How is it that the individual, although he is becoming increasingly autonomous, is also becoming more and more dependent on society?

Émile Durkheim


Since Durkheim made this declaration in the 19th century, societies have become significantly more diverse and complex, while global interdependencies have become considerably more intricate. The technological progress of the 20th century, which continues unabated, contributed significantly to this situation. In the future, computer science, robotics and artificial intelligence will increasingly impact the lives of both individuals and societies and transform their everyday existence. Questions about the nature of societies, about what factors trigger social change and about how communities cope with far-reaching economic, technical and ecological changes remain as relevant as ever. Alternatively, from the perspective of the individual, we can ask about what motivates people to act and how individuals navigate the field of tension between individual freedom and social and institutional constraints. Sociologists study these and countless other social phenomena.

Department of Sociology
Department of Social Sciences
Petersgraben 27
4051 Basel

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