Many of our activities take place in the RUSTlab. For information please see:


The micro-practices of not-only-IT-Security

23. June 2021, 12 hrs, SecHuman, Ruhr-University Bochum

At the SecHuman Colloquium Jan Schmutzler and Estrid Sørensen discuss their approach to the protection against re-identification of linked data. Following a Science & Technology Studies sensitivity we will inquire the IT-security issue that anonymized data are re-identified when more data sets are brought together. This most often happens through so-called big data analyses. Allthough the data in each data set are anonymized, it becomes possible to identify the persons behind the data when sevral data sets are linked. We approch the question of re-identification of linked data as a cultural phenomenon, and thus one that pervades diverse practices and is difficult to delimit. We inquire how the problem of re-identification of linked data emerge as a problem for social scientists, how the problem is attended to and maintained, and how the framing of the problem as a problem of re-identification may be in conflict with or accompanied by other framings. Moreover, we centrally look into which cascade effects the concern about re-identification has, for the organisation archiving the data and for the knowledge produced with the data.

Re-Imagining River Restoration.

21. June 2021
We are happy to announce the publication of Stefan Laser's and Estrid Sørensen's paper on "Re-Imagining River Restoration. Temporalities, Landscapes and Values of the Emscher Set in a Post-Mining Environment" in a special issue of Berliner Blätter on "Environment Ecological Ontologies: Approaching Human-Environmental Engagements", edited by Michaela Meuer and Kathrin Eithel. The paper inquires how to engage with a river that flows through the Ruhr Area in Germany and has changed through the centuries just as much as has the former heavily industrialized region. It discovers stories of three different ontologies of the river in their empirical material and add a fourth, less hopeful story of the river as a desperately sustained ruin. Please find the open access publication here.

Infrastructuring virtual lifeworlds: Archives, Data Centres and Autonomous Mobility

18. June 2021, RUSTlab, Ruhr-University Bochum

Infrastructures are digital, but they are also virtual in the sense of incorporating potentiality. Infrastructures enable interactions, knowledge and spaces to emerge, while also themselves being shaped through the potentials of interactions, knowledge and spaces. In the RUSTlab Lectures Estrid Sørensen will together with Simon Rothöhler and Florian Sprenger discuss infrastructures as virtual by addressing three different research areas: virtual archives, university datacentres and virtual environments generated through driver assistant systems’ calculations for autonomous vehicles. Driver assistant system model a world for cars to be able to drive autonomously, without representing this world. Virtual archives generate transformed spheres of potentialities of depositing, sorting and classifying data and of making data accessible. Although impressive buildings, the way in which university datacentres actually shape knowledge production seems equally invisible and powerful as the way in which warehouses shape markets and libraries shape understanding and experience. Virtual archives, data centres and driver assistant systems each contribute to shaping new digital infrastructures. We examine the way in which they are also conditions for emergence of virtuality and offer modalities for the virtual to unfold.

Data Sprint on "Open Data"

11. June 2021, Alpen-Adria-Universität Klagenfurt
Laura Kocksch conducts a data sprint with humanities students and data ethics professionals on the topic "open data". Based on twitter and scopus publication data, the group searches for where and when "ethics" are mentioned in relation to open data. The sprint is part of Laura's fellowship at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies. She organized the sprint with her colleagues Mace Ojala from the IT University in Kopenhagen and Katharina Kinder-Kurlanda from the AAU Klagenfurt.

“Matters of Arctic sleep: Hospital staff’s shifting sleep routines and its devices-in-use”

20./21. May 2021

Julie is looking forward to present at this year’s Nordic Science and Technology Studies Conference 2021 taking place May 20-21 in (virtual) Copenhagen. She will talk about her ongoing research focusing on the “Matters of Arctic sleep: Hospital staff’s shifting sleep routines and its devices-in-use”.

“Robots and AI Artifacts in Plural Perspective(s) of Japan and the West”

31. March 2021

Ryoko and her colleagues from Japan and Sweden published a new article “Robots and AI Artifacts in Plural Perspective(s) of Japan and the West: The Cultural–Ethical Traditions Behind People’s Views on Robots and AI Artifacts in the Information Era” in the Review of Socionetwork Strategies by Springer. The article examines how perceptions of interaction between human and robot vary from country to country, and how societal and cultural differences affect the people’s views based on comparative surveys between Japan and Sweden. The article is available on Springer Nature website (open access):,

Inquiring the digital interstice through a data sprint: Ethnographic research where front and back end meet

22. March 2021, Kassel University
On the 11th International New Materialisms Conference "New Materialist Informatics" Laura Kocksch and Estrid Sørensen jointly organise a workshop together with Jakob Roschka, Fabian Pittroff (both Kassel University) and Stefan Laser (Siegen). The workshop participants will work in a data sprint mode with data material a) from the configuration of a power system modeling tool, b) a biking exercise tracking tool c) and from the planning of a data centre. Working creatively with these data conceptual prototypes will be developed of how to empirically relevant understand the interstices between front end and back end. More information you can find here:

Welcome to Jan Schmutzler

15. March 2021
As a new doctoral student of the SecHuman graduate school Jan Schmutzler has joined the Cultural Psychology and Anthropology of Knowledge team. Over the next three and a half years he will do research into the protection from re-identification of persons when anonymous data are linked. The problem here is that when data are combined from several data sets, you may via big data analytics bring several data sets together that all include information about one (or most often more) particular individual. Linking up to seven data sets where the same person figures anonyously it is indeed possible to identify that person, even if the data are anonymised in all the data sets. The task of the PhD project will be together with a PhD student from Mathematics to study how protection against such re-identification of anonymised data is socio-materially achieved. On the one hand algorithms will be developed that make re-identification in the data unlikely. On the other hand, formal and informal social practices, such as organisational structures, sharing conventions and research procedures that prevent researchers from re-identifying individauals in data sets will be studied. Jan Schmutzler has a background in political science from the University of Jena and a degree in interdisciplinary anthropology from the University of Freiburg. We are looking so much forward to collaborating!

