Prof. Thomas Scheffer at the CRC 1171 and the Research Area Political and Legal Anthropology at the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Thomas Scheffer during his Lecture (image: Jonas Bens)

Thomas Scheffer during his Lecture (image: Jonas Bens)

At invitation of Prof. Olaf Zenker, head of the project B04 at the Collaborative Research Centre (CRC) “Affective Societies” and the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology’s Research Area Political and Legal Anthropology, Thomas Scheffer, Professor for Sociology at Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a.M., held a guest lecture and a workshop at Freie Universität Berlin on 23/24 November 2016. 

23 November 2016: Public Lecture

On Wednesday evening, Thomas Scheffer held a public lecture in the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology’s Political and Legal Anthropology Seminar Series entitled “States-at-Work: The Trans-Sequential Analysis of Procedural Work“. He presented theoretical and methodological insights from his ethnographic research projects on the German asylum system, English criminal court proceedings, and internal procedures in the German Bundestag. In his works Scheffer proposes a methodological and analytical program to investigate state procedures which he has termed “trans-sequential analysis”. Within this approach he highlights the role of analysing events in their procedural context and suggests to follow procedural “object careers”. We document his presentation as an audio document:

Lecture by Thomas Scheffer: States-at-Work: The Trans-Sequential Analysis of Procedural Work (.mp3)

24 November 2016: Reading Seminar and Data Session

The following day, PhD students and Postdocs from the Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology’s Research Area Political and Legal Anthropology and the CRC “Affective Societies”, as well as researchers from the Law and Society Institute (LSI) at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, participated in a reading seminar and a data session with Thomas Scheffer. In the morning, a selection of Thomas Scheffer’s journal articles concerned with his methodological and analytical approach of the “trans-sequential analysis” provided a thought-provoking basis for the vivid discussion. In the afternoon, several participants brought their own ethnographic material to the fore and discussed it in light of Thomas Scheffer’s suggested analytical approach.

Thomas Scheffer is Full Professor for “Sociology with an emphasis on Interpretative Social Research” at Goethe-Universtität Frankfurt a.M. He specializes is legal sociology and qualitative research methodologies. His major monographs are Asylgewährung: Eine ethnographische Analyse des deutschen Asylverfahrens (2001, Lucius & Lucius), Adversarial Case-Making: An Ethnography of the English Crown Court (2010, Brill), and the collaborative and comparative work Criminal Defense and Procedure: Comparative Ethnographies in the United Kingdom, Germany, and the United States (2010, Palgrave). Thomas Scheffer is board member of the Section Qualitative Methods and the Section Legal Sociology with the German Sociological Association (DGS).