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 under the title »Wir sind die Stadt!« (Campus, 2008). In her Habilitation thesis »Der sinnhafte Aufbau der gebauten Welt« (Suhrkamp, 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, which started to work in January 2018.

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. Since 2018, she is also part of the editorial board of Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, an open access online journal for architecture and planning theory.


PD Dr. Silke Steets
Leipzig University
Nikolaistrasse 8–10, Room 4.16
Internal Mailbox: 16 31 99
04109 Leipzig

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

June 28, 2018 I University of Hamburg, Germany
Keynote presentation »And then I put on a different hat: On the relationship between sociology and theology in the work of Peter L. Berger« at the academic memorial for Peter L. Berger, Academy of World Religions, University of Hamburg

May 3-5, 2018 I University of Konstanz, Germany
Paper presentation »Donald Trump, Sean Spicer and the Problem of Reality« at the 4th Conference of the International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Sociology on »Knowledge, Nescience and the (New) Media«

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.