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Department of Educational Sciences and Psychology


Social pedagogy represents a societal reaction to the contradictions and crises of modern societies. Since the beginning of the 20th century, a complex system of social interventions has emerged that aims to ensure the cohesion of modern societies. At the same time, it produces ways of life that enable individuals to participate in society. Social pedagogy contributes to improving socialization and participation opportunities as well as the living conditions of children, adolescents and adults. It provides various family-supporting, family-supplementing and family-replacing offers that are aimed at education and care. For people in special life situations it brings practical support and advice to manage everyday life. In the fields of work of formal and non-formal education, social pedagogy brings both social services and person-oriented social services to children, youth, families and older adults. Thus, it forms a central part of the infrastructure of the educational and social system in the context of the welfare state.

The research, theory building and teaching of the Institute for Social Pedagogy focuses on the political and institutional conditions of dealing with social problems as well as on pedagogical interventions, assistance and offers.

  • Theoretically as well as empirically, it is analyzed to what extent the socio-political programmatics and programs provided by the welfare state match the needs and subjective perspectives of the addressees. This includes adressing questions about the socio-pedagogical treatment of social inequality, deviance and exclusion as well as the social arrangements of participation, upbringing and education.
  • Furthermore, the professional practitioners as well as the conditions and possibilities of professional interventions are addressed. The focus here is on questions of professional expertise, professional habitus, professional attitude and the design of professional socio-pedagogical relationships. This is also connected to the reflection of professional challenges and the conceptual development of the qualification of professionals.
  • These research perspectives are intertwined with the analysis of organizations and institutions in which social-pedagogical programs and interventions are realized. The focus is on the form and structure of social facilities, institutions and organizations as well as on the arrangement of the welfare state as a whole.

The fundamentel research perspectives of the institute derive from the institutionalized field of tension between addressees, profession and organization as well as their societal embedding. The different research teams take up these perspectives with different emphases. All research teams of the institute are located in a social science research paradigm. This framework ensures and promotes methodological, interdisciplinary and international connectivity.