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Innovation Society Today


The reflexive creation of novelty

Innovation Society Today


The reflexive creation of novelty

Innovation Society Today


The reflexive creation of novelty

Innovation Society Today


The reflexive creation of novelty


Workshop "Data-Based Algorithmic Systems" with Paola Lopez

On 16 October 2020, a one-day workshop with Paola Lopez (University of Vienna/Weizenbaum Institute) on ‘Data-Based Algorithmic Systems’ took place at the Research Training Group ‘Innovation Society Today’.

Due to the pandemic situation, the workshop was conducted virtually and consisted of an asynchronous (reading and online lecture) and a synchronous part. It was divided into three program points: ‘Data-based systems gone wrong’, ‘Data-b(i)ased systems’ and ‘Epistemic limitations of data-based systems’.

The main topics of discussion were epistemic pitfalls and limitations of modern data analysis methods as well as the sources of data-related biases and algorithmic discrimination. In the course of the workshop it became clear that the supposed objectivity and neutrality of algorithmic analyses is in stark contrast to their socio-technical peculiarities, since the data to which they refer and which constitute the algorithmic view of the world are always (only) a reflection of social conditions.

Television report on Predictive Policing with Dr. Simon Egbert

Our postdoc, Dr. Simon Egbert, was interviewed as an expert on predictive policing in a television report of the cultural magazine 'Capriccio' by the Bavarian Broadcasting Corporation. The article is available here.

Dzifa Ametowobla's thesis defense: October 13, 2020

On Tuesday, October 13, 2020, at 3 pm, Dzifa Ametowobla, Associate at the Research Training Group, will defend her doctoral thesis on “Zur Soziologie der Software: Die Rolle digitaler Technik bei der Kontrolle von Unsicherheiten".

All interested parties are cordially invited.

Guests are asked to submit their participation request via video conference until October 9, 2020 12 noon (local time) to .

Workshop "Incorporating Social Theory into Ethnographic Research" with Prof. Dr. Thomas Kemple

On August 6th and 7th, 2020, the graduate school "Innovation Society Today" was pleased to host the two-day remote workshop "Incorporating Social Theory into Ethnographic Research" with Prof. Dr. Thomas Kemple from the University of British Columbia. He is Professor of Sociology and teaches, in particular classical and contemporary social theory and methods of interpretation. The aim of the workshop was to discuss the interrelation between theory and empirical data in general and to examine “institutional ethnography” as a research approach in particular. After two introductory lectures on Dorothy E. Smith's concept of institutional ethnography and Pierre Bourdieu's social theory, the participants discussed the specifics of the concepts and possibilities of their combination with regard to the interrelation of theory and data. Participants were able to deepen the understanding of the method of institutional ethnography and its use of texts and intertextual hierarchies. Furthermore, the implications of Pierre Bourdieu's social theory in relation to this method as well as the role of social researchers’ choice of theory in sociological inquiry and its influence on empirical work were discussed. The joint examination of the workshop topic benefited greatly from Mr. Kemple's rich empirical experience — among others from the project Global citizens at home and abroad and an institutional ethnography in Downtown Eastside Vancouver. On the second day of the workshop, participants had the opportunity to discuss their own projects individually with Professor Kemple.

"Genese und Folgen der Pflegerobotik" published

© Beltz

Jannis Hergesell, Arne Maibaum (2nd cohort) and Martin Meister recently published an edited volume on the genesis and consequences of Robotics in Nursing:

Genese und Folgen der Pflegerobotik. Die Konstitution eines interdisziplinären Forschungsfeldes

More information can be found on the publisher's website​.

This edited volume grew out of a conference, which has been organized by Jannis Hergesell and Arne Maibaum and took place at the Research Training Group on 7th and 8th December 2017.

New staff at the Research Training Group

We are pleased to welcome David Seibt as our newest research associate. David studied Social and Cultural Anthropology as well as Political Science at the Free University of Berlin and Sociology at the TU Berlin. Most recently he was a research associate at the Post/Doc Lab Reorganizing Industries at the Munich Center for Technology in Society. In his research he is concerned with the digitalization, as well as reorganization, of industry, with user studies and distributed innovation processes, and with the elaboration of novel research formats such as makeathons. A particular focus of his work is his dissertation project about the introduction of 3D printing to prosthetics. In the SIGMA 3D project, he is also working on the social construction of digital platforms within the field of medical technology. At the Research Training Group, David will take part in the consolidation of scientific results as well as the development of the final report and future perspectives.

16th – 18th March 2020: Conference on "Labour Market Integration in Everyday Life”

Cancelled - due to the emergency measures against the spread of the corona virus. The organizers are planning to reschedule for December.

