Eddie Hartmann is Assistant Professor at the University of Potsdam. His PhD is a sociological analysis of the social conflict and mobilization processes behind the violent unrest which occurred in 2005 in suburban France (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/EHESS). His book Strategies of Counteraction (in German) won the biennially awarded prize for the best PhD dissertation of the German Association of Sociology (DGS) in 2012.
Sociological theory and methodology; sociology of violence; the interface between violence research and social action theory.
Strategien des Gegenhandelns. Zur Soziodynamik symbolischer Kämpfe um Zugehörigkeit (Strategies of Counteraction), UvK, 2011.
Violence et sciences sociales. Plaidoyer pour un relationnisme méthodologique, special issue of the Revue de Synthèse, 2014.
Symbolic Boundaries and Collective Violence. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 2015.
At least since the beginning of this century, the international research community has been studying the subject of violence in detail. However, in the social sciences, decades of neglecting violence as a research subject have led to considerable theoretical and methodological gaps. One of these, perhaps the decisive gap for sociology, concerns the question of under what conditions exercising physical violence is to be viewed as social action and not primarily as a political, moral or even genetic problem: to what extent can the violence of individual actors (micro level) be attributed to the involvement of individuals in social relationships and collective structures (macro level) and also be adequately explained by these factors?
In other words, how can physical violence be defined as a genuinely social fact and thus also be clearly differentiated analytically from other forms of violence?
To answer, first and foremost, the shortcomings of action theory in violence research need to be addressed. The project proposes a new kind of interdisciplinary approach, an interface between sociological action theory, the sociology of violence and the cognitive and neurosciences, which is able to link the cognitive and affective mechanisms of physical violence with the social processes through which actors are involved in collective practices and structures.