Social structures and lifeworlds are studied analytically and methodically in institutional as well as in regional contexts. Technical and material structures are understood as parts of these lifeworlds, to which people refer with meaning-giving actions. Relevant factors for social and cultural development that lead to a good quality of life, but also those that lead to impairments, are considered. This is happening in a region that is undergoing both profound demographic change and massive structural and socioeconomic challenges. Scientific support in managing these transformation processes aims at participation and sustainable development. It provides insights for societal structural change that go beyond the specific region.

Methods and approaches

Due to the specifics of social work and its scientific disciplines, qualitative, interpretative research as well as mixed method designs are preferred. Interdisciplinary approaches and participatory settings play a special role here. Mixed method designs are also gaining importance in social work research.


In view of current challenges for social work, the focus is on topics that are of particular importance for the institute's regional reference:

  • Social needs and social institutions in structurally weak regions (e.g. mining consequences, regional structural policy, securing local services of general interest).
  • Challenges and potentials in dealing with transformational social experiences[1].
    • in the aftermath of the peaceful revolution in 1989 and the structural changes in the 1990s
    • the socio-ecological changes in the context of the coal phase-out and the accompanying challenges to global climate change
  • Demographic change
  • Cultural education in the transformation society between art and social work
  • Family research in social work: needs of families in the context of transformation and modernization experiences and design of support and counseling services for families
  • Globalization and migration (e.g. studies on migration social work, research on structures of internment of refugees)
  • Processes of exclusion and inclusion (e.g. participation in the context of the "Social City", research on total institutions, cultural education in rural areas, transculturality and diversity in aesthetic-media practice)
  • Promotion of democracy and prevention of right-wing extremism and right-wing populism and the related potentials of social work, especially community work in the Lausitz region
  • Assistance planning and qualitative research projects in the field of psychiatry, biography and communication, especially children from families with addiction problems, people with FASD, video interaction analysis and recovery, sexualized violence
  • blended learning
  • Future issues and value creation processes in the social economy
  • Innovations through social entrepreneurship.

[1] These topics are addressed in the graduate program as well as in the updated focus of the generalist master's program.


Research projects of the professors can be found on the respective pages of the departments .