Invité dans le cadre du programme EURIAS à l’IEA de Paris
Eddie Hartmann is Assistant Professor at the University of Potsdam. His research focuses on sociological theory and methodology, on the sociology of violence, and the interface between violence research and social action theory. 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 Strategien des Gegenhandelns. Zur Soziodynamik symbolischer Kämpfe um Zugehörigkeit (Strategies of Counteraction, UvK, 2011) won the biennially awarded prize for the best PhD dissertation of the German Association of Sociology (DGS) in 2012.
Eddie has recently published Violence et sciences sociales. Plaidoyer pour un relationnisme méthodologique, a special issue of the Revue de Synthèse (4, 2014). His most recent publication is an article on "Symbolic Boundaries and Collective Violence" (Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior, Early View, October 2015, DOI: 10.1111/jtsb.12093). He is currently working on a research program in the sociology of violence, grounded in action theory, which links the micro level of actors with the macro level of social and cultural orders.
At least since the beginning of this century, the international research community has been studying the subject of violence in detail. However, it can be seen in the social sciences that 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 only 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? The current state of theoretical and methodological debate does not allow the research community to answer these questions at present. In order to be able to close this gap in the research, first and foremost, the shortcomings of action theory in violence research need to be addressed. This requires a new kind of interdisciplinary approach 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. Through the development of an interdisciplinary interface between sociological action theory, the sociology of violence and the cognitive and neurosciences, the project will make it possible to interrelate cognitions and affects specific to violence as well as collective contexts of order and practice in practical research. This gives rise to a concept of violence as a social fact which opens up an interdisciplinary research perspective on the specific group affiliations between actors and the resultant relational resources which must generally mobilize actors to exercise physical violence.