Researching Africa south of the Sahara A sociologist´s perspective
Afrika Spectrum 40.2005:429-444

##This paper presents key concepts for sociological research in Africa considered important for a wider sociological debate. For the integration of our already given knowledge based on case studies we need a comparative approach. This offers the chance to overcome the trap between simplifying generalizations on Africa as a whole and the restriction of the analysis of stand-alone case studies. Two fields of research are proposed to implement the comparative approach. First, the African state shall be understood as a societal institution that is constituted in everyday life. Second, sociology shall develop useful categories to describe social differentiation in African societies. African studies still use outdated concepts of class and strata and ignores the conceptual development in sociology. ´Uncertainty´ and ‚reflexive modernity´ may work as a kind of conceptual umbrella to link research on Africa with the theoretical sociological debate.##

Keywords: research, sociology and Africa, comparative studies, state theory, differentiation (social), reflexive modernity