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Prof. Dr. Jan-Peter Voß

Foto: Volker Kuntzsch

Professor and Head of the Sociology of Politics and Governance Unit

Technische Universität Berlin
School VI: Planning Building Environment
Department of Sociology

Fraunhoferstraße 33-36
Sekretariatszeichen FH 9-1
10587 Berlin

Tel.:    +49 (0)30 / 314 - 25848
Fax.:   +49 (0)30 / 314 - 22654
Room: FH 917

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Curriculum Vitae

The Curriculum Vitae provides an overview on previous positions, education, publications, invited and tendered presentations, organized meetings, reviewing, research projects, teaching, and administrative responsibilities.


The broader orientation of my research is to investigate how collective orders are problematized and shaped: how societies reflect on, debate, and govern their own collective ways of life. Such processes are commonly studied as “politics” and “governance” and I could simply say that I study politics and governance. An important part of my work, however, is to expand the usual focus of politics and governance studies. They traditionally focus on public argumentation  and the making of rules, even if informally and beyond the state. But collective orders of life are constituted also also in the dimension of collectively shared knowledge and material constructions which are shaped by science and technology, and in collective ways of sensing and aesthetic affection shaped by art and design. My special interest is to study how such different modes of collective ordering go together: how politics, science, and art relate and intertwine, how they jointly “do governance”, both by stabilizing and disrupting collective orders.

Pursuing these interests, I do social and political research inspired by knowledge- and practice-oriented approaches in sociology, social anthropology, science and technology studies (STS), and constructivist political research. My research projects study the intertwining of politics and science in the governance of late modern knowledge societies. More recently, I have extended this interest to include the contribution of art and design. Specific issue areas are energy, mobility, food, climate change, and sustainable development.

Currently ongoing projects

  • Doing mini-publics: the translocalization of politics”: ethnographic and discourse analytical research on the circulation of know-how for doing public participation by organizing “deliberative mini-publics”, sub-project within collaborative research centre 1265 “Re-figuration of spaces” funded by the German Research Foundation
  • Innovation society today. The reflexive creation of novelty”: supervision of seven PhD students who work on topics such as scientific and technological innovation, relations of science, politics, and aesthetics, innovation in governance, public participation, PhD programme funded by the German Research Foundation
  • MODEL-POL: Understanding the uses of mathematical models in policy-making”: exploration of STS approaches to policy-oriented modelling, seed funding for collaborations between Oxford and Berlin Universities
  • Schmeck! Practices and aesthetics of eating in a transition to sustainable food systems”: development methods of ‘gustography’ to study the situationally embedded sensory experiences of eating and design of artistic interventions and a participatory exhibition at the Museum of Natural Sciences to explore how habitualized ways of tasting can change, internal research funding for “citizen science” at TU Berlin

Former projects at TU Berlin

Between 2008 and 2014 I directed the Innovation in Governance Research Group. Funded by excellence grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the group investigated the social construction of new forms of governance at the intersection of science and politics. It compared innovation dynamics for market-based environmental policy instruments with those for deliberative methods of public participation.

In relation with this work I developed a broader research perspective on the “epistemic construction of political order” which is laid out and demonstrated in the volume Knowing governance, co-edited with Richard Freeman. I currently work on a translation of this approach for studying ongoing innovations in democracy, more broadly, looking at a diversity of practices through which representations of “the will of the people” are performed, from opinion mining in digital interaction data, over the negotiation of agreements in stakeholder forums, to aesthetic interventions through artistic activism.


I set up the Sociology of Politics Unit as a Juniorprofessor in 2012. Joining TU Berlin in 2008 with a personal grant for an independent junior research group I was first based at the Centre for Technology and Society. In 2009 I joined the Department of Sociology. In 2007 I obtained a PhD in science and technology studies from the University of Twente. From 1999 until 2008 I worked at the Öko-Institut, an transnationally engaged think-tank for environmental policy. From 1992 until 1999 I studied political science and economics at the Freie Universität Berlin and the London School of Economics and Political Science.

A key underlying concern of my scholarly work is with interactions and side-effects: how do specific ways of framing problems, and solving them, relate with each other? How do respective attempts at designing collective orders interfere, each with their own specific understanding of functional outcomes? What kind of second-order effects does this produce? Studying such “transcultural” relations requires a broader reflexive perspective. A recurring research focus are are relations of innovation (developing new functional configurations, also several in parallel, synergetic and competing) and governance (attempts at shaping emerging orders of collective life, also with a view to handle repercussions of innovation).

I first developed this general interest, before my PhD, with a research programme on reflexive governance. This focused on socio-technical change in energy and other infrastructural regimes and asked how transformations could be shaped for “sustainable development” (Voß et al., 2006; Voß et al., 2007; Voß et al., 2009; Smith et al., 2010; Voß and Bornemann, 2011).

With my PhD thesis I shifted my research focus from complexities of socio-technical change, and how they could be governed, to the complexities of innovation in governance itself (Voß, 2007a; Voß, 2007b). This made the construction of policy instruments a new object of study. In several research projects, since then, my contribution has been to reconstruct how models, methods, and instruments of governing are socially and materially constructed, how political and epistemic experiments and modes of authority generation intertwine in the realization of new modes of governance, and ultimately, how political practices are co-produced and shaped through epistemic work (Voß and Simons, 2018a; Voß and Schroth, 2018; Voß, 2018; Voß, 2016a; Voß and Amelung, 2016; Voß, 2014; Voß and Simons, 2014; Simons and Voß, 2017; Voß and Simons, 2018b; Simons and Voß, 2018).

In a more engaged orientation I experiment with methods of participatory and transdisciplinary research, foresight, and constructive assessment of ongoing innovation processes (Voß et al. 2006; Truffer et al 2008; Mann et al. 2014; Mann and Voß, 2018; Voß, 2016b), and I methodologically reflect these experiments and engage with broader debates on transforming relations of science and society (Bergmann et al. 2005; Nölting et al. 2004; Voß 2013; Rip and Voß 2013; Voß 2019).

Zusatzinformationen / Extras

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