"Timing Sleep: Shift work, the Artic and finding the right time to sleep"

10. March 2021

We are thrilled to annouce, that Julie Mewes will be presenting at this year's 2nd Temporal Belongings conference. She is very much looking forward to talk about "Timing Sleep: Shift work, the Artic and finding the right time to sleep" in the panel "Resisting the impositions of standard time". The conference, meeting under the theme "Materialities of time" this year, will be held in a virtual format. More information you can find here:

“Data Sprints” for Heterogeneous Issue Experts on Data Management and Data Storage

Centre for Advanced Internet Studies, CAIS NRW Bochum

Laura presents her new project as a CAIS Fellow in the weekly public Lecture. In three data sprints the project sets out to define and map current challenges in managing and storing research data. The data sprints invite heterogeneous actors to design data management and storage systems, procedure and documentation. Please contact Laura if you are interested in her project or want to participate in a data sprint. Details on Laura's project can be found on the CAIS hompeage:

"Caring for Cybersecurity: Taking a stand against 'factors research'"

4. March 2021, 12:00 hrs

Royal Holloway, University of London (online)

In einem eingeladenen Vortrag der Information Security Group am Royal Holloway, University of London trägt Laura Kocksch über ihr Dissertationsthema vor. Sie bearbeitet Schwierigkeiten und Möglichkeiten eines Ansatzes zu Cybersicherheit, der auf langfristigen Verantwortlichkeiten und nicht-Konformität beruht. Anders als jene Ansätze, die menschliche, technische oder organisatorische Faktoren betrachten, schafft ihr Ansatz Hybridität und Multiplizität von Cybersicherheitspraktiken in den Vordergrund zu stellen. Informationen zur Veranstaltung:

Presentation during the Energy and Society conference

10th-12th February 2021

Stefan presents about his exploratory research on material cycling cultures during the 5th “Energy and Society” conference, 10th-12th February 2021, in cooperation with ESA RN 12, ISA RN 24, and the Urban Europe Research Alliance (UERA). The title of his talk: Cycling on and through digital platforms, or: What happens when data centres shape the mobility of athletes?

Talk on waste in social theory


Co-hosted by the University of Frankfurt

Stefan gives a talk at a digital conference, where he presents his research on waste and valuation in social theory (title of the paper: "Abfall. Die Wertfrage"). The workshop focuses on ecological matters in social theory ("Die ökologische Frage. Herausforderung für die soziologische Theorie"). It is hosted by the section of social theory of the German Sociological Association (DGS).

The conference grapples with a key current issue. Here's an excerpt (translated) from the intro. "Ecological problems are among the central challenges of the present and thus have a profound transformation potential for society as a whole. The sociological treatment of the ecological question in disciplinary silos such as environmental sociology thus reaches its limits. In order to understand ecological phenomena as an integral feature of contemporary society, the ecological question must become a matter of sociological theory."

Stefan's contribution draws on his research on e-waste and brings together waste and valuation studies to discuss the role of wasting practices in structuring value production and thus society.

Experimentalist Data Studies: toward a pragmatist mode of operating through (not-only) digital data

16. December 2020, 16-17:30 hrs

Department of Science, Technology and Policy Studies, Twente University

Critical Data Studies, Data Studies for the Social Good, Digital Sociology, Digital Methods and Participatory Data Design are among the labels currently used to designate new ways of engaging with digital data from a theoretically informed, often qualitative social science or humanities sensitivity, as opposed to computational social science approaches. Coining the notion of Experimentalist Data Studies I have recently initiated an attempt to systematize pragmatist modes of operating with and through not-only digital data. The experimentalist approach (1) grounds knowledge production in current problems, (2) takes the often contested production of knowledge through digital data as an opportunity to revisit social science’s methods and concepts, (3) and mobilises digital data for collaborative knowledge production to strengthen capacities for understanding complex problems and envisioning possible futures. Unlike computational social science’s use of digital data for fact production, experimentalist data studies focus on the modi operandi of knowledge production that digital data, data analytics tools and data visualisation make possible. The talk discusses the conceptual background for experimentalist data studies along with a few examples.

Data Durabilities: Towards Conceptualizations of Scientific Long-Term Data Storage

11. December, 12:30-14:30 hrs


At the DATA TIMES: IMMEDIACIES, LIFECYCLES, FORGETTINGS conference at the IT-University in Copenhagen, Estrid Sørensen and Laura Kocksch give a talk on data durabilities. The paper is based on interviews with scientists about their data practices. Even though funding organisations have a clear requirement that all research data should be stored for ten years, and even though all scientists clearly support this, data turn out in practice to have very different durabilities. Crucially, we discovered that scientists apply different “devices” for making data durable – or for making them expire. We differentiate between “media durability devices” and “scientific durability devices,” and describe in more detail how these work in practice. More information you can find here:

Talk at the Sektionstagung Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung (11th of Dec): the materialities of the digital

11. December 2020

Stefan gives a talk at the Sektionstagung Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung. Check the date and registration information. The presentation is on the 11th of Dec, 1pm. The conference as such stretches from the 10th to the 11th, get in contact with Martina Franzen if you want to participate (ie, get a zoom link). The main topic is "Science and Technology Studies in the Digital Society" [Wissenschafts- und Techniksoziologie in der digitalisierten Gesellschaft: Theorien, Methoden, Perspektiven].