The Conference "Labour Market Integration in Everyday Life - Inclusion Needs of Healthy and Other Disadvantaged Workers" will take place from 16th - 18th March 2020. The conference is organized by Jannis Hergesell (2nd cohort) and Jana Albrecht (3rd cohort) in cooperation with the Forschungsnetzwerk Alterssicherung and is hosted by the Institute for Sociology of the TU Berlin in cooperation with our Research Training Group.

Further information on registration and the conference program can be found here.

Workshop on "New Materialism and Ethnography" with Dr. Hanna Göbel

On February 26 and 27, 2020, we conducted a two-day workshop with Dr. Hanna Göbel from the University of Hamburg on "New Materialism and Ethnography" as part of the DFG Research Training Group "Innovation Society Today" at the Institute for Sociology at the TU Berlin. The aim of the workshop was to methodologically apply the theoretical developments of New Materialism and make them fruitful for our own research practice. By working together on empirical material from three doctoral projects of the training group, we were able to test and discuss posthumanist research strategies.

Katharina Scheidgen’s thesis defense on 11th February 2020

On Tuesday, 11th February 2020, Katharina Scheidgen's thesis defense will take place at 12 noon in room FH 804. The topic of her dissertation is "Networking in Silicon Valley and Berlin. The influence of entrepreneurial ecosystems on the formation of interorganisational relationships of innovative growth companies".

All interested parties are cordially invited.

Paper by Dr Simon Egbert awarded the Radzinowicz Prize 2019

For the paper 'Predictive Policing and the Politics of Patterns', which was published last year in the British Journal of Criminology (BJC), our postdoc, Dr. Simon Egbert, together with his co-authors Mareile Kaufmann (University of Oslo) and Matthias Leese (ETH Zurich) received the Radzinowicz Prize 2019. The Radzinowicz Prize is awarded annually by the editors of the BJC for the essay of the respective year that they consider to contribute most to the knowledge of criminal justice issues and the development of criminology.

iRights.info-article on copyright in music production by Georg Fischer

Georg Fischer (2nd cohort of the graduate school), has published an article on iRights.info entitled "Wie Musiker:innen das Urheberrecht umgehen und wieso das eine gute Sache ist". Based on his dissertation, the article deals with the question of how copyright law affects creativity in music production. The article can be found here.

Workshop on "Social and material 'Resistance' and Innovation" with Mahendra Shahare

On January 16, 2020, the Graduate School "Innovation Society Today" was delighted to host a morning workshop with Mahendra Shahare. He is currently a guest of the Graduate School. The aim of the workshop was to explore how fields of innovation are reconfigured by different modalities of resistance and to identify the underlying structures and networks that shape innovation dynamics.
The first part of the workshop started with an introduction by Mahendra Shahare. The participants then discussed specifics of the concept of material and social resistance and its meaning for concepts of innovation in general. These were then applied to a summary of the discourse around "Juul" (a controversial new e-cigarette). Using a brainstorming method, the participants mapped the heterogeneous, related ideas, actors, artefacts and positions that co-shape the potential innovation.
This examination of the concept of "resistance" and "multystability" of innovations formed the basis for the second part of the workshop, in which the participants discussed the potentials and limits of the concept for innovation research and the innovation society. The lively and controversial debate highlighted questions about the possible merits of thinking using the concept of social and material resistance as a means to understand innovation processes, as well as the epistemic basis of the concept and its methodological consequences.

Interview on Predictive Policing with Simon Egbert

Simon Egbert, Postdoc of the graduate school, spoke to netzpolitik.org about Predictive Policing in Germany. In 2013, for the first time in Germany the Munich police relied on computer-aided prediction of domestic burglaries. In the interview Simon Egbert talks about this technology. The article " Wie die bayerische Polizei das Predictive Policing nach Deutschland brachte " can be found here.

Workshop on "Scripts and performative Dimensions of Innovation" with Dr. Judith Igelsböck

© Judith Igelsböck

On January 7, 2020, the Graduate School "Innovation Society Today" was delighted to host an afternoon workshop with Dr. Judith Igelsböck, one of its current visiting fellows. The aim of the workshop was to explore the potential of the concept of innovation scripts and to focus on performative dimensions of innovation. After an introduction to the concept by Judith Igelsböck, the participants discussed the relationship between the concept and empirical research drawing on different empirical examples. In the second part of the workshop the participants reflected on the performative dimensions of innovation in their own empirical cases and applied the concept of scripts to selected aspects of their research. The results of this application were presented using a variety of visual methods, which enabled a lively and fruitful discussion. The application of different aspects of the script concept to the heterogeneous projects and research questions of the participants enabled an inspiring reflection on their own projects, their relation to the innovation society and the role of innovation scripts for the concept of the innovation society. Among others, questions about the empirical significance of scripts in the field, the emergence and design of innovation scripts and the possibility of social science criticism on existing scripts were addressed.

