As of March 1, 2021, Jochem Tolsma has been appointed as professor by special appointment of Social Divisions between Groups in the Department of Sociology at the University of Groningen. The chair is supported by the James Coleman Association.
Tolsma will be primarily focusing on describing social divisions. Social divisions arise when different groups have no contact with each other anymore (segregation), opportunities between groups differ (inequality), and when members of the different groups hold clearly different views (polarization). These developments affect the social cohesion within a society and can lead to group conflicts, hinder economic development and threaten democracy. Tolsma focuses primarily on the relationships between these issues. 'Within sociology, segregation, inequality and polarization are often studied in isolation, but it is important that we study these areas of research together because they are related' Tolsma says.
Furthermore, he will also be involved in systematic theory building and methodology development to critique existing thinking. Is segregation always a bad thing? Are heated online discussions and violent demonstrations a good indicator of polarization? When do social divisions lead to manifest group conflict? 'This topic is currently in the spotlight and much is being said about it, but this is often not based on data. With my research I want to contribute to a scientific foundation to help discuss these issues,' continues Tolsma.
About Jochem Tolsma
Jochem Tolsma studied General Natural Sciences at Radboud University Nijmegen. After a foray as a youth worker in Bos en Lommer Amsterdam, he began studying Social Issues and Policy at the Vrije Universiteit of Amsterdam. He received his PhD from Radboud University/ICS in 2009. Tolsma combines his position as professor by special appointment at the University of Groningen with his position as associate professor of social inequality at Radboud University in Nijmegen.
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