This particular paper will focus on "The materialities of the digital" (Die Materialien des Digitalen). Stefan will use this presentation to discuss both his previous and current research.

Theory and Practice of Experimentalist Data Studies

9. December 2020, 18-20 hrs

Goethe-University Frankfurt, Cultural Anthropology Colloquium

Many scholars are currently occupied with how to conceptualize digitalisation in the social sciences. The discussions range from arguments that social science’s existing conceptual vocabulary is well apt to understand digitalisation to calls for entirely new theories. Based on empirical engagements with digital data and data analytics tools several scholars (e.g. Marres; Rogers) have pointed to crucial challenges that these technologies post to social research. With a point of departure in these insights and with inspiration from Bogusz’s (2018) reading of American Pragmatism Estrid Sørensen will in her talk discuss how to integrate these into Experimentalist Data Studies, in which the mode of operating with (not only) digital data is in focus.

Welcome to Ryoko Asai

1. December 2020
We are extremely happy to be able to welcome Ryoko Asai to our team. Ryoko earned her PhD at the Meiji University in Japan with a doctoral thesis on the political economy of the concept of “gender difference.” She then turned her studies towards the ethics of artificial intelligence (AI), focusing both on gender biases in AI and on how AI in children’s products influence child well-being. Apart from at Meiji, Ryoko has taught at the Takasaki University of Commerce, at the Maebashi Kyoai Gakuen College and at the Chuo, Nihon, Rissho, Surugadai and Takushoku Universities in Japan. From 2011-2020 she worked at Uppsala University in Sweden in the Division of Visual Information and Interaction teaching and researching AI and ethics, information ethics, and ethics and human robot interaction. We are so grateful to now have Ryoko in our team at the RUB and we look very much forward to our collaborations.

Board constituted in the new Science & Technology Studies Associations stsing

22. October 2020
The new German association of Science and Technology Studies stsing was formed on 27 October in Berlin and one month later the Board constituted itself. Estrid Sørensen was appointed chairperson together with Paula Helm from the University of Tübingen and Laura Kocksch was appointed substitute chairperson together with Baldeep Grewal from the University of Potsdam. Johanna Sentef from the Goethe-University Frankfurt was appointed Treasurer. Other members of the board are Simon Hirsbrunner from the Free University in Berlin and Kevin Hall from Marburg University are ordinary board members. For more information:

Buch Veröffentlichung: "Wie forschen mit den Science and Technology Studies?" - mit Beitrag von Laura Kocksch

22. October 2020
Der Titel "Wie forschen mit den >Science and Technology Studies< - Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven" belebt die empirische Herkunft der STS wieder und löst so das kritische Versprechen ein, sich stets an Empirie zu messen. Im Sammelband werden verschiedene Konzepte der STS auf ihre empirische Brauchbarkeit und Konsequenzen geprüft. Laura Kocksch trägt mit einem Beitrag zur Wissensproduktion in der IT-Sicherheit bei und diskutiert die Kritik trotz/wegen/in Ko-Laboration mit ihrem Feld. ; steht auch in der Sopsa-Lounge zur Leihe bereit (GD E1).

We proudly announce that Julie Mewes will be a part of the GWTF - Conference

19-20. November 2020

Julie will, together with Ingmar Lippert from ITU Copenhagen, talk about "Experimental modes of ethnographic data generation in STS" at the GWTF Annual Meeting from 19. until 20. November 2020. This year's theme is "Die experimentelle Konstruktion der Wirklichkeit: Art, Facts, and Artefacts!" (virtual format, register for free and full programme:

RUSTlab Lectures for Winter 2020/21

Due to COVID 19, all lectures will be live on ZOOM. You will find the link on the RUSTlab webpage.

12. November – 28. January 2020
Here you find our Lecture series for the current term, which is for Winter 2020/21. Feel free to attend and write an e-mail in case there are texts circulating prior to a lecture. This semester, we have a guiding theme, which is: Data & Experimentalism. We thus specifically inquire into how pragmatist experimentalism can conceptually and practically help re-tooling social scientific practices, and how data may engender, contradict, combine or in other ways be involved in this. Here is a PDF we more details on the theme that we also shared with the presenters. We use this website to document the input from the presenter.

Vacancy: PhD Position in interdiscipliary Cybersecurity Graduate School "SecHuman 2.0": Protection against re-identification of linked data

Deadline 12 November (call will remain open until the right candidate is found)

As a standard, personal and confidential data are anonymised in the social sciences prior to storage and before making data available for re-use. However, studies have shown that if you link a few anonymised data sets, it is indeed possible to re-identifiy the persons behind it. We offer PhD positions for a the SecHuman 2.0 graduate programme to two scholars, who will investigate how re-identification unfolds and how it is possible to protect against it. We are looking for one Math doctoral candidate and one candidate with background and interest in Science & Technology Studies (STS). The latter will be supervised by Estrid Sørensen and become part of the CUPAK team and the RUSTlab. The task of the STS PhD scholar will be to conduct an ethnographic study of how both social and technical data practices in the social sciences enable and protect against re-identification, and of the epistemic effects in social science both of the possibility for re-identification and of the protection against re-identification. The Math and the STS scholar will collaborate in developing processes to protect against re-identification.

