Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow - Research

Current projects

Current projects

Ideological Pairings in Couples and Family Processes (IDEO-Coup) 

There is broad agreement that gender ideology (gender attitudes, norms, values) is closely linked with family- and employment related behaviors. A rich body of literature demonstrates such linkages, e.g. with respect to couples' paid and unpaid work-divisions, and to a lesser extent regarding family formation and dissolution. Yet, two major research gaps remain. The first is a theoretically underdeveloped couple perspective, the second concerns endogeneity in empirical studies. The project aims at addressing both issues. Hypotheses, research questions & objectives: 

First, although most research assumes that gender ideology affects couple-level outcomes (i.e. gendered work divisions in families, union trajectories, fertility), gender ideology of only one partner is typically measured. We center this project on the argument that both partners' ideologies need to be incorporated, and interactively so (ideological pairings) to fully capture gender ideologies' effects on such couple-level outcomes. More specifically, we hypothesize that whether partners agree or disagree on gender ideologies will matter for their work-divisions and family transitions. Ideological pairings will also mediate the effect of other factors, for instance partners' socio-economic resources, on the studied outcomes. Second, longitudinal studies using advanced methodology to account for reciprocal effects between ideologies and, for instance, gendered work-divisions, are rare. Thus, whether ideology is associated with work-divisions via causal linkages or via selection processes or reverse causality, remains to date unclear. We will address these open questions and provide both conceptual and empirical advances to the field, in four research packages. First, we develop an analytical and empirical framework to assess couples, as a meaningful unit, by drawing on life-course theory. To date such a framework is lacking in family demography and the gendered work-division literature. In a theoretical paper, we will provide such a conceptualization, with a specific focus on how individuals' and couples joint gender ideologies are intertwined with life course transitions, and couples' work divisions. Empirically, we will use several high-quality panel studies (e.g. HILDA, Pairfam, Swiss Household Panel, Understanding Societies) and cutting edge-methodology (latent class modeling, SEM, growth curve modeling, fixed effects) to examine, first, how ideological pairings in couples are distributed across time and space. Second, we will assess whether these pairings affect gendered paid and unpaid work divisions and family outcomes such as childbearing and union dissolution. Level of originality & innovation: Our project will be groundbreaking theoretically and empirically for both family demography and family sociology.   

DFG Research Group FOR 5173: Reconfiguration and Internalization of Social Structure (RISS), Coordination project

Profound change in social structure has repercussions for social and political orientations. Social scientists have documented rising political alienation and polarization as well as the surfacing of new cleavages that challenge existing systems of resource allocation and representation. Relating these trends to underlying shifts in social structure poses a critical puzzle. How can we reconcile the notion of a dissolving 'individualized' social structure or the end of a 'politicized' social structure with humans' propensity to attach themselves to groups and with current social and political conflicts?

Social structural change and its connection to social and political orientations is more complex than research has commonly acknowledged. Established concepts of status inconsistency and cross-cuttingness produce contradictory predictions regarding the internalization of social structure and the prospects of social cohesion and political stability. RISS aims to resolve and settle this contradiction.

The RISS research unit brings together scholars of social structure with political sociologists and proposes a fresh view. Whereas the social structure has changed dramatically, it retains its power to shape the life and orientations of individuals. In order to grasp the social and political transformation of our times, we need to take a closer look at these new social structures and understand how they shape the views, beliefs and preferences of individuals.

The key to this understanding is to view social structure as fundamentally multidimensional where numerous social positions combine in intricate ways. Scholars have focused on single dimensions including education, socio-economic status, gender relations as well as migration and ethnic diversity. What we lack, is an understanding of how changes in these dimensions combine to produce reconfigurations in the current social structure. We also need to grasp how individuals internalize and make sense of these reconfigurations, especially new combinations of formerly disconnected social positions. And we must learn how these changes affect individual and collective behaviors and outcomes.

We aim to establish a multidimensional conceptualization of social-structural change and develop innovative empirical strategies to capture this complexity. The promise of our approach lies in the ability to build richer theories of how the social structure shapes individual and collective orientations and outcomes and, ultimately, in a better understanding of our troubled times. For more information, see press release and website.

