Prof. Dr. Dariuš Zifonun

October 2022

Prof. Dr. Dariuš Zifonun

Workshop on October 27th, 2022 / Online / German
Scrutinizing Court Room Interaction from a ‘Social World Perspective’: Promise and Pitfalls of an Analytical Approach to Legal Encounters 


The workshop opens a space for exploring the uses Anselm Strauss’ social world perspective has for the study of courtroom interaction. It builds on Dariuš Zifonun’s lecture “Discovering Social Worlds: Anselm Strauss and the Emergence of a Research Agenda” and brings in participants’ own uses of ‘social worlds’ and their experiences with court room studies. Short initial statements will focus on the properties of the social world of court rooms, research questions that emerge from an interactionist account of the legal system and methodological issues. Discussion will also highlight the limitations of the social world perspective and possibilities for adjustment that might enhance its analytical value.

Lecture on October 26th, 2022 / Online / German
Discovering Social Worlds: Anselm Strauss and the Emergence of a Research Agenda


The lecture examines the ways in which Anselm Strauss, his predecessors and successors make use of the of concept of social worlds. It turns to some of the eminent writing out of which ‘social worlds’ has emerged as a key concept in the ethnography of everyday life. Working from the pragmatist tradition, these authors highlight the fluid and indeterminate nature of social organization. From early on the rationale of ‘social worlds’ was to offer an analytical framework for conceptualizing social action, membership and the allocation of resources in “mass society”. Some strands of research regard social worlds as episodic arrangements that emerge from communication and naturalistically treat them as phenomena of the social scene. Other have pointed to history, social institutionalizations, boundary maintenance and common practice and treat social worlds as “constructs of the second degree”. The lecture argues for analytically scaling up social worlds and makes suggestions for a theoretical concept of social worlds (including distinguishing between different types of social worlds). It introduces a number of corollary concepts and aligns the social world perspective with practice theory. Social worlds are understood as building blocks of social structure, i.e., spheres of social activity that organize different degrees of membership, commitment and loyalty.

Dariuš Zifonun is a professor of sociology with the focus on the analysis of social structures and conflict sociology at Philipps-University Marburg. Previously, he was a professor of sociology at the Alice Salomon Hochschule Berlin, a research fellow at the KWI Essen and held guest professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the Hitotsubashi University Tokyo. His research focuses on everyday sociology, sociology of social worlds and migration and ethnicity research. In his mostly ethnographic research projects of recent years, Zifonun has devoted himself to interactions in court hearings, sleep laboratories and online settings.

During his stay, Zifonun will give a lecture on the general topic 'Sociology of Social Worlds' and develop interdisciplinary research perspectives in a workshop aimed at developing analytical perspectives and methodological approaches. Here, the interdisciplinary approach to the analysis of multilingual court hearings is being developed, which is to serve as the basis for a joint third-party funded project. The host Prof. Dr. Martina Schrader-Kniffki is conducting a linguistically interactive analysis of around 93 court cases that is focused on aspects of translation studies, research that has not previously existed for this specific area of ​​court interpreting. In addition to and expansion of the other DFG project of the host, which is in the final phase of the application, the aim will be to apply or develop methods that go beyond conversation analysis and to investigate multilingual court proceedings in migration settings (Germany) and contexts of minorized languages ​​(Mexico) and, if necessary, to examine them comparatively from the 'social world perspective'. The planned fellowship will involve interested M.A. students and doctoral students from both JGU/FTSK and the University of Marburg in the planned activities, so that networking at the level of young scientists is also planned. Furthermore, in a planned workshop, a small circle consisting of the fellow, the host and the respective doctoral students in this field will select examples from the corpus of video recordings of interpreted court hearings and discuss and comment on them together.

His most recent publications (in selection)

2020 Hans-Georg Soeffner. Klassiker der Wissenssoziologie, vol. 18. Köln: von Halem.

2020 „Die Interaktionsordnung strafrechtlicher Hauptverhandlungen: Strukturelemente ihres Vollzugs und die Bewältigung von Identitätsproblemen“ (with Carina Liebler). In: Soziale Systeme, 2017; yr. 22, vol. 1-2: 125–168.

2019 (Ed.) Methodologien und Methoden der Bildungsforschung. Quantitative und qualitative Verfahren und ihre Verbindungen (with Jule-Marie Lorenzen and Lisa-Marian Schmidt). Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.

2016 (Ed.) Ritual Change and Social Transformation in Migrant Societies (with Hans-Georg Soeffner). Frankfurt a.M.: Peter Lang.

2016 Versionen. Soziologie sozialer Welten. Weinheim: Beltz Juventa.


To be published

(i.E.) (Ed.) Handbuch Migrationssoziologie (with Antje Röder). Wiesbaden: Springer VS.