Please find the official call here.

Please find more information about the PhD-topic on the protection against re-identification of linked data here.

Lecture Series on Climate Change and Sustainability:

22. October 2020

Join the lecture series on climate change and sustainability (WS 20/21). The lecture series aims to take a current and interdisciplinary look at the major social challenges posed by climate change. Since climate change can be understood as a consequence of unsustainable actions (individual as well as collective), the lecture series in Bochum would like to put a special focus on sustainability concepts and their significance from the perspective of the different scientific disciplines involved.

Our very own Stefan Laser also participates with a lecture on climate and the environment, discussing the case of electronic waste. This will be a joint presentation with an input from David Piorunek, who is with the chair of Material Sciences. See for more information:

The event uses a hybrid format. If you want to participate in person, please register by using the link above.

Movement on and through digital platforms

13. October 2020
On the 16th of October, Stefan presents explorative research at an event of valuation studies/sport sociology. The topic is Strava, The Social Network for Athletes. With Energy Humanities he reflects on the value of sport. What follows from the fact that movement is guided by digital platforms and that watts is the new measure of all things? This paper suggests a new perspective on tracking devices and quantified self practices.

Laura Koksch travels (!) to Switzerland

26-27. August 2020

Laura joins a group of international scholars for a workshop in exploring the socio-cultural fabric of digital (in)security in Cully, Switzerland 26-27.08.2020.

Participation at the EASST/4S conference 2020

Rustlab Hub-1536x1086

18-21. August 2020
We are happy to announce that the RUSTab team will take part at the EASST/4S conference 2020. Throughout the conference we will be organizing a Conference-hub at the RUSTlab where we will stream a selection of the talks. Our team is very thankful for the opportunity to hold the following presentations:

• Abigail Nieves Delgado: Seeing Like An Algorithm: Facial Recognition Systems And The Politics Of Pattern Recognition (Panel: Unpacking the Foundations of the Current Biometric Moment: Biometric Machinations of Belonging)

• Julie Sascia Mewes: Timing Sleep: Arctic Sleep Devices And The “Sleep of Any time” (Panel: The ‘elsewhere’ of sociotechnical life at night VR 08)

• Estrid Sørensen, Laura Koksch: Managing Data-Centres: infrastructuring university “small tech” (Panel: Decentring datacentres: their politics, energy, waste and epistemics)

• Laura Kocksch: Energy-Data-Scapes. How to transform energy with data. (Panel: Political Data of the Digital Anthropocene: (Justice, Diplomacy and Negotiation) VR 13).

• Stefan Laser: Restoring a broken landscape? A ‘Pioneering Model’ From The Ruhr Valley, A Former Coal Mining Hub (Panel: Fossil Legacies – Projects, Protests and Promises of Phasing Out Coal VR 04)

Furthermore Estrid Sørensen, Laura Koksch and Stefan Laser organize the panel titled as „Decentring datacentres: their politics, energy, waste and epistemics vir Prague“.

We are looking forward to upcoming projects and new collaborations.

Welcome to Olga Galanova

1. August 2020

We warmly welcome Olga Galanova to our team. Olga holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Bielefeld and she is an expert in Conversation Analysis and the microproduction of social order. She has been associated already a few years with the Chair and we are thrilled to be able to work more closely over the coming years. This has been possible due to Olga's successful application to the German Research Foundation from which she was grated funding to study technologically mediated communication under the condition of surveillance. Her research is based on extremely fascinating and important material from surveillance reports of the German Democratic Republic. We look very much forward to hearing more from her analyses the coming years.

Won FAZIT funding!

21. July 2020

We are thrilled to receive the news that Laura is awarded a FAZIT funding to finish her PhD thesis starting October 2020:

New special issue on waste and valuation practices

14. July 2020

Stefan just published a new article in a special issue he also co-edited: Dis/Assembling Value, guest edited by Emma Greeson, Stefan Laser and Olli Pyyhtinen. All articles are open access. Go here for the overview: Dis/Assembling Value guest edited by Emma Greeson, Stefan Laser and Olli Pyyhtinen.

This is a special issue that brings together waste studies and valuation studies and puts a focus on materialities. We've got an introductory piece that proposes a specific lens. The article lays emphasis on the intertwined practices and processes of assembling and disassembling value and waste. In her article, “Ecologies of Valuation”, Emma introduces us to ecological thinking and the case of used clothing materialities. The subtractive logic of ridding, it is sown, is crucial in the processes of production and valuation of used goods. In “From Trash to Treasure”, Olli and Turo-Kimmo bring us closer to the (literally) hands-on experience of dumpster diving, introduce Simmel's thinking – and the "scavenger gaze."

Finally, there's Stefan’s analysis of an e-waste high-tech recycling facility: “Sorting, shredding and smelting scrap”. The article shows how processes of "deformation" are linked to the accounting system of the company. Calculations succeed only because things are literally broken. More on this, and the PDF download:

Laura Kocksch wins a Fellowship at Centre for Advanced Internet Studies (CAIS)

02. June 2020

We are very proud to announce that Laura Kocksch has been awarded a CAIS fellowship to join an excellent group of internet researchers at the Center for Advanced Internet Studies. Our interest in experimental data formats will be combined with CAIS commitment to community involvement and public communication. Beginning February 2021, she will plan and organize three "data sprints". The data sprints invite different affected stakeholders to participate in current research data management initiatives and the building of a new eco-friendly data centre at the university.

