Sorry! De informatie die je zoekt, is enkel beschikbaar in het Engels.
This programme is saved in My Study Choice.
Something went wrong with processing the request.
Something went wrong with processing the request.

Research Sociology

Sociology research programme: Paris


Research in the VU Department of Sociology is organized in the PARIS -PARticipation In Society- Research Program. PARIS covers a wide spectrum of social participation, including participation in education, labour market, family and social networks, voluntary organisations, and contentious and non-contentious political participation and prosocial behaviour. Our concerns are both with how social participation contributes to society (cohesion, inclusion) and the share people obtain in social distribution (inequality, exclusion).

Rather than adhering to a single theoretical framework, PARIS-researchers liberally employ a variety of theories and methods suited for the research problem they address. Research questions are derived from the social problems faced in the various realms of social participation, as well as from the unsolved puzzles of the sociological discipline. PARIS researchers apply methodological approaches ranging from large-scale quantitative to in-depth qualitative research strategies. The choice of a particular research method is driven by objectives and research questions of the projects as well as the competences of individual researchers.

Return to the Sociology homepage.

PARIS research groups
PARIS research groups bring together PARIS researchers with common research interests and expertise. Group seminars meet regularly and discuss ongoing work of researchers. Exchange between research groups is facilitated in monthly research colloquia in which new grants, publications and research methods are discussed. The five program leaders and the research manager meet monthly to discuss overall research policy issues (e.g. PhD progress, talent, data management). 

Our research programmes

  • Social inequality in the life course (SILC)

    SILC research analyzes participation in education, employment, occupation and the income distribution, in relationship to life course events in young and middle adulthood. In our research, we try to understand to relationships between social stratification and the life course against a context of modernization, globalization and new forms of government regulation. The group specializes in the analysis of large scale (often: comparative) datasets with advanced statistical methods is and also active in the collection and harmonization of large-scale survey data.Contact
    SILC is coordinated by Pavlopoulos (

    Group members


    Bakker, prof.dr. Bart  endowed chair 

    Bouwhuis, dr. Stef

    Ganzeboom, prof.dr. Harry  professor  

    Garnier Villarreal, dr. Mauricio

    Liefbroer, prof.dr. Aat  endowed chair

    Maas, prof.dr. Ineke  endowed chair 

    Muis, Dr. Jasper 

    Nagel, dr. Ineke

    Pavlopoulos, dr. Dimitris  program leader SILC

    PhD Candidates 

    Chowdhury, Anika

    Eberlein, Laura

    Echeverry, Santiago Gómez

    Farooq, Muhammad

    Khan, Saba

    Pankowski, Paulina

    Tourtouri, Myrto

  • The social context of aging (SOCA)

    The SoCA program focuses on the social functioning of older adults. Social functioning refers to how people are embedded in social networks of relatives and non-relatives, in work and volunteerism and organizations, ewn how their social embeddedness is experienced in terms of loneliness... Differences in social functioning are studied in two broader contexts. First, in the context of socioeconomic position, gender, and migration, with the role of changes in health with age being of specific interest. Second, in the context of cohort and period differences, which reflect the rapid changes in many domains in our society relevant to aging. These changes include individualization, changing family structure, increasing use of information and communication technologies in daily life, and changes in the services provided by the welfare state. Answering research questions is facilitated by analysis of empirical data, often drawn from the 30-year Longitudinal Aging Study Amsterdam (LASA) and supplemented by a variety of other datasets. Cross-sectional, longitudinal, and cohort-sequential survey designs and experimental designs are often employed.


    SoCA is coordinated by prof. dr. Theo van Tilburg (

    Group members


    Boer, Alice de endowed chair

    Broese van Groenou, prof.dr. Marjolein

    Horst, dr. Mariska van der

    Huisman, prof.dr. Martijn

    Ingen, dr. Erik van

    Suanet, dr. Bianca

    Tilburg, prof.dr. Theo van  Programme leader SoCa

    PhD Candidates

    Abbing, Jens

    Blok, Marije

    Duran, Gözde

    Gardeniers, Maura 

    Shen, Ying

    Swinkels, Joukje

  • Social change and conflict (SCC)

    Societies change rapidly these days. ‘The times they are a changing’ to quote Bob Dylan. Social change is almost always controversial. Inevitably, citizens mobilize in support or opposition.

