Cooperation across the programme groups

Cooperation across these programme groups is institutionalised in affiliated Centres: the Centre for Urban Studies (CUS), the Centre for Social Sciences and Global health (SSGH), the Amsterdam Centre for European Studies (ACES), the Centre for Inequality Studies (AMCIS), the Centre of Gender and Sexuality (ARC-GS), the Centre for Migration and Ethnic Studies (IMES), the Amsterdam Centre for Sustainable Development Studies (CSDS) and the Amsterdam Centre for Conflict Studies (ACCS).

Research Priority Areas

These five interdisciplinary centres foster activity across programme boundaries. They are organized around research priority areas (universitaire onderzoekszwaartepunten – this is the case for Urban Studies, Global Health and European Studies) and research focus points (facultaire onderzoeksspeerpunten, this is the case for Urban Studies, Global Health, European Studies and Inequality). They are composed of AISSR staff from the programme groups as well as external guests.

Societal Relevance

AISSR research themes are highly pertinent to a rapidly changing society. The AISSR therefore contributes to public debates on key issues – specifically contributing to interventions that address pressing social problems – and engages with relevant stakeholders (government agencies, NGOs and the private sector) at local, national and global levels. The institute shares insights with other stakeholders in wider society through the following methods:

  1. Initiating research that has a strong social policy and programmatic linkage, such as EU projects and networks like EURISLAM, IMISCOE, EQUALSOC, GEITONIES and TIES
  2. Entering into dialogues with social partners, such as ministries, city administrations, the European Commission, the United Nations, semi-public institutions, citizens organized as stakeholder groups or activist and private organizations (including the media) who have found their way to us as well as with whom we have initiated contact. In one direction, these social partners are included in various phases of research projects (from planning to evaluation and dissemination); in the other direction, researchers act as advisors in social and policy boards and committees.
  3. Designing interventions with relevant stakeholders in diverse domains, including environment, health and social work. Increasingly the Amsterdam Municipality is a partner in these endeavours.
  4. Disseminating targeted publications via non-academic outlets, contributions to radio, television and news media, public debates, presentations to relevant stakeholders and policymakers at different levels, policy documents, non-academic books, documentary films, exhibitions and postings on blogs and via other social media venues.