Please contact Laura for any questions or if you wish to participate:

Now published: Stefan Laser: Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation

28. March 2020

Stefan Laser published a new book on the recycling of electronic waste. This is a revised version of his dissertation, which is published in German in the peer-reviewed series “Sociology of Valuation and Evaluation”, with Springer VS. See SpringerLink for the access to the book (free PDF access via most of the university libraries). The printed book will be available in mid-June.

Laser, Stefan. 2020. Hightech am Ende: Über das globale Recycling von Elektroschrott und die Entstehung neuer Werte. Soziologie des Wertens und Bewertens. Wiesbaden: Springer VS.

In ‘Hightech am Ende’ [High-tech at the end], Stefan Laser follows the value of electronic waste. With the help of ethnographic studies, he discusses a contested law in India, follows the shredding and smelting of discarded electronic gadgets as an employee of a German recycling company, and examines a Google innovation for redesigning smartphones. At the heart of the book is a discussion of the controversial creation of new values. The author identifies high-tech recycling as the dominant political and economic force in dealing with electronic waste – a one-sided strategy that displaces alternatives and does not contribute to the sustainable avoidance of waste. This book draws on methodologies from the field of Science and Technology Studies, and it wants to discuss valuation practices by thinking through waste.

There is also a public website that aims to make this publication more accessible for a wider public:

Welcome to Kevin Schmidt and Fenja Meiß

1. February 2020
Kevin Schmidt and Fenja Meiss study social science at Ruhr-University Bochum and join the CUPAK team as assistants. We warmly welcome them and look very much forward to collaborate.

Standards and Everyday Work Practice: The Afterlife of Standards

28. January 2020
At the TMF (Technologie- und Methodenplattform für die vernetzte medizinische Forschung e.V. [Technology, Methods, and Infrastructure for Networked Medical Research]) Laura Kocksch and Estrid Sørensen will give a talk at the work group "Data Protection". While the focus of TMF is to develop guidelines for data protection in medical research, Laura and Estrid discuss how standards are dealt with as challenges of everyday work practices; and how such practical knowledge can be integrated into the standard development process.

Studentische Hilfskraft gesucht (WHK/SHK)

5. December 2019
Am Lehrstuhl von Estrid Sørensen (Sozialwissenschaft, Kulturpsychologie und Wissensanthropologie) sind ab Februar 2020 zwei Hilfskraftstellen mit jeweils sechs Wochenstunden zu vergeben. Zu den Aufgaben zählen vor allem textredaktionelle Arbeiten (z. B. Korrektur von Literaturverweisen), Unterstützung bei der Durchführung von der Lehre (z. B. Moodle) und Literaturrecherche und -beschaffung. Bewerben kann sich jeder sozialwissenschaftlich Studierende ab dem 4. Semester. Weitere Informationen auch zu dem Bewerbungsverfahren finden Sie hier.

Welcome to Julie Mewes

1. December 2019
We warmly welcome Julie Sascia Mewes to join our team. Julie received her PhD in European Ethnology in 2018 at the Humboldt University Berlin based on a fascinating thesis on socio-material practices of psychiatric occupational therapy. Since then she has been working in a citizen science project at the Technische Universität Berlin, researching the practices and aesthetics of tasting food. A successful funding application to the DAAD P.R.I.M.E. program allowed her to move to the Ruhr University, where she will be studying "Matters of Sleep: Sleep devices in the everyday life of Norwegian hospital staff". The first twelve months Julie will physically be at the TIK Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at Oslo University. But she will be with us in spirit. We look very much forward to collaborating.

Care for Objects: Staying Grounded in an Age of Big Data

21-22. November 2019, Copernicus Science Centre, Warsaw, Poland
At the XI Learning Adventures Conference with the title "Power(lessness) of Objects in STEM Discoverty" Estrid Sørensen will give a keynote lecture on data and the question of data's relation to that which it is about, and about the consequences of knowing through data. For more information visit the event website here.

Mapping and Coordinating Cultural- and Social Studies of Science and Technology in Germany

8. November 2019, Technische Universität Berlin
Together with colleagues from Aachen, Berlin and Munich Estrid Sørensen is co-organising a meeting that for the first time brings together the diverse scholarly networks and associations in Germany that engage with social and cultural studies of science and technology. The aim of the meeting is to clarify the specific aims of each of the networks in order to better collaborate and coordinate our efforts. For more information see here.

Politicizing data: Data visualisation and participatory data practices

8. November 2019, Sociology, Technische Universität zu Berlin
At the 2019 Meeting of the Gesellschaft für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung (GWTF) Estrid Sørensen will give a talk on the current trend to apply data in democratizing and participatory ways. This is a move from Critical Data Studies. This is a move from Critical Data Studies to what Estrid - paraphrasing Lucy Suchman - calls Artful Data Integration. For this events schedule and more information see here.

Technologies of Autonomy: A dance of indulgence and care

26.-25. October 2019, Humanwissenschaftliche Fakultät, Universität zu Köln.
At the meeting "Posthumanistische Medienbildung" [Posthuman Media Education] Estrid Sørensen was invited to talk about how we can think about autonomy in a posthumanist logic. Drawing on the notion of "care" and on Antoine Hennion's work Estrid suggests a relational way of thinking about autonomy that does not exclude the presence of dependence. For more information see here.

