The Archive and its Origins

The idea of ​​founding the Social Science Archive Konstanz (SAK) is primarily connected with the work of the religious sociologist Carl Mayer. Mayer, who had to emigrate from Germany in 1933 and worked at the Graduate Faculty of the New School for Social Research in New York from 1934 to 1966, taught as a guest professor at the University of Konstanz in the winter semester of 1973/74. His own biography represents the dissipation of a whole social science in exile, and so he came to the idea of ​​securing the still available material of emigrated scholars in order to protect their intellectual activity from oblivion.

Against this backdrop, Mayer encouraged the former assistants at the chair of Thomas Luckmann, Richard Grathoff and Walter Sprondel to establish a research institution to collect the estates of well-known emigrated social scientists and to allow their theoretical approaches to be pursued through systematic research. The Social Science Archive Constance, which began its work in 1974, has emerged from these efforts.

During the preparatory work as well as in the early years, the archive was fundamentally supported by the Volkswagen Foundation, the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, the Society of Friends and Supporters of the University of Konstanz as well as by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation.

In the autumn of 2002, the Social Science Archive Konstanz was named the official central archive of the German Society of Sociology and charged with the study of the history of the subject. Since then, the archive has continued to expand its collections in order to extend its research into other periods of sociological history.