Heinrich Best: Führungsgruppen und Massenbewegungen im historischen Vergleich. Der Beitrag der Historischen Sozialforschung zu einer diachronen Sozialwissenschaft
Heinrich Best is one of the initiators of Historical Social Research in Germany and co-founder of its research and publication infrastructure (e.g., the journal 'Historical Social Research', the 'Centre for Historical Social Research', and the Association, QUANTUM). This HSR Supplement includes the reprints of selected contributions (in German) representing his main fields of research.
Best's research is mainly focussed on the intertemporal and intercultural comparison of political actors and settings in a European context based on quantitative analyses of individual and aggregate data. A second focus of his research is the social history and subsequent transformation of former communist countries including East Germany. Here his work extends beyond the political system and includes, inter alia, the science system and the economic system.
His main theoretical interest is the adaptation and reaction of social actors to (rapid) social change whereby he applies a challenge-response model that perceives actors as creators of the settings in which they operate and which places special emphasis on the unintended consequences of their behaviour. His methodological work includes the development of tools for cross-cultural and cross-temporal research with a particular emphasis on extending the databases for social research into the realm of historical, prosopographical and process-produced data.