Dr. Stefan Laser

I’m interested in the material foundations of our digital age. During my Phd, I conducted research on the global issue of electronic waste, following valuation practices around this fascinating yet also frightening type of waste. I met law makers, recyclers and tricksters, learning about the limits of high-tech means of designing and recycling electronics. Perhaps ironically, during that time I also learned that digital methods are an essential tool to grasp the composition of our societies – last but not least to push an urgently needed transformation towards more sustainable energy systems. This is what I will be focusing on in my upcoming work with the RUSTlab. I am an advocate of ethnographic research, as championed by Science & Technology Studies, while interested in new experimental setups that traverse the traditional boundaries of social science research.


Since September 2019:

Postdoc at the chair for Cultural Psychology and Anthropology of Knowledge, Faculty of Social Science, Ruhr-Universität Bochum; coordinator of the RUSTlab.


Research assistant with the chair for Social Theory, Department of Sociology, Kassel University.

March 2019:

Visiting Scholar, Centre for Science Studies (Department of Sociology)/Department of Work, Organization & Technology (Management School), Lancaster University, UK


Master of Arts in Sociology, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena


Semester abroad, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India


Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Intercultural Business Communication, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena



Universitätsstr. 150
44801 Bochum
GD 1/247
Phone +49 (0)234 32 19824

Please contact me via e-mail (stefan.laser[at]rub.de) for an appointment.



Stefan Laser on Academia

Research Areas

Science & Technology Studies • Economic Sociology • Sustainability • Digital Sociology • Waste/Discard Studies • Valuation Studies

Selected recent publications

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

Laser, Stefan, and Alison Stowell. 2020. „Thinking like Apple’s recycling robots: towards the activation of responsibility in a postenvironmentalist world“. Ephemera 20 (1): see here for the open access pre-print (from the upcoming publications section of ephemera).

Schlitz, Nicolas/Laser, Stefan (editors). 2019. Waste and Globalised Inequalities. Austrian Journal of Development Studies, volume XXXV, issue 2/3. See here for the entire special issue.

Laser, Stefan. 2019. „Who Carries the Weight of Digital Technologies? What is its Weight Anyway? Review-Essay of ‘Reassembling Rubbish: Worlding Electronic Waste’“, Austrian Journal of Development Studies, Special Issue: Waste and Globalized Inequalities, XXXV (2/3): 215–325.

Schlitz, Nicolas/Laser, Stefan. 2019. Facing frictions: waste and globalized inequalities, Austrian Journal of Development Studies, volume XXXV, issue 2/3, 5-32. Open access.

Interview with Max Liboiron: Discard Studies: Doing Science Differently. Austrian Journal of Development Studies, volume XXXV, issue 2/3, 197-216. Open access.

Kropf, Jonathan/Laser, Stefan (editors). 2018. Digitale Bewertungspraktiken. Für eine Bewertungssoziologie des Digitalen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS (Soziologie des Wertens und Bewertens). See here for the entire book on Springer Link (free access from the university servers).

Laser, Stefan/Ochs, Carsten. 2018. Kontroversen bewertbar machen. Über die Methode des „Mapping of Controversies“. In: Kropf, Jonathan/Laser, Stefan (editors), Digitale Bewertungspraktiken. Für eine Bewertungssoziologie des Digitalen. Wiesbaden: Springer VS (Soziologie des Wertens und Bewertens), 97-125.

Laser, Stefan. 2018. Elektroschrott und die Abwertung von Reparaturpraktiken: Eine soziologische Erkundung des Recyclings von Elektronikgeräten in Indien und Deutschland, in: Stefan Krebs, Gabriele Schabacher, Heike Weber (ed.): Kulturen des Reparierens, transcript, 85-103. Open access.

Lamla, Jörn/Laser, Stefan. 2016. Nachhaltiger Konsum im transnationalen Wertschöpfungskollektiv. Versammlungsdynamiken in der Politischen Ökonomie des Elektroschrotts. Berliner Journal für Soziologie, 26(2), 249-271.

Laser, Stefan. 2016. A Phone Worth Keeping for the Next 6 Billion? Exploring the Creation of a Modular Smartphone Made by Google, in: Christiane Lewe, Tim Orthold, Nicolas Oxen (ed.): Müll. Interdisziplinäre Perspektiven auf das Übrig-Gebliebene, transcript, 201-226.

Please find my CV and a complete list of publications here and on Academia above.