Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheffer - Vita

Curriculum Vitae

My professional socialisation involves various teachers (Jürgen Feldhoff, Karin Knorr, Stefan Hirschauer, Klaus Ammann), schools (EM & lab studies, Foucauldian DA, system theory), and disciplines (sociology, cultural anthropology, sociolinguistics). I conducted and still conduct various ethnographic and discourse analytical studies into the practical micro foundations of powerful frameworks of stateness: legal procedure, adiminstrative regimes, political apparatus, police-work, the military, etc. I offer a table with the mainstream take on the professional career oriented: a series of tests mediating a linear 'scholarly' development. This is where I am coming from 'officially':


Professional Education


Studies and Degrees


1990 – 1995

Sociology at Bielefeld University (Germany)


Dissertation on an Eastern German Foreigners’ Office:


Passed with distinction („Mit Auszeichnung“), Department for Sociology at Bielefeld University

1995 – 1998

PhD Project on the Asylum Seeking Process in Germany , a multi-sited ethnography


Doctoral Thesis:

„Asylgewährung. Eine ethnographische Verfahrensanalyse“

Passed with distinction („Mit Auszeichnung“), supervisors: Karin Knorr Cetina and Stefan Hirschauer at Department for Sociology at Bielefeld University

Applied Sociology



Off-the-job-training: “Migration und ihre Auswirkungen“ for Police Officers at the Polizeifortbildungsinstitut Carl Severing, Münster (PFI)

1999 – 2000

Ethnographic Evaluation of the Reorganisation Project “Umbau der Hilfen zur Erziehung“ at Youth Welfare Office, Municipality of Stuttgart



1.01 – 12.02

Research Associate at the University of Lancaster, Department for Sociology, Centre for Science Studies (UK)

2.03 – 6.09

Research Director of the Emmy-Noether Group

„Comparative Micro-Sociology of Criminal Procedures“

at the Collaborative Research Unit „Performative Cultures“ (SFB 447) at the FU Berlin

[10.08 - 2.09]

Fellow at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Bielefeld University (Research Group: "Case as Focus of Professional Action")

7.09 – 12.10

Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for European Ethnology (IfEE), Humboldt University Berlin (Heisenberg Scholarship/DFG)


Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Social Science (ISW) at the Humboldt University Berlin (Heisenberg Scholarship/DFG)


Visiting professor (W3-Vertretungsprofessur) for „Sociology and Migration Studies“ (“Allgemeine Soziologie und Interdisziplinäre Migrationsforschung”) at the University of Osnabrück, Department for Social Sciences  


Guest Professor for "Sociology" at RUB


Full Professor for "Sociology with an emphasis on Interpretative Social Research" (W3) at Goethe-University Frankfurt a. M. 




Grant by the Graduate College „Migration in Europe “ at the Institute for Migration and Intercultural Studies (IMIS), University of Osnabrück (Germany)


2nd Price by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation for the best social scientific Journal Article in 1997:

„Dolmetschen als Darstellungsproblem. Eine ethnographische Studie zur Rolle der Dolmetscher in Asylanhörungen“


Emmy-Noether Grant by the German Research Association (DFG)


One Year Extension of the Emmy-Noether Grant by the German Research Association (DFG)


Positive Assessments for Associate Professorship in “Qualitative Methods” (Copenhagen University, Sociology)


“Heisenberg Stipendium”, awarded by DFG (start on the 1st July)


List Position No. 2 for the Associate Professorship in “Micro-Sociology and Qualitative Methods” (Universität Osnabrück, W2)


List Position No. 1 for the Full Professorship in “Sociology and Social Psychology with an emphasis on Interpretative Social Research” (Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., W3)


List Position No. 1 for the Associate Professorship in “Sociology of Culture” (Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms Universität Bonn, W2)

Academic Membership



Member of the Research Network “Discourse Analysis” funded by DFG (German Research Foundation)


Programme Committee for the 1st German-Speaking Law & Society Conference "Wie wirkt Recht?" in Luzern (Switzerland)

Since 2006

Article Reviews for Social Science Journals: ROLSI, Public Understanding of Science, SSS, ST&HV, ZfS, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour

Reviews of Project Proposals for DFG

Since 2008

Spokesperson of the Board, Section “Sociology of Law” (DGS)


International Advisory Board for the British Journal of Criminology


International Advisory Board for the European Journal Behemoth. A Journal on Civilisation


Editorial Board of “Soziale Interaktion” (VS-Verlag) with Heinz Bude, Michael Dellwig and Sebastian Scheerer 

Research Collaboration


Since 2010

“Understanding Property in Moslem Transitional Environments” (Project by Baudouin Dupret/Rabat & Jörn Thielmann/Erlangen)

Since 2011

“Analyse nationaler politischer Diskurse zur EU” (proposal by Burghart Schmidt/Monpellier & Johannes Angermüller/Mainz)

Research Projects

Since 2011

“Cultures of War Discourse” (with Dalia Gavriely/Jerusalem & Irit Dekel/Tel Aviv) by RUB

Since 2012

“Intelligence-led policing” (with Naika Foroutan/Berlin & Thierry Delpeuch/Berlin) by BMBF 

Since 2012

“The mediatised fabrication of political positions. An ethnography of MPs offices in the German Bundestag” by DFG