Silke Steets is a sociologist and Heisenberg Fellow at the Department of Cultural Sciences at Leipzig University. With her current research project »The Structure of Cognitive Minorities. Evangelicals in Leipzig and Unitarians in Dallas« she is also associated with the Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies »Multiple Secularities. Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities« at Leipzig University. Her research interests include urban sociology, sociology of space and architecture, sociology of religion, qualitative research methods, the history of sociology as well as sociological theory (especially sociology of knowledge).

In 2007, Silke completed her PhD with Martina Löw at TU Darmstadt. In her thesis she investigated the spatial practices of artists, independent book publishers, radio activists, designers, architects as well as people operating »off-spaces« and music clubs in the city of Leipzig. The study was published in 2008 by Campus-Verlag under the title »Wir sind die Stadt!«. In her Habilitation thesis »Der sinnhafte Aufbau der gebauten Welt«, completed in 2013 and published by Suhrkamp-Verlag in 2015, Silke developed a knowledge-sociological approach to architecture extending Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann’s by now classic work »The Social Construction of Reality« (1966) to the built world. After a six-month stay as a Visiting Scholar at Boston University in 2012 and the completion of her Habilitation in 2013, Silke hold a two-year position as a guest professor for urban sociology and the sociology of space at TU Darmstadt. In 2016/17, she coordinated the application of the collaborative research center SFB 1265 Re-Figuration of Spaces at TU Berlin.

Silke is a member of the German Sociological Association (DGS), the International Society for the Sociology of Religion (ISSR), the DGS-sections on Cultural Sociology, the Sociology of Knowledge, the Sociology of Religion, Urban and Regional Sociology (2011–2015 as co-spokesperson) and the Architectural Sociology Working Group (co-spokesperson since 2009). She has been appointed as a member of the IBA Heidelberg advisory board in May 2015.


PD Dr. Silke Steets
Leipzig University
Heisenberg Fellow and Associate Member at the
Humanities Centre for Advanced Studies 
"Multiple Secularities – Beyond the West, Beyond Modernities"
Nikolaistrasse 8–10, Room 4.16
04109 Leipzig

T: +49 (0) 341 / 97-37772
E: silke.steets(at)uni-leipzig.de

Sept. 29/30, 2017 I Free University Berlin
Discussant at the workshop »Chinese Urbanities – Relations between Space and Society«, Graduate School of East Asian Studies, FU Berlin

Sept. 22, 2017 I Southeast University Nanjing, China
Paper presentation »Sport Stadiums as Flagship Architectural Projects: Atmospheres, Collective Identity Formation and Symbolic Recognition« at the conference »Mega-events and Flagship Architecture«

Steets, Silke (2017): Pluralism in the Mind and the Structure of Cognitive Minorities. In: Society 54 (5), pp. 439–444.

Silke Steets (2017): Seductive Atmospheres, Conflicting Symbols: Religious Landmark Buildings in Diverse Societies. In: Eurostudia – Revue Transatlantique de Recherche sur l'Europe 12 (1), pp. 125–135 [Open Access Journal].

Silke Steets (2016): Taking Berger and Luckmann to the Realm of Materiality: Architecture as a Social Construction. In: Cultural Sociology 10 (1), pp. 93-108.

Monika Grubbauer & Silke Steets (eds) (2014): The Making of Architects: Knowledge Production and Legitimation in Education and Professional Practice. Special Issue: Architectural Theory Review 19 (1).