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Prof. Dr. Matthias Gross

Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena
Institute fo Sociology
18k Bachstraße
Jena 07743
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23042014 Profilbild

Research Profile

Alternative Energy Systems, Ecological Restoration and Brownfield Development, Ignorance and Risk, Real World Experiments, Sociology of Engineering and Innovation, Technology Development in the Context of its Application



  • American Sociological Association (ASA)
  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (German Sociological Association, DGS)
  • European Association for the Study of Science and Technology (EASST)
  • European Sociological Association (ESA)
  • Georg Simmel Gesellschaft (GSG)
  • International Network for Engineering Studies (INES)
  • International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Society for Ecological Restoration International (SER)


Curriculum Vitæ

Since fall term 2013
Full professor of Environmental Sociology at FSU Jena, joint appointment with Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research - UFZ, Leipzig, Germany, also head of the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at UFZ.

04/2005 - 09/2013
Senior Researcher in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at UFZ Leipzig (granted tenure in 2009), since June 2008 deputy head of the department

04/2012 - 09/2012
Interim professor of Economic and Environmental Sociology at Martin Luther University of Halle

Habilitation in Sociology at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg ("Umhabilitierung" from Bielefeld University)

04/2002 - 03/2005
Co-Director of the "Real World Experiments Project," Institute for Science and Technology Studies, Bielefeld University

08 - 12/2003
Guest Researcher and Lecturer, Department of Sociology and the Environmental Studies Program, Loyola University Chicago, USA

07/2001 - 03/2002
Post Doctoral Fellow (German Research Foundation, DFG), Institute for Science and Technology Studies, Bielefeld University

02 - 07/2000
DAAD Doctoral Fellow, Department of Rural Sociology, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA

Dr. rer. soc. (~ Ph.D.) Sociology, Bielefeld University

04/1999 - 06/2001
Doctoral Fellow in the German Research Foundation's (DFG) Graduate School "Genese, Strukturen und Folgen von Wissenschaft und Technik," Institute for Science and Technology Studies, Bielefeld University

01/1998 - 03/1999
Scientific Assistant at the Department of Sociology, Bielefeld University

Diplom (~ M.A.), Sociology, Bielefeld University ("With Distinction")

08/1995 - 07/1996
Graduate Student. Department of Sociology, Humboldt State University, California, USA

04 - 09/1992
Volunteer work in environmental conservation and restoration projects, Involvement Volunteers Ass. Inc., Victoria, Australia

Selected Publications (since 2010)


Gross, Matthias & Rüdiger Mautz. 2014. Renewable Energies. London: Routledge (Key Ideas Series).

Groß, Matthias. 2014. Experimentelles Nichtwissen: Umweltinnovationen und die Grenzen sozial-ökologischer Resilienz. Bielefeld: Transcript.

Gross, Matthias. 2010. Ignorance and Surprise: Science, Society, and Ecological Design. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Chinese Translation forthcoming with Yilin Press Ltd., Nanjing.


Böschen, Stefan; Matthias Gross & Wolfgang Krohn (eds.) 2017. Experimentelle Gesellschaft. Das Experiment als wissensgesellschaftliches Dispositiv. Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. Baden-Baden.

Telesiene, Audrone & Matthias Gross. (eds.) 2017. Green European: Environmental Behaviour and Attitudes in Europe in a Historical and Cross-Cultural Comparative Perspective. London: Routledge.

Gross, Matthias & Linsey McGoey (eds.) 2015. Routledge International Handbook of Ignorance Studies. London: Routledge.

Gross, Matthias & Michael Stauffacher (eds.) 2014. Special Issue on "Transdisciplinary Environmental Science," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. Vol.39, No.4.

Groß, Matthias (ed.) 2011. Handbuch Umweltsoziologie. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.

Gross, Matthias & Harald Heinrichs (eds.) 2010. Environmental Sociology: European Perspectives and Interdisciplinary Challenges. Dordrecht: Springer.

2005 - Indefinite: Editor of Nature + Culture (Publisher: Berghahn, New York).

Journal Articles

Gross, Matthias. 2016. "Risk as zombie category: Ulrich Beck's unfinished project of the 'non-knowledge' society. In: Security Dialogue 47 (5), S. 386-402. DOI: 10.1177/0967010616645020.

Gross, Matthias. 2016. "Give me an Experiment and I will raise a Laboratory," Science, Technology & Human Values 41, DOI: 10.1177/0162243915617005. 

Gross, Matthias. 2016. "On the Invisibility of Epochal Breaks and the Virtues of Useless Science" (Review Essay), Public Understanding of Science 24, DOI: 10.1177/0963662515600555.

Gross, Matthias. 2015. "Experiments beyond the Laboratory." Chemistry World 12 (11): 39. 

Bleicher, Alena and Matthias Gross. 2015. "User Motivation, Energy Prosumers and Regional Diversity: Sociological Notes on using Shallow Geothermal Energy," Geothermal Energy 3 (1): 1-12, [art 12] (open access).

Gross, Matthias. 2015. "Self-Knowledge, Gender Roles, and the Making of the Secret Gospels: A Chapter in the Sociology of Nonknowledge," Journal of Historical Sociology 28 (2): 195-212. 

Gross, Matthias. 2015. "Journeying to the Heat of the Earth: From Jules Verne to Present-Day Geothermal Adventures," Engineering Studies 7 (1): 28-46.

Gross, Matthias. 2015. "Natural Waste: Canine Companions and the Lure of Inattentively Pooping in Public, "Environmental Sociology 1 (1): 38-47.

Gross, Matthias & Michael Stauffacher. 2014. "Transdisciplinary Environmental Science: Problem-oriented Projects and Strategic Research Programs," Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 35 (4): 299-306.

Gross, Matthias. 2014. "Self-Knowledge, Gender Roles, and the Making of the Secret Gospels: A Chapter in the Sociology of Nonknowledge," Journal of Historical Sociology 27, forthcoming.

Gross, Matthias. 2013. "Old Science Fiction, New Inspiration: Communicating Unknowns in the Utilization of Geothermal Energy," Science Communication 35 (6): 810-818.

Gross, Matthias and Alena Bleicher. 2013. "'It's Always Dark in Front of the Pickaxe': Organizing Ignorance in the Long Term Remediation of Contaminated Land," Time & Society 22 (3): 316-334.

Schädler, Sebastian; Finkel, Michael; Bleicher, Alena; Morio, Max & Matthias Gross. 2013. "Spatially Explicit Computation of Sustainability Indicator Values for the Automated Assessment of Land-use Options," Landscape and Urban Planning 111: 34-45.

Gross, Matthias. 2012. "'Objective Culture' and the Development of Nonknowledge: Georg Simmel and the Reverse Side of Knowing," Cultural Sociology 6 (4): 422-437.

Gross, Matthias. 2012. "Rough Roads to Sustainability" (Review Essay), Science as Culture 21 (3): 421-428.

Gross, Matthias. 2011. "Democratizing Scientific Uncertainty" (Review Essay), Public Understanding of Science 20 (6): 863-864.

Gross, Matthias. 2010. "Ignorance, Research and Decisions about Abandoned Opencast Coal Mines," Science & Public Policy 37 (2): 125-134.

Gross, Matthias. 2010. "The Public Proceduralization of Contingency: Bruno Latour and the Formation of Collective Experiments," Social Epistemology 24 (1): 63-74.

Bleicher, Alena and Matthias Gross. 2010. "Sustainability Assessment and the Revitalization of Contaminated Sites: Operationalizing Sustainable Development for Local Problems," The International Journal of Sustainable Development & World Ecology 17 (1): 57-66.