Workshop on Grounded Theory with Sebastian Dahm

On December the 5th 2019, Sebastian Dahm, PhD candidate at the research training group “Innovation Society today“ conducted a workshop on qualitative methodology at Technical University Berlin.

The focus of the workshop was a hands-on introduction to the grounded theory methodology with ATLAS.ti, directed at PhD students, as well as advanced undergraduate students. The goal was not only to discuss the methodological fundamentals of Grounded Theory, but also their practical translation into the CAQDAS environment of ATLAS.ti.

In the first part of the workshop, participants discussed the first chapter of Anslem Strauss’ “Qualitative analysis for social scientists”, one of the basic introductions into grounded theory methodology.

Furthermore, the group conducted data sessions with materials from participants’ projects in order to clarify the general approach of grounded theory, as well as providing an instruction for the first steps of using ATLAS.ti as an instrument for qualitative research.

New Publication: Tim Seitz‘ book on Design Thinking is now available in English

© Palgrave

Tim Seitz (2020): Design Thinking and the New Spirit of Capitalism. Palgrave Pivot, Cham.

An ethnographic study on Design Thinking, this book offers profound insights into the popular innovation method, centrally exploring how design thinking’s practice relates to the vast promises surrounding it. Through a close study of a Berlin-based innovation agency, Tim Seitz finds both mun­dane knowledge practices and promises of trans­formation. He unpacks the relationships between these discourses and practices and undertakes an exploratory movement that leads him from practice theory to pragmatism. In the course of this movement, Seitz makes design thinking understandable as a phenomenon of what Boltanski and Chiapello described as the “new spirit of capitalism” — that is, an ideological structure that incorporates criticism and therefore strengthens capitalism.

See on publisher’s website or Springerlink.

15th IRS International Lecture with Chris Gibson (University of Wollongong, Australia) in cooperation with the Graduate School

The 15th IRS International Lecture on Society and Space with Chris Gibson (University of Wollongong, Australia) on "Experiments at the edge: ecological crisis, resource security, and core-periphery dynamics in global production networks" will take place on November 20, 2019 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. and will be hosted by the IRS in cooperation with the SFB "Re-Figuration of Spaces" and the Graduate School “Innovation Society Today”.

Further information and registration link can be found here.

The Graduate School welcomes Visiting Fellow Mahendra Shahare

© Mahendra Shahare

We are happy to welcome Mahendra Shahare as a visiting fellow. Mahendra is an STS scholar and PhD candidate in the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences at the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi. He holds a Master’s degree by research in Product Design (Indian Institute of Science Bangalore), and another Master's in Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (University of Twente). Employing the framework of sociology of expectations, Mahendra’s doctoral dissertation explores the emergence of a new research field (synthetic biology). In his thesis he interlinks the future-oriented discourse on scientific and technological change through the tropes of expectations, resistance, and legitimation. During his visiting fellowship at our graduate school, Mahendra intends to examine how the do it yourself bio movement expands innovation fields and corresponding social processes that engender reflexivity.

Mahendra will be at the graduate school until the end of January.

The Graduate School welcomes Visiting Fellow Dr. Judith Igelsböck

© Anna Montemayor

We are happy to welcome Judith Igelsböck as a Visiting Fellow. Judith studied sociology and science and technology studies at the University of Vienna. In 2016, she joined the Post/Doc Lab Reorganizing Industries of the MCTS as a postdoctoral researcher. Currently, she is conducting research there on shifting, dissolving and reinforced industrial borders together with colleagues from the Institut Mines-Télécom (IMT), France. Since October 2018, she is also the PI of the Project ‘Upper Austrian Innovation Scripts’ – an inquiry and artistic intervention into the organization of innovation activities – at the Linz Institute of Technology (LIT) of the Johannes Kepler University Linz (JKU). Judith has worked in various social scientific research areas, including human computer and human robot interaction, work studies, science and technology studies, and innovation and organisation studies. Her main current research interest is the fusion of theatrical play and innovation research.

Judith will be at the graduate school until the end of January.

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Contact Information:

Dominika Hadrysiewicz
Academic Coordinator

DFG-Research Training Group
"Innovation Society Today"
Institute of Sociology
FH 9-1
Technische Universität Berlin
Fraunhoferstr. 33-36
10587 Berlin

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314-27304
Fax.: +49 (0)30 314-22654

Prof. Dr. Arnold Windeler

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314-79824
Sekr.: +49 (0)30 314-73473

Prof. Dr. Ingo Schulz-Schaeffer
Deputy Speaker

Tel.: +49 (0)30 314-22396
Sekr.: +49 (0)30 314-78547

Silke Kirchhof

Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 314 – 71459
Fax: +49 (0)30 / 314 – 23148