    The Social Change and Conflict Group studies the dynamics of contentious politics. That is to say, it studies the dynamics of political protest, street demonstrations, collective action, political violence and so on. Contentious politics is rare behavior. In response to adverse circumstances most citizens refrain from any action. SCC aims to find answers to the question why. Why is it that in seemingly the same circumstances the one person takes to the barricades, while the other stays on the couch and remains inactive? Contentious politics is actions by people who are aggrieved, who are angry about some state of affairs be it about earthquakes in Groningen, Trump in the US, or windmills in their backyards. Demand, supply, and mobilization is how SCC tries to answer these questions. Demands mean that there are people who are keen to take part in political action. Supply is about social movements or political parties that offer opportunities to engage in politics. Demand is needed but without social movements, or political parties that supply opportunities to engage in politics the issue would not get very far. Finally, mobilization is needed to communicate to citizens the opportunities to act.

    SCC explores the dynamics of demand, supply, and mobilization and the mechanisms that are involved in these processes. How issues politicize, how social relations polarize and people politicize and or radicalize. Intergroup polarization is the sharpening of opposition between groups in society that may result in intergroup tension and increased segregation (along ethnic, religious, class lines). The more intergroup relations polarize, the more there will be a tendency to minimize intra- or ingroup differences, and to maximize inter- or outgroup differences. Protest is not without any costs or risks. Repression—sometimes severe repression― increases the costs of protest. What are citizens to do? Politics can be enacted via political parties and social movements. What makes people take part in parties rather than movements or the other way around? Politicization might be the answers to that question. Politicization is often the beginning of a process that proceeds with polarization and radicalization. SCC seeks to understand how these processes evolve.


    SCC is coordinated by dr. Jacquelien van Stekelenburg (

    Group members


    Prof.dr. P.G. Klandermans

    Prof. dr. J. v Stekelenburg

    PhD Candidates 

    Khalil, Fatma 

    Trovato, Sara

    Yu, Geng 

  • Identities, diversity and inclusion (IDI)

    The major interest of the members of the IDI group is to understand the structurally embedded struggles for participation and inclusion of individuals and groups in different social contexts. We understand identities as constructed and contested and investigate in our research how identities become (re)constructed under different constellations of power. We furthermore understand diversity and identity from an intersectional take, assuming that individuals are always multiply positioned through structural differences in gender, religion, class, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age and so on and that these different ways in which one is positioned interact. Given that many of the members of IDI are concerned with individuals and groups with a background of migration, displacement, or mobility, we approach identity from a transnational perspective, whereby we make an conscious effort to avoid methodological nationalism in our research. Following the lines of critical theories, power and agency are the key notions bringing this group together. In addition to the visible and solid forms of domination or suppression that are at play in this era, we also focus on the normalized structures and discourses of exclusion. These are often taken for granted and therefore difficult to identify, let alone subvert. 

    The members of the IDI group research these processes and contradictions by considering the levels of policy, interaction, and experiences within the historically informed (discursive) structures in societies. They question the basic assumptions of these (discursive) structures and investigate the interaction between normalized structures and the positions and actions of individuals and groups. They try to discover how individuals participate in various societal fields and negotiate their positions within local, national, and global contexts. Most of IDI members are qualitative researchers (narrative approach and ethnography), some combine this with quantitative methodology.

    Ghorashi is the Program Leader of IDI and within her chair Diversity and Integration supervises several PhD researchers, including the researchers from her recently funded VICI project: Engaged scholarship and Narratives of change in comparative perspective. Saharso is the Coordinator of the IDI group and next to her position at VU sociology also holds a personal chair (at UvH) Citizenship and Moral Diversity and supervises various PhD researchers and Postdocs, including researchers in her newly funded NWO project: When culture meets gender in the consultation room: GPs’ and migrant women’s dilemmas around harmful cultural practices. Crul’s chair Diversity and Education hosts also several PhD and postdoc researchers including researchers within his ERC Advanced project: Becoming a Minority (BaM). Saskia Keuzenkamp has the endowed Movisie-chair, Participation and Effectivity and supervises two external PhD researchers. Her research focuses on the role and impact of experiential knowledge and experts-by-experience in the social domain. Anne-Mei The has the endowed chair of Long-term Care and the Social Approach Dementia with special focus in diversity. Lorraine Nencel, associate professor and specialized in gender and sexuality. Her research focuses on sex work and migrant sex work from a global perspective. She supervises two PhD researchers. Peer Smets is specialized in urban sociology and supervises three PhD researchers. Tara Fiorito is assistant professor and specialized in the exclusion/inclusion of undocumented youth. Elif Keskiner is assistant professor and her research falls under the areas of ethnic and migration studies, sociology of education and youth sociology, with a focus on social inequalities. Elena Ponzoni is assistant professor and is coordinator of Refugee Academy. Marieke Slootman is specialized in cultural diversity from representative angle. Ismintha Waldring is assistant professor and her research interests include boundary strategies, belonging and subtle mechanisms of exclusion in the education sector. From 2013, dr. Kathy Davis has joined the group as a research fellow, she is specialized in biographical research.

