Hans-Georg Soeffner

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Hans-Georg Soeffner (born November 16, 1939 in Essen ) is a German sociologist and emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Konstanz . He is a member of the board and a fellow at KWI Essen and a senior fellow in the Cluster of Excellence at the Westphalian Wilhelms University in Münster . He also chairs the Science and Contemporary History Advisory Board of the Goethe Institute . From 2007 to 2011 he was chairman of the German Society for Sociology .


He studied German language , literature , philosophy , art history , communication studies and sociology at the Eberhardt-Karls University Tübingen , the University of Cologne and the Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-University of Bonn , received his doctorate in 1971. Dr. phil. in Bonn and completed his habilitation in 1976 at the University of Duisburg-Essen for sociology.

This was followed by professorships at the University of Duisburg-Essen in Essen , the FernUniversität in Hagen , the University of Potsdam and the University of Konstanz . He is currently a Senior Fellow and a member of the board of the Institute for Cultural Studies in Essen (KWI) and a Senior Fellow in the Forum for International Science at the Rheinische Friedrichs-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn. From 2002 to 2008, Soeffner was Chairman of the Science and Current Affairs Advisory Board at the Goethe Institute . He has been a reviewer for the German Research Foundation (DFG) since 1986 , including twelve years as an elected expert reviewer in the humanities and social sciences: sociology / empirical social research . From 2007 to 2011 he was chairman of the German Society for Sociology (DGS).

International commitment

Soeffner has held visiting professorships in the USA ( University of California , San Francisco; University of California , Berkeley, Boston University ), in Chile (Santiago de Chile), at the Universities of Zurich and Lucerne . He is currently visiting professor at the University of Vienna (“ Paul Lazarsfeld Professorship”). Soeffner is also a member of the Advisory Board of the DAAD Center for German Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Haifa Center for German and European Studies . Cooperations exist with the Academy for Social Sciences, Beijing and Waseda University in Tokyo .

Scientific achievements

Hans-Georg Soeffner is considered to be the founder of the “ Hermeneutic Sociology of Knowledge ” / “Hermeneutics of Knowledge Sociology”. He is also considered the "founder of visual sociology in Germany". Together with Richard Grathoff and Ilja Srubar, he publishes the Alfred Schütz edition.


  • The planned myth. Investigations into the structure and conditions of effect of utopia . Hamburg 1974, ISBN 3-87118-109-9 .
  • Interpretation of everyday life. The everyday of the interpretation. On the sociological conception of a sociological hermeneutics . Frankfurt am Main 1989, ISBN 3-518-28385-5 .
  • The order of the rituals. The interpretation of everyday life II . Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-518-28593-9 .
  • Time images. Try about happiness, lifestyle, violence and guilt . Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 3-593-37710-1 .
  • Symbolic formation. A sociology of symbol and ritual . Weilerswist 2010, ISBN 978-3-938808-92-4 .
  • with Thea D. Boldt (Ed.): Fragile Pluralism . Wiesbaden 2014, ISBN 3-658-03761-X .


  • Ronald Kurt: We Can Work It Out. Hans-Georg Soeffner and the Beatles. In: Sociology , vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 19–26.
  • Karl-Siegbert Rehberg : Sense of Action and Renunciation of Utopia. Hans-Georg Soeffner on his 70th birthday. In: Sociology , vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 9-18.
  • Ronald Kurt, Hans-Georg Soeffner: Culture as support and attitude. In: Stephan Moebius, Dirk Quadflieg (Ed.) Culture. Present theories. VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften, Wiesbaden 2006, pp. 185–198.
  • Ronald Hitzler : Hermeneutics as a way of life. A suggestion by Hans-Georg Soeffner. Beltz Juventa, Weinheim, Basel 2015.
  • Dariuš Zifonun: Hans-Georg Soeffner , Cologne: Herbert van Halem Verlag 2020 (Classics of the Sociology of Knowledge; 18), ISBN 978-3-7445-1963-2 .

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Profile of Hans-Georg Soeffner on the KWI website . Retrieved June 17, 2011.
  2. taz Futurzwei No. 7/2018, p. 63.

Web links