RUBlab Lectures Winter Term 2019/2020

Universitätstr. 104, Room 201, Thursdays 16-18 hrs
The RUSTlab is happy to announce an exciting programme for the winter term combining topics on data, algorithms and digitalisation with issues concerning sustainablity, ecology and life 'at the end of the world'. More information and the full schedule can be found on the RUSTlab-Website here.

Conference proceeding „Methoden umweltsoziologischer Forschung“ published

October 2019
The 15th annual meeting of the young researcher’s network of environmental sociology in 2018 was organised by Markus Rudolfi, Lukas Sattlegger and Larissa Deppisch. The theme was “Methoden umweltsoziologischer Forschung” (Engl.: methods of environmental sociological research) with the aim to start a discussion of the methodical particularities that emerge in current research projects in the field of environmental sociology. There is now a conference proceeding available with most of the contributions from the meeting. Download the whole volume here:

Laura Kocksch @GI Jahrestagung in Kassel

23.-26. September 2019, Kassel
Along with her colleague Andreas Poller (Fraunhofer SIT), Laura Kocksch presents her work at the annual conference of the society for informatics (Gesellschaft für Informatik) in Kassel. From their 2017 and 2018 papers on IT security and its organizational, material and social dimensions, they follow a "caring" approach that informatics demonstrates towards society. How can technology development be developed in a participatory wax? And, how can the values that in technologies (i.e., what needs protection) be turned into a matter of public concern? They argue that it needs "hybrid forums" as well as new interdisciplinary teaching courses that can foster accountability for technologies in society. The slides can be found at Laura's page under

Conference „Great Transformation: The Future of Modern Society”

23.-27. September 2019, Jena
The University of Jena hosts the final conference by the DFG research group “De-Growth Societies” and simultaneously the 2. Regional conference of the German Sociological Association. Stefan Laser and Markus Rudolfi will present at this event their projects on “Thinking through waste. A Critical Extension of the Post-Growth Debate“ (Panel by Stefan Laser) and on “Verstetigtes Provisorium: Experimentalisierte Nachhaltigkeit im Baurecht” (Presentation by Markus Rudolfi). More information on the conference under:

Welcome to Stefan Laser

Mittwoch, 5. September 2019
We warmly welcome Stefan Laser to join the CUPAK team. Stefan holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Kassel. His thesis was an ethnography of IT-waste practices in Germany and India, so his competencies nicely fits to our interests in both digitalisation and human-environment dynamics. Stefan´s furthermore proficient in Science and Technology Studies and was a leading force in organising the 2019 STS organisation conference at the University of Kassel. At the RUB he will be teaching courses on Science & Technology Studies, on human-environment dynamics and on digitalisation, just as he will be a core figure in the RUSTlab. We look very much forward to the collaboration.

Mapping and Labbing with Helen Verran (Darwin)

Mittwoch, 4. September 2019, 14-18 Uhr
RUSTlab, Universitätstr. 104, Raum 234

We are happy to announce our upcoming workshop with Helen Verran about "Mapping and Labbing". We'll discuss carteography and datavisualisation as story-telling methods in the social sciences: What stories do they tell? In what ways are these relevant? And for what? What is the difference between maps and datavisualisations? What are the similarities? And what kind of space is a lab for spatial visualisation? Everyone is welcome to join, but please let us know in advance:

Measured Lives: Theoretical Psychology in an Era of Acceleration

19-23 August, Copenhagen
The theme of this year's conference of the International Society for Theoretical Psychology is "Measured Lives: Theoretical Psychology in an Era of Acceleration". Raphael Hemme will report on the findings from his ongoing PhD rersearch in a talk on the "Translations of Emotion: An Analysis of Emotion Markup Language 1.0". Together with Lotte Huniche Estrid Sørensen will present their paper on "Phenomenon-driven research and systematic research assembling – a methodological approach to reflexive engagement with psychology´s epistemic project". For more information about the conference, see the official conference website.

Gute Gründe für Schlechte Dokumentationspraktiken

August 2019
Together with Josefine Raasch - a former member of the Chair - Estrid Sørensen had edited the book on good reasons for bad documentation practices with the subtitle "Wie Kinder beschrieben werden". It is a result of an InStudies study project and reports from students' research and practitioners' experience with documentation of children. The book contains original research from kindergartens and children's homes, midwifery, legal credibility tests of children and courts' documentation of children. The book can be found here.

Psychology's Epistemic Project

August 2019
Lotte Huniche (Southern Danish University) and Estrid Sørensen has finally completed their ambitious project on psychology's epistemic projects and published a special issue of the journal Theory & Psychology on this topic. Based on original empirical research the special issue contains discussions of how psychology deals with concepts, with Popper's critical realism, with violence, with the colonialism, and with students of very different backgrounds compared to the authors of psychological theory, just as a paper by the editors suggests a method that combines psychological epistemologies with empirical observations in their paper on "Penomenon-driven Research and Systematic Research Assembling: Methodological conceptualisations for psychology’s epistemic projects". The issue is accessible under

Standardizing the Context and Contextualizing the Standard

August 2019
In M. J. Prutsch's edited volume on "Science, Numbers and Politics" Estrid Sørensen has together with Radhika Gorur (Deakin) and Bryan Maddox contributed an article on how the international large scale assessment programme PISA has been translated into PISA for development, which is an educational assessment scheme for low and middle income countries. The chapter examines how PISA has to be adapted to local contexts, while these contexts also need to be adapted to the PISA scheme. The book can be found here.

