Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheffer - Vita

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Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheffer | Methoden der Interpretativen Sozialforschung | Johann Wolfgang Goethe-Universität Frankfurt | FB 03 Gesellschaftswissenschaften | Theodor-Adorno-W.-Platz 6  | D - 60323 Frankfurt a. M. |


Curriculum Vitae


Personal Data Sheet

Studies and Degrees


1990 – 1995

Sociology at Bielefeld University (Germany)


Dissertation (Diplomarbeit) on an Eastern German Foreigners’ Office:

„Aufenthaltsgenehmigung. Studien zur Praxis der Ausländerverwaltung“

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. Graduate School „Migration in Europe“ (IMIS, Osnabrück University)


Doctoral Thesis:

„Fallherstellung und Darstellungsmacht. Eine analytische Ethnographie des Asylverfahrens in Deutschland“

Passed with “summa cum laude”, 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 Procedure“

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, IMIS 


Full Professor (W3) for “Sociology and Social-Psychology with an emphasis on Interpretative Social Research“ (“Soziologie mit dem Schwerpunkt Interpretative Sozialforschung”) at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Department for Social Science,  

Functions in Self-Administration (GUF): Stellvertretender Direktor des Instituts für Soziologie; Mitglied des Fachbereichsrats Gesellschaftswissenschaften; Mitglied des Direktoriums/Direktor Lehre, Institut für Soziologie; Mitglied des Direktoriums/Direktor Forschung, Institut für Soziologie; Vorsitzender der AG Akkreditierung BA & MA Soziologie; Sprecher der Abteilung Wissen, Technologie, Natur am Institut für Soziologie.

4.19 -

Geschäftsführender Direktor des Instituts für Soziologie




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


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)

Research Funding


“Concepts for the Development of Intelligence, Security and Prevention” Practice Research on police-prevention work. (In collaboration with the Centre Marc Bloch) BMBF (ca. 850.000 €),


“The mediatized fabrication of political positions. An Ethnography of MPs offices in the German Bundestag.” - Research Network Mediatized Worlds (University of Bremen), funded by DFG (ca. 250.000 €)


“Cultures of War Discourse”/CuWaDis-network with researchers from UK (Liverpool, Manchester, Israel (Haifa, Tel Aviv), GER (Frankfurt a.M.) - conference and travel costs sponsored by German Peace Research Foundation (ca. 12.000 €)


“The mediatized fabrication of political positions” Research Network Mediatized Worlds (University of Bremen) - extension by DFG until 2016 (ca. 250.000 €),


Host of Dutch post-doc researcher Victor Toom; project on “Technolegal Realities of Genocide”, Marie Curie scholarship/ERC-grant (ca. 50.000 €)

Academic Memberships


Member of the Research Network “Discourse Analysis” funded by DFG


Program Committee for the 1st German-Speaking Law & Society Conference at the Law Department/HU Berlin


Spokesperson of the Board (Sektionssprecher), 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) 


Editorial Board, Frankfurter Beiträge zur Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie (Springer)


Spokesperson of the Board (Sektionssprecher), Section “Qualitative Methods of Social Research” (DGS),

Research Collaboration


Member of Research Network “Methodologien und Methoden der Diskursanalyse“ (MeMeDa) funded by DFG


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


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


Member of Research Network “Mediatized Worlds” (University of Bremen) funded by DFG


Member of the English “Legal Materiality Network”,