    Sawitri Saharso (, Coordinator
    Halleh Ghorashi (, Program Leader

    Group member


    Ahmad, Menal

    Crul, prof.dr. Maurice

    Davis, prof.dr. Kathy 

    Essanhaji, Zakia    

    Fiorito, Tara 

    Ghorashi, prof.dr. Halleh, Program Leader  

    Keskiner, dr. Elif

    Keuzenkamp, prof.dr. Saskia, endowed chair

    Kisubi Mbasalaki, dr. Phoebe, Research fellow

    Mars, Kay

    Nencel, dr. Lorraine

    Oosten, Eline

    Ponzoni, dr. Elena

    Saharso, prof.dr. Sawitri, Coordinator IDI

    Sepehri, Sajad 

    Shojaee, dr. Mansoureh 

    Slootman, Marieke

    Smets, dr. Peer

    Tack, dr. Saartje

    The, prof. dr. Anne Mei  endowed chair

    Waldring, drs. Ismintha 

    Younes, Younes

    PhD Candidates

    Abdulazeez, Nazar

    Alphen, Carlijn van

    Greene, Alexandra

    Hammoud, Mohammad

    Holle, Fabian

    Kim, Kyohee

    Knipprath, Kim

    Korstenbroek, Timo

    Kovács, Zsuzsa

    Kusmallah, Nebil

    Lazeri, Marina

    Lee, Haebin

    Louw, Helenard

    Ocadiz Arriaga, Miriam 

    Pozzo, Moos

    Rast, Maria 

    Schut, Josje

    Shan, Fiona

    Woensdregt, Lise

  • The center for philanthropic studies (CPHS)

    Research at the Center for Philanthropic Studies (CPhS) answers the question: “Who gives what, when, and why, and to what effect?” Philanthropy, defined briefly as private action for the public good, includes acts of giving (e.g., volunteering, charitable giving, organ and blood donation) to nonprofit organizations, as well as the work of fundraising charities, voluntary associations, NGOs and endowed foundations for a better world. The Center for Philanthropic Studies is the leading research institute on philanthropy in the Netherlands and Europe.

    The research focus has been on macro-level descriptions and micro-level determinants of giving. In recent years, the Center has broadened its attention to also study the consequences of giving, both at the micro-level and the macro-level. The Center is a strong advocate of open science, and not only provides open access to its research reports, but also to the primary research data it collects.

    The Center’s flagship project is Giving in the Netherlands (GIN), a longitudinal study on the magnitude of philanthropy in the Netherlands. GIN is the standard work of reference for the entire philanthropic sector in the Netherlands, and an important basis for policy on philanthropy by the Ministry of Justice and Security, the Ministry of Finance, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science.

    Other significant research projects include:

    • The ERC-funded DONORS project, led by Eva-Maria Merz, on individual and contextual determinants of blood donations; 
    • The chair ‘Social significance of Charity Lotteries’, held by prof. Pamala Wiepking, on the consequences of long-term unrestricted funding to nonprofit organizations; 
    • Giving in Europe, which aims to standardize different data sources on philanthropy across European countries.

    The Center developed the European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP), a network of about 250 researchers from 25 countries.

    The Center for Philanthropic Studies ( is coordinated by René Bekkers ( 

    See also the websites of CPhS: (Dutch) and (English).

    Group members


    Bekkers, prof.dr. René

    Gouwenberg, Barbara

    Hoolwerf, Barry

    Koolen-Maas, dr. Stephanie

    Merz, dr. Eva-Maria

    Schuyt, prof.dr. Theo 

    Teunenbroek, Claire van

    Wiepking, prof.dr. Pamala  

    Wit, dr. Arjen de

    PhD Candidates

    Aken, Petra van

    Chatila, Samira

    Ciausescu, Alexandra

    Graf, Caroline 

    Horick, Olena van

    Mariani, Elly 

    Plas, Diederik van der

    Schröder, Joris

    Van Matre, Joey