TransParkNet Meeting

11-14 June, Kuusamo (Finland)
The Transboundary Park programme of the EUROPARC Federation annually organises the TransParcNet meeting, where members of so-called Transboundary Protected Areas gather and exchange thoughts and ideas about the management of national parks that cross international borders. Together with Maria Hußlein from the Bavarian Forest National Park, Markus Rudolfi will give a talk at this year’s TransParcNet meeting which takes place in Ounlanka National Park in Kuusamo, Finland.

Workshop on Interdisciplinarity and Keynote by Prof. Andrew Barry (UCL)

8 Mai 2019, Bochum
RUSTlab organizes a one-day event on interdisciplinarity in cybersecurity research accompanied by a keynote by Prof. Andrew Barry (UCL) on „What is an interdisciplinary problem?“. The workshop explores further directions in the SecHuman PhD program. For more information see:

A tribute to Stefan Beck

Mai 2019
Our dear friend and the inspiring anthropologist of science and technology, Stefan Beck, died suddently and far too young in 2012. As a tribute to his work, a collection of scholars present their reading of different parts of his ouvre. Together with Tanja Bogusz Estrid Sørensen have contributed to the double volume of Berliner Blätter with a chapter titled "Mit Stefan Becks "Sachen, Tat-sachen und Tatsachen" und "The Problem of Expertise" denken". The book can be aquired here.

Start of the RUSTlab Machine Room sessions

Summer term, Bochum
The RUSTlab Machine Room workshops work to shape experimental spaces and tools for resetting methods for social studies of science and technology. Guests are welcome, please forward a small note in advance to: The meetings take place in Universitätsstraße 104, Room 234. More information, including the workshop plan, are available under:

Start of the RUSTlab lectures

Summer term, Bochum
The RUSTLab´s first lecture series starts on the 10th of May and continues throughout the summer. Everyone is warmly welcomed to join. The lectures take place in Universitätsstraße 104, Room 201. For more information, including the lecture plan, please visit:

Ethnography Workshop @ RUB

Img Laura CAIS 11-13 March 2019, Bochum
Together with Clément Dréano (University of Amsterdam), Markus Rudolfi co-organises the 11th PhD-workshop on ethnographic research. The workshop takes place from 11th-13th of March at the Ruhr-University, there are over 40 registrations and many interesting projects which will be discussed in four self-organised groups. The four groups are divided into (1) planning, (2) in the field, (3) back from the field/at the desk, and (4) writing up/presenting. The workshop is a student-led and self-organised event that takes place every year at varying places with the aim to talk about the struggles of ethnographic research and exchange experiences.
For more information see:

Let's talk about wild boars

boar_meeting_stehendboar_meeting_sitzend 04-08 March 2019, Prague
From 4th to 8th of March, Markus Rudolfi was invited to visit the “Bewildering Boar” project team in Prague. The TANDEM project between the Centre français de recherche en sciences social (CEFRES) and The Czech Academy of Science (CAS) deals with “The changing cosmopolitics of the hunt in Europe and beyond”. We’re going to talk about the different roles the wild boar plays in our research, discuss possible similarities and connections between the projects and think about plans for future exchanges in Prague and Bochum. We are looking forward to extending our themes at the CUPAK chair with an anthropology that engages with more than humans in ethnographic research.
For more information about the project see:

Welcome to Jannik Broer

  01 March 2019
Jannik Broer studies social science at the Ruhr-University Bochum and joins the CUPAK team as an assistant. We warmly welcome him amongst the team and look very much forward to collaborating.

CUPAK @ STS in Germany meeting in Kassel

Img Laura CAIS 20 February 2019, Kassel
On 20th and 21st of February, the CUPAK team comes together with 70 other researchers in Science and Technology Studies to ask "how to organize STS in Germany?". We get inspiration from activist and interdisciplinary movements in other countries and discuss intensely about what innovative ways we want to come together as a researcher community. While Estrid was part of the organization team, Raphael, Markus and Laura participated in smaller working groups on questions like: how to teach STS and how to make STS in Germany visible to different publics. Please check out twitter #stsing.

Lighting talk about previous CUPAK events @CAISnrw

Img Laura CAIS 12 February 2019, Bochum
On February 12th, Laura presents her experiences on "how to apply for research grands and organize events at CAISnrw" at the kick off event for the CAISnrw phdnet. CAIS provides funding for small-scale events, working groups and fellowships that engage in innovative research on the intersection of computer science, social science and economics.

CuPAK Team in Copenhagen to discuss new Science and Technology Studies lab @RUB

Img ethnosLabImg brainstorm_rustlab 17-21 January 2019, Copenhagen
Between January 17th and 21st, Estrid Sørensen, Markus Rudolfi and Laura Kocksch will visit Science & Technology Studies labs in Copenhagen. At TANTlab (University of Aalborg) they will learn about "re-tooling ethnography" with digital methods and discuss how these new tools can be used for research in a responsible way. They will also meet with the co-head and the two current lab managers of the ETHOSlab (IT University Copenhagen) who fill their lab with innovative ideas for STS research.

In a one-day workshop, Sørensen, Rudolfi and Kocksch will meet with international researchers who are in the process of starting their own labs at the Universidad del Rosario in Bogotá, Colombia, and at the Royal Danish Military Academy in Frederiksberg, Denmark. Among strategical topics such as financing and equipment, the following questions will be discussed: For what kinds of data do we need more experimental approaches? What is the role of digital data and how do we use digital methods to improve ethnographic storytelling (and not replace it)? How can we equip our ethnographic fields with what kind of tools in order to make emergent concerns more visible? And how do we use these new tools in a careful manner?