Spokesperson: Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow
Co-Spokesperson: Yassine Khoudja, PhD (since 05-2024) and Prof. Dr. Richard Traunmüller, University of Mannheim (until 04-2024) 
Duration: 1.10.2021- 30.09.2025
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

RISS Project No 1: CoRE - Conceptualising Reconfiguration for Empirical Research

This project takes up a special role within the RISS consortium. Following the joint key objectives of the research group, it will build a conceptual framework tying the different RISS subprojects together and, simultaneously, anchor the key theoretical concepts and mechanisms for analyzing the reconfiguring social structure and its effects on individuals' social identities within a state-of-the-art empirical foundation. Against this background, the projects' objectives are threefold. The first objective is to further develop and expand the multidimensional perspective on the reconfiguration and internalization of social structure. For this purpose, it conducts a theoretical-conceptual analysis that aims to integrate available approaches (including the concept of cross-cutting cleavages, status inconsistency and intersectionality) into a common multidimensional macro-meso-micro framework of social structure and how it relates to social identity. The theoretical implications of this framework for the social identification with society and specific societal subgroups will then be examined with a simulation study. The second objective is to coordinate and manage the data collection efforts related to the RISS Reconfiguration Data Set and the RISS Internalization Survey. These data sets are designed to study the reconfiguration and internalization of social structure from a multidimensional perspective. The RISS Reconfiguration Data Set will extract and pool information from secondary data on the multidimensional macro-level reconfiguration of the German social structure in the period 1980-2020. The RISS Internalization Survey' s main aim is to study individuals' internalization of the reconfigured social structure. It will collect cross-sectional data on a statistically representative sample of the German population and on selected oversamples of theoretically interesting target groups. Besides conventional questions on the socio-economic position, the survey will focus on innovative instruments for the measurement of social identity. The third objective is to address the key substantive issues raised by the RISS Main proposal using the collected data. Whereas the other individual RISS-projects will bring depth and (potentially) validity to the general RISS framework by applying it to particular societal topics or domains, this project will examine the key RISS propositions from an overarching perspective.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow; Yassine Khoudja, PhD., Prof. Dr. Richard Traunmüller (University of Mannheim)
Duration: 1.10.2021- 30.09.2025
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)
This project is part of the DFG Research Group RISS / FOR 5173.

RISS Project No. 2: Internalized Gender and Parenting Norms: Assessing Reconfigurations between Gender, Socio-Economic Status and Immigrant Background

The project analyzes norms regarding gender and parenting which relate to the share and intensity of mothers' and fathers' allocations of time and (emotional) support for their children. Such norms seem to be highly contested in present societies – not only between but also within various social groups, e.g. between women and men, among the highly educated. We analyze in how far this situation can be explained by the socio-structural reconfiguration of gender, socioeconomic status (SES), and immigrant background. Multidimensional social changes have dramatically altered the covariance of these characteristics, potentially with severe repercussions for family life and gender relations. We investigate to what extent reconfiguration and cross-cutting of these characteristics resulted in new social identities, which can explain the variance and contestation regarding gender and parenting norms. In addition, we assess which social groups are better able to put their parenting preferences into practice. For the empirical analyses, we combine different data. The core of the project will be an own data collection as part of the RISS Internalization Survey. We plan to conduct an online survey with individuals from different educational and migration groups in order to maximize variation regarding parenting norms. New and innovative measures of individuals' social identities and their gender and parenting norms will be developed in this project. This data will allow for analyzing in detail how the cross-cutting of gender, SES, and immigrant background is represented in different social identities including sub-groups (e.g. identification as a female academic with Turkish origin), and how these (new) social identities are related to different gender and parenting norms. In addition, we will conduct a secondary analysis of the Panel Study “Labour Market and Social Security" (PASS) where we examine in how far parents manage to put their parenting norms into practice.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Birgit Becker, Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow
Duration: 1.10.2021- 30.09.2025
Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)
This project is part of the DFG Research Group RISS / FOR 5173.

