Eddie Hartmann

Eddie Hartmann
Résidents Labex RFIEA+
Résidents Programme EURIAS

dates de séjour

01/10/2015 - 31/07/2016



Fonction d’origine

Professeur assistant

Institution d’origine

Université de Postdam (Allemagne)

pays d'origine


projet de recherche

The Social Order of Violent Action. A Theoretical Framework for the Microfoundation of Collective Violence

The research proposal focusses on two current forms of collective violence in Europe: violent demonstrations and urban riots. Both phenomena are treated as varieties of authority-citizen interactions that are directly related to new emerging conflicts of social order. They reveal that all societies, whatever their social, economic or political structure, are faced with the real possibility of outbursts of physical violence in political and social conflicts. The research objective is to deliver an innovative sociological explanation of collective violence referring to the empirical link between macro structures and micro foundations of violent action: symbolic boundaries, i.e. the legitimating base of collective violent action. The proposal is innovative in at least three ways: first, it develops a theoretical framework that offers a promising solution for one of the most critical problems in social theory and violence research alike, i.e. the dualism of micro and macro accounts by proposing an explanatory concept of symbolic boundaries (and hence, collective identities) as the empirical link at the meso level; second, this framework is transposed into a fundamentally novel methodological stance that combines knowledge from violence research, social action theory and cognitive science allowing for a non-reductionist theory of action that explains how and why people engage in collective violent action; third, this scientific approach will be applied to a systematic case analysis: the planned project examines the violent looting in London in 2011 and the upheavals in Stockholm in 2013 as cases of ‘urban riots’; the violent confrontations in Hamburg in 2013 between authorities and citizens initially protecting the occupied ‘Rote Flora’ against government intervention and demonstrations at the Gezi-Park in Istanbul in 2013 serve as cases of ‘violent demonstrations’. The project not only advances social theory, methodology, and violence research but is also highly relevant for European politics and societies, as it promotes sociological explanation that allows for understanding the dynamics of collective violence against established and democratically legitimated social orders.


Eddie Hartmann is Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Potsdam, Germany. He studied sociology, political sciences and philosophy at the University of Hamburg, the Institut dʼÉtudes Politiques of Paris and the Free University Berlin. In 2010-11 he both defended and published his PhD thesis entitled “Strategies of Counteraction” (Strategien des Gegenhandelns. Zur Soziodynamik symbolischer Kämpfe um Zugehörigkeit, Konstanz 2011), a sociological analysis of the social conflict and mobilization processes behind the violent unrest which occurred in 2005 in suburban France. This research was conducted within the Cotutelle-de-Thèse, an international PhD program run as a partnership between the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales in Paris (EHESS). He was a junior fellow of the European Research Institute for Advanced Studies Program 2015/16 at the Institute for Advanced Studies of Paris (IEA). His research interests include sociological theory and methodology, the sociology of violence, the interface between violence research and social action theory.