Social studies

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Community studies or social studies is a subject that was introduced in general schools in the Federal Republic of Germany from around 1960 . In it, society , the political system as well as the economic and legal order of the Federal Republic are to be illuminated and conveyed under social and political as well as economic and legal education.


In elementary school , political education is a so-called perspective in non-fiction . In the upper school level , community studies such as history and geography are part of the social science field and in many federal states must be taken for two or four semesters. Political education is part of the state's task as defined in the Basic Law, but this is not necessarily followed by the establishment of a separate subject. Only in North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg does political education have constitutional status as a subject. The position of political education in the subject must, however, be described as weak overall.

The names and contents of the subject “social studies” differ depending on the federal state. The above-mentioned course contents cover the following subjects in the individual countries (as of 2007):

state Name and content
Baden-Württemberg Social studies;

at the grammar school in the subject group geography-economy-community studies (GWG) ;

at the Realschule in the subject group geography, economics and community studies (EWG);

early history / social studies at secondary school;

today in the subject groups World-Time-Society (WZG) and Economy-Work-Health (WAG);

an independent subject economics is only available as a specialty subject in the course level of the grammar school

Bavaria Social studies or economics and law
Berlin Political education (grades 7-10), political science , social sciences,

Economics (upper secondary school);

Title until 2005: Political World Studies (PW)

Social sciences (grades 5 and 6) - previously separate subjects: history, geography and political education

Brandenburg Social Sciences (Grades 5 and 6), Political Education (Grades 7–12);

Economics (upper secondary school)

Bremen Politics; Law , sociology, economics
Hamburg Social studies; Politics / Society / Economy (PGW)
Hesse Politics and Economy (PoWi); Law, economics (upper secondary school)
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania Social studies
Lower Saxony Politics, politics / economics, law, economics;

earlier: social studies (up to 10th grade); Community studies (11th-13th grade)

North Rhine-Westphalia Social studies , politics and economics, social sciences, law
Rhineland-Palatinate Social studies (together with history and geography form the subject of social studies),

Social theory

Saarland Politics (in the qualification phase: with fixed shares of history)
Saxony Social studies;

at the grammar school in the subject group community studies / legal education / economics (GRW);

at the secondary school in the subject group Community Studies / Legal Education (GR)

Saxony-Anhalt Social studies; Legal studies; Economics
Schleswig-Holstein Economy / politics ( BG : community studies = history, politics and society)
Thuringia Social studies, economics and law


In Austria, too, the subject of “community studies” does not exist in this form. Its goals and content are integrated into other subjects.

Elementary school

In the Austrian elementary school (elementary school), so-called community studies are integrated directly into the subject lesson, which, in addition to history, also deals with topics from the natural sciences and world affairs and business education. In this subject, students learn partly about the political system and important citizens.

Secondary schools

At the four-year secondary school and at the eight-year AHS there is content on the subject of " social studies" on the one hand in combination with history lessons: the subject has been taught as "history and social studies" or "history, social studies and political education" since 1962. The focus is on learning about historical backgrounds and (current) political events, but also on various aspects of political education. In addition, important aspects of geography and economics are taught. In addition, there is a teaching principle of “political education” at Austrian schools, which all subjects should take up. At the vocational schools (BHS) of the S II, there are also separate legal subjects. In the 2011 curriculum at the higher technical colleges, an area subject “Geography, History and Political Education (including Economic Basics)” was anchored. In 2016, a new curriculum in History and Social Studies / Political Education, Secondary Education, upgraded political education from the 6th grade onwards.


In Switzerland, the subject is usually combined with history lessons and is therefore usually called history and social studies . In addition to the historical background, current political events are also discussed. This amalgamation is also widespread in numerous other western countries. In the elementary schools, the subject is integrated into the subject teaching .

See also


  • Sibylle Reinhardt Political Didactics. Practical handbook for secondary levels I and II Cornelsen Verlag Berlin 2007, ISBN 978-3-589-22051-9 .
  • Walter Gagel: Introduction to the didactics of political education. A study book . Leske + Budrich, Opladen 2000, ISBN 3-8252-2134-2 .
  • Hermann Giesecke: Small didactics of political instruction . Wochenschau Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 1996, ISBN 3-87920-524-8 .
  • Wolfgang W. Mickel: Practice and Method. An introduction to the methodology of political education . Cornelsen, Berlin 2003, ISBN 3-464-64977-6 .
  • Gotthard Breit and Siegfried Schiele (eds.): Action orientation in politics lessons . Wochenschau Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 1998, ISBN 3-87920-388-1 .
  • Wolfgang Sander (Hrsg.): Handbook of political education . Wochenschau Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 2005, ISBN 3-89974-099-8 .
  • Dagmar Richter (ed.): Political education from the beginning. Learning about democracy in primary school . Wochenschau-Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 2007, ISBN 978-3-89974-358-6 .
  • Georg Weißeno et al. a. (Ed.): Political competence. What lessons have to do , VS-Verlag, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-531-15882-2 .
  • Georg Weißeno et al. a. (Ed.): Dictionary of political education . Wochenschau-Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 2007 ISBN 978-3-89974-248-0 .
  • Georg Weißeno et al. a. (Ed.): Lexicon of political education . 3 volumes, Wochenschau Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 1999.
  • Authors' group subject didactics: concepts of political education. A polemic. Vol. 1141 series - Wochenschau Verlag, Schwalbach / Taunus 2011

Web links


  1. Steve Kenner: Political Education - Educational task with constitutional status? In: Democracy, Democratization and the Democratic: Tasks and Approaches of Political Education (=  Citizen Consciousness ). Springer Fachmedien, Wiesbaden 2020, ISBN 978-3-658-29556-1 , p. 31-48 , doi : 10.1007 / 978-3-658-29556-1_3 .
  2. ^ Joachim Detjen: educational task and school subject | bpb. Retrieved March 28, 2020 .
  3. Political education in comparison - researchers: Some federal states neglect political education. Retrieved on March 28, 2020 (German).
  4. ^ Senate Department for Education, Science and Research: On course for the Abitur. Signpost for the upper secondary school. School year 2008/2009 ( Memento from March 6, 2009 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 574 kB)
  5. Schunterrichts curriculum on the website of the Ministry of Education in Vienna ( Memento from November 3, 2014 in the Internet Archive )
  6. Curriculum on the website of the Ministry of Education in Vienna ( Memento from March 16, 2015 in the Internet Archive )
  7. ^ Zentrum polis - Political learning in school. Retrieved March 28, 2020 .