Main Topics:

    • Micro-sociological and cultural-sociological theories
    • Interculturality, migration, multilingualism
    • Migration and family (doing & displaying family; communicative construction of culture, ethnicity, nationality)
    • Discourses on Ukraine in Germany
    • Sociology of humor and satire (also in migration contexts); analysis of stage comedy and everyday life humor
    • Gender, sexuality, diversity (focus on “doing”)
    • Everyday life as a primary social reality (interactions, practices, lifeworld)
    • Methods: Qualitative, interpretative and reconstructive methods of empirical social research (esp. ethnography of communication, conversation analysis, hermeneutics of the sociology of knowledge, discourse analysis)

Theoretical Approach:

  • Microsociology, which analyses and explains interaction processes and everyday practices;
  • Cultural sociology, whereby I understand culture as a system of knowledge, interpretation, cognition, symbol or order and, according to Gehlen/Soeffner, interpret it as a specific approach and activity of humans related to themselves and at the same time as a product of this activity; culture as a style of cognition and object of cognition;
  • Sociology of knowledge according to Berger/Luckmann;
  • Communication sociology with a constructivist approach, which considers communicative constructions as (un)doing culture, gender, ethnicity, identity.

Methodologically, my work is anchored in the qualitative, interpretative and reconstructive methods of empirical social research. I consider the interview or survey (as the most common type of data) to be a suitable method for the exploration of a new field of research and for the investigation of the consciousness and subjective perspectives of respondents in order to reconstruct perceptions, attributions and everyday typifications. The fact that interview analyses can reach their limits and that a methodological extension in the form of ethnographic field research or mixed methods is required was already evident in my dissertation on German-Ukrainian business communication. The aim of the thesis was to uncover central communicative problems in the intercultural business environment and to describe and explain cultural communication and action patterns of German and Ukrainian actors. While the interviews only brought to light topics on the level of linguistic awareness, ethnographic research lasting several months in a German-Ukrainian working context revealed structural conditions and power relations, interests and cultural patterns. In this context, communication processes and culturalizations took place that had a significant impact on the success of the company.

In view of globalization, migratory movements, differentiation and increasing complexity, and under the premise that cultures should not be understood as homogeneous entities but as heterogeneous, complex and interactive structures in constant negotiation processes, woven into equally constructed and fluid socio-political contexts, an interactionist and constructivist approach in the form of the survey of ‘natural’ interactions and complex ethnographic research is indispensable. In ethnography, two aspects are particularly important to me: 1) fundamental reflexivity of the research or the researcher in the field and 2) the free application of the entire spectrum of methods of empirical social research in the collection of field-related data. Dealing with such complexity in the data corpus is certainly a challenge.

In my research I methodically combine interactional sociolinguistics and interpretative conversation analysis with methods of social science hermeneutics, ethnography, the “understanding” interview, and video and image analysis. The principles of grounded theory are always in the foreground.

List of third-party funded projects that have been acquired and implemented to date

(1) Ethnographic research in the purchasing office of a German corporation in Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of the dissertation project on German-Ukrainian business communication

August – November 2001

University of Konstanz

Committee for Research Questions (AFF)


(2 ) Pilot project ‘Migration and Humor. Inclusion and Exclusion Processes through Humor and Satire in Spätaussiedler Milieus” at the Kulturwissenschaftliches Institut Essen (KWI)

October 2010 – March 2011

University of Duisburg-Essen

Science Support Centre (SSC)


(3) Migration and Humor – Social Functions and Conversational Potentials of Humor and Satire in German Interethnic Relations

October 2012- May 2016

Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities Essen (KWI)

German Research Foundation (DFG, own position)