The Re-Figuration of Spaces and Comparative Sociology: Potential New Directions for Quantitative Research

  • Wolfgang Aschauer University of Salzburg
Keywords: sociology of space, spatial analysis, re-figuration of spaces, survey research, quantitative research

Abstract

In this article I deal with current re-figurations of spaces and the corresponding challenges for quantitative research. Potential new directions for quantitative research are central, firstly in the search for adequate units of analysis with reference to the macro level—where supranational dynamics are gaining importance in the course of globalization—, secondly with regard to relational spatial concepts—which take into account the importance of translocal living realities—, and thirdly concerning the micro level—where technological advances make it possible to incorporate fine-tuned spatial characteristics to develop a spatially integrated methodology. I analyze the potentials and limits of quantitative (survey) research by means of illustrative examples from the sociology of European integration, transnational migration research, and urban studies. Witnessing booming approaches in comparative sociology (from multilevel analysis and social network analyses to geo-referenced survey research), critical aspects in data interpretation should not be neglected. To grasp the dynamics of current re-figurations of spaces, there is always a need for theory-guided research. Due to the complexity of the re-figuration of spaces, openness to quantitative and qualitative research approaches is imperative in order to further develop spatially oriented research.

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Author Biography

Wolfgang Aschauer, University of Salzburg

Wolfgang ASCHAUER is a sociologist, psychologist, and communication scientist and works as an associate professor at the Department of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Salzburg (Division of Sociology and Cultural Science). In 2015, he received his habilitation in sociology after completing an extensive monograph on "The Societal Malaise of EU Citizens," which was published by Springer in 2017 (in German). His main fields of research include challenges of social integration in Western societies. He has conducted numerous studies on ethnocentrism, social inclusion, well-being, and integration dynamics among immigrants. He was the coordinator of the research network 21 ("Quantitative Methods") of the European Sociological Association and has long been working on substantial improvements concerning quantitative methodology in cross-cultural comparisons. His understanding of practicing sociology means addressing the most pressing issues of contemporary societal developments, learning from interdisciplinary approaches, and promoting theory-guided research with an open view towards the wide range of methods in the social sciences.

Published
2021-05-27
Section
The Refiguration of Spaces and Cross-Cultural Comparison I