Re-worlding land, epistemology and community in the Anthropocene

  14 Januar 2019, Laboratory: Anthropology of Environment | Human Relations, Humboldt-Universität Berlin
Estrid Sørensen and Susana Carmona present their work in progress studying the mundane, situated practices in three field-sites across the world through which communities reinvent the configurations of land, community and knowledge. It is through such practices that the Anthropocene is experienced, imagined, enacted and reinvented. What can we learn from their practices and imaginaries, about how re-worlding comes about?

Laboratory: Anthropology of Environment | Human Relations

Welcome to Susanna Carmona Castillo

Img 0072 01 December 2018
Susana Carmona holds a MA degree in Anthropology from the University of Bogotá, Columbia and is just about to finish her PhD at the same university on open-pit mining. She has now joined our team as a Post Doc scholar and will be working on a project about the co-constitution of knowledge, land and community. We warmly welcome Susana in our team and look very much forward to collaborating. Please find more on Susana's web page.

PhD Workshop with Helen Verran

  05 December 2018, Ruhr-University Bochum, Germany
Being one of the most profound international epistemologists, Helen Verran from Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia, is coming to Bochum again. The CUPAK-Chair has organised a PhD workshop with Helen Verran on Wednesday, 5 December, 2 p.m. - 4 p.m., FNO 02/11.   The workshop is themed as ‘Practicalities of Doing Qualitative Research’ and will discuss the following topics:  - narrating the story of research projects when starting to work with the field - writing field notes - conceptualising  - writing and teaching ethnographies, structuring texts.   Helen Verran is known for being generously supportive of students’ work and for providing practical and conceptual help in a variety of research areas. PhD students who are interested in joining this workshop are cordially welcomed. Please register for the workshop with

Quantum cryptography and care practices

Img 0072 23 November 2018, Horst-Görst Institut, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
On the annual meeting of SecHuman Laura Kocksch presented a paper together with Alexander Helms titled "Quantenkryptographie und Praktiken des Kümmerns in einer unsicheren Zukunft. Über Aushandlungen von Sicherheit" [Quantum cryptography and care practices in an unsure Future. About the negotiations of security".

Welcome to Markus Rudolfi

Img 0072 15 November 2018
Markus Rudolfi holds a MA in sociology from the University of Frankfurt and has done several ethnographies on sustainable practices. He has now joined our team as a PhD student and as co-ordinator for building an STS Lab. We warmly welcome him to our team and look forward to profitable collaborations. Please find more about him on his website.

Equivocal (anthropo)cenes

Img 0072 7-8 November 2018, Universidad Católica, Santiago de Chile
On the Workshop "Equivocal (anthropo)cenes: indigenous ontologies and the ethics of geo-climatic disruptions" at the Universidad Católica in Santiago de Chile Estrid Sørensen presented the paper "Co-habitation through experiments of co-laboration in rural energy development" co-authored together with Susana Carmona.

CSCW 2018

Img 0072 03-07 November 2018, New York City
On the annual ACM conference on computer supported collaborative work (CSCW) in New York City, Laura Kocksch presented her work on "Caring for IT Security" along with Andreas Poller from the Fraunhofer Institute for Secure Information Technology (SIT). In their paper, they argue for a caring approach on IT Security that accounts for the dispersed heterogeneous actors involved in "doing" security. They argue IT Security is more than a technological given, but both a socio-material practice and ethico-moral phenomena.

Olga Galanova: Panel-Presentation on "Stasi-Surveillance of Everyday Communication in the Private Sphere"

  10-12 October 2018, Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Human Development, Berlin
Olga Galanova opens the First Panel “Causing Fears" with the topic "Stasi-Surveillance of Everyday Communication in the Private Sphere". She presents Stasi-work as a relevant case study for the interdisciplinary analysis of an interface between fear and Technology with the focus on Technology as sourse and medium of the fear communication.
The State Security Service of the former GDR used wiretapping technology not only as a way of collecting information, but also as a method of pressure and so called "destruction". As a part of these activities, stasi paid particular attention to signs of fear by observed people in their communication. These signs were interpreted as general criteria of "anti-state activities" but also as characteristics of self-control and deconspiration. Starting with this point, the paper describes concrete actions of how the Stasi become aware of certain fear markers in overheard phone conversations. The talk is based on the proceeding paper "Angstsprache der Stasi-Unterlagen. Zur Konstitution der Bedrohlichkeit in alltäglichen und institutionellen Kontexten der DDR". In Barbara Job (u.a Hrsg.) Angstsprachen. 2018. VS Verlag.

Research Associate (50%) in Environment/Energy and Social Development/STS

We are looking for a 11-Month Research Associate (50%) (alternatively 5 1/2 Months full-time)

Qualification Profile

Research experience in
  • Environmental Studies and Social Development
  • Science & Technology Studies
  • Qualitative (particularly ethnographic) methods
  • Application for external funding in the above mentioned areas

English language proficiency is required and candidates with research experience in Latin America and Spanish language proficiency will be preferred.

  Work Tasks
  • Contribution to writing funding applications and to teaching in the above mentioned areas.
  • Participation in the organization and co-ordination of tasks at the Chair for Cultural Psychology and Anthropology of Knowledge (e.g. organizing research colloquia and workshops, planning of teaching etc.).
  • The amount of teaching is regulated by §3 of the Lehrverpflichtungsverordnung NRW.

Application deadline: 20. August 2018 to For inquiries, do not hesitate to contact
Please see the full announcement here.