DR Jens Zinn

DR Jens Zinn


  • Interdisciplinary research strategies
  • Life Course and Biography
  • Long term social change (institutional, cultural, semantic)
  • Research Methods (methods combination in particular quali/quanti, qualitative longitudinal)
  • Risk and Uncertainty (communication, perception, discourse, regulation, governance)
  • Risk-taking
  • Theory and conceptual research



  • Jens Zinn studied Sociology, Social Psychology and Political Science at the University of Saarland and the University of Bielefeld (Germany). He worked at the Collaborative Research Center Status Passages and Risks in the Life Course in Bremen (1995-99), the Collaborative Research Centre Reflexive Modernization in Munich (1999-02) and in the ESRC priority network Social Contexts and Responses to Risk at the University of Kent (2003-08). He joined the School as Associate Professor in Sociology in January 2009. Jens has founded a number of international research networks on the Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (SoRU) within the European Sociological Association (2005) and the International Sociological Association (2006). In 2015 he was awarded the prestigious Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
    His research activities include a number of studies on people's management of risk and uncertainty during the course of their life (e.g. youth transitions into the labor market; certainty constructions in reflexive modernity; British veterans management of risk and uncertainty).
    He led a collaborative research initiative 'Risk, Social Inclusion and the Life Course - A Social Policy Perspective' at the University of Melbourne and a research project 'Decision Taking in Times of Uncertainty. Towards an efficient strategy to manage risk and uncertainty in climate change adaptation' funded by the Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research.
    Recently he has won an Individual Fellowship with the EU (H2020-MSCA-IF) to conduct a two year project "Understanding the discourse-semantic shift towards risk in the UK and Germany" at the ESRC centre Corpus Approaches to Social Science at Lancaster University.

    Please find more information about publications and citations on Jens' Google Scholar profile .

    Research interests   


Member of

  • The American Sociological Association. Member 2013 -
  • The Australian Sociological Association. Convenor of the Risk Societies thematic group (2009-2013) 2009 -
  • The European Sociological Association. 2005-2009 Founding member and Chair of the Research Network Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (RN22) 2003 -
  • International Sociological Association. President of the Thematic Group 04 (TG04), Sociology of Risk and Uncertainty (since 2006) 2000 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • - with Roksolana Suchoverska and Sara Bice; project partners: Telstra and Government of New South Wales/Office for Aging: Evaluation of Tech Savvy Seniors Program (May-July 2014).
    - A Social Science Perspective on Risk and Uncertainty – Developing an On-line Subject for Coursera. University of Melbourne (Jan-Dec 2014).
    - How Risk Became Pervasive - A case study on social change after World War Two. Research Grants Support Scheme, University of Melbourne (Jan-Dec 2014).
    - with John Fitzgerald, CI: Health and Wellbeing in Broadband-enabled Greenfield Communities. Carlton Connect Initiatives Fund (CCIF), University of Melbourne (Jan 2014-Jun 2015).
    - with Patricia Fitzsimons: Decision Taking in Times of Uncertainty. Towards an efficient strategy to manage risk and uncertainty in climate change adaptation. Victorian Centre for Climate Change Adaptation Research (May 2012-June 2014).
    - with Scott Brenton and Kate Macdonald et al.: Case Study E- Teaching. Learning and Teaching Initiatives, University of Melbourne (2011/2012).
    - An International Risk Data Base for Social Sciences, Scholarly Information Innovation Grant, University of Melbourne (Mar-Dec 2010).
    - Risk, Social Inclusion and the Life Course – A Social Policy Perspective, Seeding Grant, University of Melbourne (Jan 2010 - May 2011).
    - with J. Brinkmann (PI): Societal Risks and Risk Society in a Cross-disciplinary and Cross- stakeholder Dialogue Perspective. International workshop series, Research Council of Norway (ES432764), (Sep 2008—Jun 2010).
    - The Biographical Management of Risk and Uncertainty – British Veterans British Academy (SG-46091)(1 May 2007-31 August 2008).
    - with Heinz, W. R. (PI); Kelle, U.; Schaeper, H.; Witzel, A.: The Changing Face of Social Inequality and Gender Relations: Occupational Training, Careers and the Family in the Life Course, 2000-2001. Bremen (Germany), German Research Foundation (DFG).


Education and training

  • Dr. Phil, Universitaet Bremen 2000
  • DiplSoc, Universitaet Bielefeld 1994

Awards and honors

  • Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, 2015


Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am supervising PhD research in different areas with a particular focus on topics related to risk and uncertainty. Environmental and technological risks including risk governance, people's everyday management of risk,  risk taking, biography/life course risk and related issues such as trust, emotion, intuition, hope.
    The themes I am interested in are partly reflected in the supervisions I took on as principal supervisor such as:
    - Julia Cook: From the Everyday to the Long-Term Future: Young Adults' Plans, Hopes, and Future Imaginaries (completed 2016).
    - Jennifer Podesta: Shouldering the burden in 'risk society': welfare policy and children's experiences of individualization.
    - Roksolana Suchowerska: Corporate reputation risk management in Australia's mining and finance sectors -- an analysis of social inclusion opportunities and outcomes from participatory Corporate Social Responsibility programs (completed 2017).
    - Simon Lynch: Beyond call centres to community support centres: how public sector call centres bridge social networks to support social capital (completed 2016)
    - Chivoin Peou: Urban Youth in Contemporary Cambodia: Social Transformation and the Self? (completed 2014),