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The Project

The project is funded by the German Association for Research (DFG) within the Emmy-Noether-programme. The overall time of 6 years is divided in 2 phases: the first phase (2 years) gives room for a pre-study conducted in a ‘foreign’ academic environment. Here, Dr Thomas Scheffer had chosen the University of Lancaster due to their excellent Sociology Department and Centre for Science Studies. These involvements widened the project’s scope: from micro-sociology (e.g. Conversation Analysis) to concepts employed by Science Studies (e.g. Laboratory Studies and Actor-Network Theory).

The second phase started in May 2003 with the employment of Alex Kozin , Livia Holden and Kati Hannken-Illjes at the Freie Universität Berlin . They have different backgrounds (from Communication Studies, Phenomenology, Ethnology) but all dealt in detail with language use in institutional settings. The young researchers’ group was situated within the Collaborative Research Center “Performative Cultures” at the FU Berlin. Here, the group is confronted with advanced concepts of performativity developed (between scholars from Theatre Studies, social history, Philosophy or Literature Studies) for different empirical fields.

The first round of fieldwork began in May 2003 in the US , Italy , and Germany . The comparative framework was organised along two adversarial and two inquisitorial legal traditions. Each group member conducts his/her case study independently, only bound to the same angle within criminal proceedings (the defence), to some shared problematics (linking pre-trial and trial) and to exchange insights with the other members. The prospect of ‘our collaboration’: next to ethnographies of the diverse legal proceedings, we aim for informed concepts for historiographic discourse analysis and for opening examples of comparative studiens on law-in-action.

The project will end in summer 2009. We currently started a complimentary project dealing with political inquiries in the EU, Germany, and the UK and the invocation of national and trans-national political publics.


New activities

Special Issue on "Law and Biography" in BIOS

Call for Abstracts/French-German Conference on “Enfermement/Freiheitsentzug

Latest Texts/Books

My ethnography on the English Crown Court procedure by BRILL

Our comparative ethnography of criminal defence work in different procedural regimes by PALGRAVE

Teaching in SS 2011

Scheffer: „Einführung in die Institutionelle Ethnographie“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Was tun Verfahren? Eine sozialwissenschaftliche Debatte“ Kurs in Moodle

Scheffer: „Arbeitskreis politische Ethnographie“ Termine in Moodle

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