Strassfurt

The Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS)

The Division of Social Sciences (ÖKUS) comprises the departments concerned with research in social sciences (including jurisprudence) at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research − UFZ (see links below). Our research is orientated towards the idea of sustainable development and places the human being with its environmentally relevant behaviour into the centre of attention. We investigate conditions and implementation possibilities of environmentally and socially viable ways of living for preserving the basis of human existence for current and future generations.

Within the Division of Social Sciences there are seven thematic working groups. These working groups facilitate the interdisciplinary exchange within an application field beyond the individual research projects and disciplinary departments within ÖKUS.

Research Goals

The Division of Social Sciences comprises the Departments concerned with research in social sciences (including jurisprudence) at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research − UFZ. Our research activities are focussed in two main areas:

(1) We investigate the various interconnections between societal institutions and the use of environmental resources in order to better understand the ways, reasons, and driving forces of human interference with the natural environment. Our understanding of societal institutions thereby encompasses the entirety of formal and informal rules, norms and values, which are relevant for human behaviour towards the natural environment. Our research work includes the development of theoretical concepts and models as well as the application and refinement of methods and techniques for analysing the interrelations between mankind, society, and the natural environment.

(2) Research at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research − UFZ is generally problem-oriented with respect to the demands of society. In the field of environmental research, this entails the need for an integrated and interdisciplinary research approach encompassing the various relevant natural and social sciences. For achieving the necessary integration we develop research frameworks and concepts which are orientated towards sustainable development.