Economic sociology from a southern perspective

Core characteristic of my sociological work is the southern perspective. The global South is not defined by latitude but by the established rules of political governance and economic exchange on this planet. These rules are result of the Atlantic project (Vijay Prashad). My specific perspective is that of Southern Africa. By the way: on the African continent live more people than in Europe and North America taken together.

The crucial point of this percpective is that many allegedly universal concept look differently when analysed from the South. For instance, globalisation is neither addressing all parts of the world the same way, nor is it constituting a global access for everyone. Another example is the concept of development, which represents a discursive accounting strategy that includes some aspects (e.g. earnings of northatlantic companies) and negates others (e.g. destruction of livelihoods as a consequence of these earning strategies).

As a result of this perpective I study the social construction of two terms, which are of global importance but have a different meaning in South Africa, the United States and Germany: ownership and contract.

To be more precise, I am principal investigator of the project "Eigentum und Vertrag in der Besicherung finanzialisierter Alltagsökonomie" (The role of ownership and contract in collateralising the financialised everyday economy), funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. The project is hosted at the Department of Sociology, University of Giessen, and will run until March 2020.

I study the retroactive effects of accumulated contractual obligations, aka 'indebtedness', of citizens in their everyday economic activity on the common understanding of 'ownership' and 'contracts'. These two concepts account for the notion of security but their social construction is barely studied. The three cases under surveillance are Germany, the United States and South Africa.

System matters

The modern economy is legally embedded and interconnects actors in a complex web of monetary communication channels. However, these relationships are often theorised as 'systems', a concept with a variety of meanings attached to it. My research project analyses how monetary communication processes that are stretched over time and space are established in the first place. In other words, it is a kind of systems empiricism, studying how groups establish and safeguard relationships that can be conceptualised as 'systems' retrospectively.


05-06/2017 Habilitation (Doctor rerum socialum habilitatus) and Privatdozent

  • Thesis Credit and Debt in an Unequal Society. Establishing a Consumer Credit Market in South Africa
  • Lecture The German debate on 'Lügenpresse' (lying press) as a problem of democratic deliberation

12/2006 PhD (Doctor rerum socialum)

  • Thesis Die kollektive Erinnerung von Staatsverbrechen: eine qualitative Diskursanalyse über die parlamentarische Bewertung der SED-Diktatur

06/1998 Magister Artium (Political Science, Medieval History and Sociology)

  • Thesis Der politische Umgang mit der Globalsteuerung in der BRD 1973-76

Work experience

  • since 03/2014 Scientific assistant and substitute professorship (04-09/2016), Department of Sociology, University of Gießen
  • 03/2012 - 02/2014 Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Anthropology and Archaeology, University of Pretoria
  • 04/2008 - 02/2012 Scientific assistant and substitute professorship (04-09/2011), Department of Sociology, University of Gießen
  • 10/1998 - 03/2008 Scientific assistant of a MP, Deutscher Bundestag (German Parliament)

Some recent publications

  • Schraten, Jürgen 2017: Alternative Theoretisierungen von Marktwirtschaften, in Stephan Lessenich (ed.), Geschlossene Gesellschaften, Verhandlungen des 38. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Bamberg 2016.
  • Schraten, Jürgen 2017: Die Klammerung der Energiewende in Webportalen. In Sebastian Giacovelli (ed.), Die Energiewende aus wirtschaftssoziologischer Sicht, Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, pp. 181-202.
  • Schraten, Jürgen 2016: Credit as a Source of Debts and Wealth. Przeglad Socjologiczny 65(3): 81-110.
  • Schraten, Jürgen 2015: Habits of Austerity, Financialization and New Ways of Dealing with Money, in Keith Hart (ed.), Economy For and Against Democracy, New York, NY: Berghahn, pp. 19-37.
  • Heuer, Jan-Ocko and Jürgen Schraten 2015: Finanzialisierung des Alltags als Herausforderung für den Sozialstaat. In Zeitschrift für Sozialreform 61(3): 229-238.


  • Schraten, Jürgen 2011: Zur Aktualität von Jan Assmann. Einleitung in sein Werk. Aus der Reihe: Aktuelle und Klassische KulturwissenschaftlerInnen, herausgegeben von Stephan Moebius. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag.
  • Schraten, Jürgen 2007: Die kollektive Erinnerung von Staatsverbrechen. Eine qualitative Diskursanalyse über die parlamentarische Bewertung der SED-Diktatur. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlag.

Memberships and support

  • Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS, German Sociological Association)
  • Associate of the Human Economy Programme, University of Pretoria
  • Sektion Wirtschaftsoziologie der DGS (Economic Scoiologists of the DGS)
  • Sektion Politische Soziologie der DGS (Political Sociologists of the DGS)
  • Gewerkschaft Erziehung und Wissenschaft (GEW, trade union)
  • Fritz-Bauer-Institute Frankfurt (Study- and Documentation Centre on the History and Impact of the Holocaust)
  • Pro Asyl
  • Amnesty International

Making contact: Department of Sociology, University of Giessen

Rome wasn't burnt in a day.