This study will critically examine the value of graph databases for the social sciences through a focus on social class.


Innovations in digital technologies offer researchers new ways of researching and theorising academic concepts. This study will investigate the value of one such technique – graph databases – to understand the core sociological concept of social class.

Graph databases have profoundly reshaped commerce and are central to the success of companies like Facebook and Google. The technique is also being utilised by the physical sciences, medical sciences, and increasingly in the humanities to further advance academic research. Yet, the uses of graph databases have received relatively little attention in the social sciences.

This study aims to respond to the call to address this gap. Focusing on how it may be possible to (re-)conceptualise social class using graph databases, this project aims to provide a proof of concept for this methodology for the social sciences. In doing so, the study will illustrate how methodological innovation can co-evolve with more demanding research questions; and highlight new ways of conceptualising social class.