Dr. Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg

University of Potsdam

Curriculum Vitae

Dr. Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg studied sociology, political science, and economics at the University of Marburg, the University of Dresden, the University of Manchester, and the Humboldt University Berlin. After receiving his degree to work as a social scientist in 2004, he was a research associate in the Department for General Sociology at the Institute for Social Sciences at the HU Berlin, an editor for the Berlin Journal of Sociology, and a research associate at the Department of Sociology at the Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg. Since 2009, Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg has work as an academic researcher at the University of Potsdam. In addition, he was an associate member of the Berlin Graduate School of Social Sciences at the HU Berlin as well as stipend-recipient and coordinator of DFG research training group “Markets and Social Spaces in Europe” at the Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg. He also received his doctoral degree there in 2012 with a piece on “The Role of Consultancy in the Changing Field of Management”. His dissertation was awarded a doctoral prize by the Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg in 2013.      

The focal points of his research include economic sociology, the sociology of knowledge, discourse and field analysis, and social theory.

Dr. Christian Schmidt-Wellenburg was Fellow at the Käte Hamburger Center for Advanced Study “Law as Culture” from April to September 2019.

Research Project                                                                           

„Polit-ökonomische Expertise in der Krise: Zum Verhältnis von Recht und Wirtschaft in europäischen Expertengruppen“

Using European expert groups as concrete empirical objects, the proposed research project is dedicated to exploring how the relationship of law and economics – which are disciplines in the academic field, areas of governmental expertise in the political-bureaucratical field, and practical professions in the legal and economic fields – have developed over the course of European integration. Expert groups are of interest for two reasons: First, expert groups unite and evaluate the existing and legitimately recognized points of view on a topic at a certain point in time; outline the central problems, definitions of crisis, and approaches to solutions; and seek to assess justice systems considered legitimate to make a judgement. Second, in the course of appointing expert commissions, the varying degrees of value of different types of experts – determined through academic degrees and disciplinary affiliations as well as the appointees’ professional careers – become visible. And even more: The value is actively established by appointment to a European institution’s expert commission.

In the course of the subprime crisis, then the economic and sovereign debt crises, which began in 2008, and finally the European crisis, two European expert groups, the De-Larosière Group (2008) and the Liikanen Group (2012), were appointed. On the one hand, these can be synchronously compared with eleven national and transnational expert groups created during the crises; on the other, they can only be diachronically compared with European expert groups established over the last five decades on politico-economic topics. Thus, in a first step, interpretive methods are used to analyze the groups’ reports, individual statements as discursive events, and experts’ résumés as field positionings. In a second step, discursive and field structures can be reconstructed with the help of geometric data analysis, which allows the similarities and differences between experts and between expert groups to be visualized.       

The goal of this research project is to pursue two questions central to the relationship of law and economics in the European context: There is first the question of what significance economic expertise has in comparison to legal expertise, whereby it must be examined whether, since the 1980s, it has really been possible to speak of an economization of European institutions that is replacing a first phase of juridification. The second question concerns whether the importance of market-based neoliberal regulatory techniques, which are based on the systemic self- and contextual control of populations, has increased, particularly in the European context, compared to normative-disciplinary regulatory techniques aimed at policing individuals.  

Publications (selected)


  • “Die Regierung des Unternehmens. Managementberatung im neoliberalen Kapitalismus”. Konstanz: UVK. 2013.
  • “Internationalisierung der Betriebswirtschaftslehre an Universitäten und Fachhochschulen in Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz” (with Johann Engelhard and Dirk Steinhausen) Bamberger Betriebswirtschaftliche Beiträge, Nr. 145/2007.
  • “Evolution und sozialer Wandel. Neodarwinistische Mechanismen bei W. G. Runciman und N. Luhmann”. Opladen: Barbara Budrich Verlag. 2005.

Editorial Work

  • “Relationale Soziologie: Einheit und Vielfalt eines Forschungsprogramms”, Special Issue Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Vol. 27, Issue 3/4, 2018 (edited with Daniel Witte and Andreas Schmitz).
  • “Economists, Politics, and Society. New insights from mapping economic practices using field-analysis”, Special Issue Historical Social Research, Vol. 43, Issue 3, 2018 (edited with Frédéric Lebaron).
  • “Politische Soziologie transnationaler Felder”, Special Issue Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Vol. 24, Issue 2, 2014 (guest edited with Stefan Bernhard).
  • “Feldanalyse als Forschungsprogramm 1: Der programmatische Kern”. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2012, (edited with Stefan Bernhard).
  • “Feldanalyse als Forschungsprogramm 2: Gegenstandsbezogene Theoriebildung”. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2012, (edited with Stefan Bernhard).

Essays and Book Chapters

  • “Europa und seine Krise als umkämpfte Objekte volkswirtschaftlicher Deutungen im Feld deutschsprachiger Volkswirt*innen”.  In: Culture, Practice and Europeanisation, Vol. 3, Issue 2, 2018, p. 30-55. 
  • “Zur Einheit und Relationalität soziologischer Relationsbegriffe” (with Daniel Witte and Andreas Schmitz). In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie, Vol. 27, Issue 3/4, 2018, p. 347-376.
  • “There is no such thing as ‘the economy’. Economic phenomena analysed from a field-theoretical perspective” (with Frédéric Lebaron). In: Historical Social Research, Vol. 43, Issue 3, 2018, p. 7-38.
  • “Struggling over Crisis. Discoursive Positionings and Academic Positions in the Field of German-Speaking Economists”. In: Historical Social Research, Vol. 43, Issue 3, 2018, p. 147-188.
  • “Europeanization, Stateness, and Professions: What role do economic expertise and economic experts play in European political integration? ” In: European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, Vol. 4, Issue 4, 2017, p. 1-27.
  • “Der Aufstieg der Beratung zur transnationalen Regierungsform im Feld des Managements”. In: Berliner Journal für Soziologie Vol. 24, Issue 2, 2014, p. 227-255.
  • “EU Citizenship”. In: M. Bach./B. Bach-Hönig (eds.), Europasoziologie. Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium. Baden-Baden: Nomos. (with Jürgen Mackert), 2018.
  • “Feldtheoretische Perspektiven” [Field theoretical perspectives]. In: M. Bach/B. Bach-Hönig (eds.), Europasoziologie. Handbuch für Wissenschaft und Studium. Baden-Baden: Nomos. (with Stefan Bernhard), 2018.