Value Conflict, Labour Division and Social Cohesion from a Gender Perspective

Gender is an important factor in achieving social cohesion. Gender relations, however, have been particularly affected by social change in recent decades. As a result, across Europe, various work-care models currently compete in terms of family and labour market policy. Related to this, both egalitarian and essentialist gender ideologies and family ideals have spread, whose social-structural foundations and consequences have not yet been researched. Against this background, this research project assesses first, whether the competing gender and family ideals are related to other values such as cultural openness or closure, solidarity and voting behaviour. Second, we ask whether the political mobilisation of gender issues by political parties leads to the establishment of a new political polarisation and how this relates to other cultural and socio-economic cleavages. Third, the project examines the determinants and consequences of different forms of labour division within families for the reproduction of social inequalities.

Project Leaders: Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow, Prof. Sigrid Roßteutscher, PhD

Duration: 01.03.2021 – 31.01.2024

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

Does Europe grow together? Convergence and divergence of political attitudes in Europe

After Europe steadily converged since WW2, the last decade has revealed several serious challenges for a continuing European integration. In light of these developments, this project examines potential polarization and fragmentation trends in the public opinion in Europe. Attitudes towards four key political issues are at the center of the investigation: social inequality, gender relations, migration/cultural diversity and European integration. Polarization- and fragmentation trends are examined from three analytical perspectives: First, we examine country differences in issue alignments, i.e. how attitudes towards the key political issues are entangled. Second, we compare distributions in political attitudes and their changes over the last decades between and within European countries. Third, we compare the structure of attitudes within individuals to identify political belief systems. The empirical basis for addressing these questions are representative cross-national surveys with repeated cross-sections (e.g. European Social Survey).

Project Leader: Yassine Khoudja, PhD, Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow

Duration: 01.01.2021 - 31.12.2023

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research), funding code 01UG2114

Launch of the Research Institute Social Cohesion (RISC), Frankfurt division

The Research Institute Social Cohesion (RISC) starts working in June 2020. The researchers from the Frankfurt division are analysing new forms of social diversity and their impact on social conflicts. For more information about this research cooperation, funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), please visit this webpage.

Project leaders: Prof. Dr. Nicole Deitelhoff (speaker), Prof. Dr. Rainer Forst (co-speaker), Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow (co-speaker) RISC, Frankfurt division

Duration: 01.06.2020 – 31.05.2024

Funding: Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF, Federal Ministry of Education and Research)

Completed projects


The influence of family-friendly measures in companies on mothers' and fathers' employment behaviour – an empirical analysis with linked employer-employee-data.

Cooperation-project with the Research Data Centre of the Federal Employment Agency at the Institute for Employment Research.

The project focused on in-plant family friendly measures aiming to improve the compatibility of family and work. Family-friendly policies are not only a fundamental topic in labour market and family policy, but are also an inherent feature of personnel policies in companies. While there was ample research on the impact of family policies on individual careers, research on in-plant measures and their effects was lacking.

The project utilised existing linked-employer-employee-data of the Federal Employment Agency (IAB), which allowed for analysing the interdependencies between in-plant family friendly measures, family policies and regional context on individual employment decisions. 

Project leaders: Dr. Corinna Frodermann, Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow, Dana Müller

Project researchersAnn-Christin Bächmann, Marina Hagen

Duration: 01.04.2017-31.12.2019

Funding: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation)

The APPARENT Project

International and national studies of norms and gender division of labor in the transition to parenthood.

From January 2011 until December 2016 the project studied currently prevailing parenting norms and standards; especially their creation, dissemination and practical relevance for gendered divisions of work in several European countries. The focus is on constructions of motherhood and fatherhood by experts, welfare states and the mass media. The project assesses to what extent these cultural and institutional norms are embodied by nascent parents and how norms impact the sharing of paid and unpaid work among fathers and mothers.

Project leader: Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow

Duration: 01.01.2011-31.12.2016

Funding: European Research Council (ERC)

Link to the APPARENT homepage


Important Information


For more information regarding research projects of Daniela Grunow and her team, please visit the InFER website.


For more information regarding DFG Research project: Reconfiguration and Internalization of Social Structure, please visit the RISS website.


Prof. Dr. Daniela Grunow
Goethe-University Frankfurt am Main
Faculty of Social Science
Sociology Institute
Chair of Sociology specializing in quantitative analyses of social change
Theodor-W.-Adorno-Platz 6
PEG-building, room 3.G116
60629 Frankfurt am Main
Phone: +49 69 798 36535

Administration Office