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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

Logo der Einrichtung
Logo der Einrichtung

Ole Pütz

Website Ole Pütz - Dez. I Uni Bielefeld

The Inner Workings of a Social Movement: Strategic Planning in Anti-Nuclear Groups

My project asks how activists plan tactics and how planing processes are influenced by activists' assumptions about their environment. There is evidence in the social movement literature that regular deliberations allow movements to adapt their strategies and be more influential as well. Yet regular deliberations have seldom been an object of study in social movement research. In order to address this gap, my project studies meetings of German anti-nuclear groups as a form of regular deliberation. I analyze audio data from meetings using sequential methods. Conversation analysis helps us to understand how planning is achieved turn by turn and the method of objective hermeneutics help us to to understand how meanings are shaped in discussion.
I inspect both talk about past protest activities (assessment of tactics) and talk about future protest activities (planning of tactics). I investigate under what conditions activists use strategic arguments and how arguments are embedded in a process that aims at consensus. I attempt to show the importance for expectations both for assessing past protest and for planning new tactics. In talking about past protest activities, activists can use low expectations as a fortifying strategy against defeats. In talking about future protest activities, activists use their expectations to adjust the scope of their plan. By investigating a complex campaign, I attempt to show that the indexical properties of language can be both a resource for activists and a problem as well. Overall, it is my aim to show how the face-to-face interactions of activists are shaped by the anti-nuclear movement and how interactions shape the movement at the same time.

Curriculum Vitae (abbreviated)

2015 Research Visitor at the Department of Sociology, University of Notre Dame

since 2011 PhD candidate, Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology.

2011-2012 Lecturer for qualitative Methods, Bielefeld University

2011 Diploma in Sociology with distinction, Bielefeld University, thesis: "Brüche der Routine in Bus und Bahn: Eine Ethnographie über die Interaktion zwischen Unbekannten".

2009 Studies abroad, Göteborg Universitetet, Göteborg (Sweden).


  • Grillen als soziale Praxis. Eine ethnomethodologische Rekonstruktion (with Christian Meier zu Verl). In: Szabo S, Köpper H, eds. BBQ - Grillen eine Wissenschaft für sich. Antworten der Forschung auf ein Massenphänomen. Marburg: Tectum, 2014, S. 163?176.

  • "From Non-places to Non-Events: The Airport Security Checkpoint". Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 41(2), April 2012, pp. 154-188. Available online.

  • "Das Verhalten von Fahrgästen bei Unfällen und Störungen". Deine Bahn (40), Januar 2012, S. 16-20. Available here[PDF]. See also: GRV-Nachrichten (93), Mai 2012. S. 27-30.

Conference-Talks and Workshops

  • Conflict Dynamics and Strategic Planning in Movement Groups. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Sociological Association, San Francisco, August 16-19, 2014.

  • Linking Argument and Reflexivity in Interaction: The Case of Anti-Nuclear Power Groups. Paper presented at the 4th Annual Graduate Conference of the Cluster of Excellence "The Formation of Normative Orders", Frankfurt a.M., December 5-7, 2013.

  • The Inner Workings of Social Movements: An Introduction. Paper presented at the International Student Graduate Workshop Exchange of Notre Dame University and Bielefeld University, Notre Dame, IN, April 25-29, 2013.

  • Talk about Success. How Social Movement Groups Discuss Influence. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Midwest Sociological Society, Chicago, March 27-30, 2013.


  • Award for the best empirical thesis 2011, Faculty of Sociology, Bielefeld University.

  • Courses taught

  • Ethnographie: Die Befremdung der eigenen Kultur

  • Goffmans Frame Analysis

  • Texte und Bilder im Kontext

  • Systemtheorie und qualitative Methodologie

  • Interaktionen im öffentlichen Raum

  • -> more News


    Current volume InDi

    Promoted by:

    Initiative for Excellence
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    Higher Education
    (First Funding Period 2007-2012,
    Second Funding Period 2012-2017)

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