Overview » Foundation

On November 28, 1997, the research committee Interpretive Sociologies was founded upon the request of a group of Swiss Sociological Association members from the Universities of St. Gallen, Bern, and Fribourg.

This Research Committee aims to create a forum for scientific dialogue and exchange among members of the Swiss Sociological Association (SSA) as well as any other researchers who are active in interpretative sociological research. It has been observed that thematic interests are less effective for establishing in-depth scientific dialogue and inspiring new projects than are convergences in terms of theoretical paradigms and research methods. Over the past few years, a growing number of sociologists, both in Switzerland and abroad, have adopted variations of the “interpretative paradigm” and begun to use “interpretative” (or “qualitative”) methods.

The Research Committee primarily promotes scientific dialogue and exchange on empirical sociology of knowledge and culture. In the realm of social-scientific hermeneutics, a range of approaches has been established over the past years, including phenomenology, ethnomethodology, symbolic interactionism, ethnography, conversation analysis, narrative analysis, genre analysis, objective hermeneutics, frame analysis, ethnographic semantics, reconstructive (historical) hermeneutics, and others.

Our Research Committee works toward the following aims:

  • to create a network for scientists conducting empirical hermeneutic research in the social sciences, and to provide them with a forum for sharing their experiences;
  • to increase the importance of interpretative social research both in terms of basic research as well as research and evaluation activities for public administration.

Anybody who is interested in the Research Committee’s aims and topics is invited to join. If you would like to become a member, please contact one of the committee members listed below and provide your name, address, telephone number, fax number, and e-mail address.

Florian Elliker

University of St. Gallen
Research Institute of Sociology (SfS-HSG)
Müller-Friedbergstrasse 8
CH-9000 St. Gallen


Tel +41 71 224 29 32
Fax +41 71 224 28 28

In cooperation with the ESA Research Netzwork 20 “Qualitative Methods”, the research committee is organizing the qualitative methods conference ”Unseen, unspoken, unheard of. Unexplored realities in qualitative research”. It will be held from 6–8 September 2018 in St.Gallen, Switzerland and will be largely attended by researchers from all over Europe. On Wednesday, 5 September, full day qualitative methods workshops will be presented.

For more information, please visit the conference website: