Strategies of individualization. New concepts and findings on the sociological individualization thesis

  • Project team:

    Krings, Bettina-Johanna (Dissertation)

  • Start date:


  • End date:


  • Research group:

    Knowledge society and knowledge policy

Project description

As suggested by the title "Strategies of individualization. New concepts and findings on the sociological individualization thesis", the dissertation argues for a change of perspective on individualization processes in modern societies. In line with the German sociological debate and following the sociological works of Niklas Luhmann, the study assumes that the openness and complexity of modern societies increasingly encourage people to establish their own orientation in their biographical vita. For individual decision-making processes, however, this means that people in modern societies will be increasingly challenged to explore social conditions within themselves. In this context, "Strategies of individualization", according to the thesis, rely on a variety of methods of self-observation and self-description which are (to be) learned as part of the processes of life. Thus, the study considers processes of individualization as the conscious awareness of a continuous process of reflection on one’s own thinking, feeling and acting. This awareness is becoming increasingly important in order to be able to meet the multiple social demands in a complex world.

This hypothesis is verified and proved on the basis of an empirical study. It is shown that especially in critical life phases of upheaval and disorientation of people these forms of awareness are particularly important in order to determine one’s own position. Reflexivity on one’s own individuality thus becomes an important element in the process, not only with regard to understanding social processes, but also with respect to exploring (individual) freedom.

Administrative data

Supervisor: Prof. Birgit Blättel-Mink, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Advisor: Prof. Dr. Tilla Siegel, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main
Doctoral students at ITAS: See Doctoral studies at ITAS


Dr. Bettina-Johanna Krings
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)
Institute for Technology Assessment and Systems Analysis (ITAS)
P.O. Box 3640
76021 Karlsruhe

Tel.: +49 721 608-26347