Ingmar Lippert

Associate Professor

Research profile

How do the digital and the social meet? This question powers my research. I explore the situated politics at the heart of the “digital society”, pushing me to analyse the structures and nitty-gritty contingencies of power, knowledge, technology and science. I specifically focus on data practices – the management of and through data, the politics of and within data – engaging in the overlapping empirical domains of the environment and technology. I ask questions about how human agents approach doing data well; I scrutinise the values and commitments embedded in data management and governance; and I analytically problematise how knowledges are shaped by digital systems, including their bugs, frictions and seamless integrations.

My research interacts with, and cuts across, sociologies of technology, of the environment and (un)sustainability, and of science and knowledge. I work in the borderlands of these sociologies by positioning my research in the interdisciplinary field of science and technology studies (STS) and by engaging in a transdisciplinary mode with the data and knowledge practitioners whose practices I analyse.

Current research key words include: (post)actor-network theory, specifically ontological and ontic politics; discourse and dispositif analyses; workplace ethnography; databases and intersections of small and big data; (un)sustainbility governance and environmental accountability infrastructures.

My task at ITU "Social Studies of Digitalisation, Environment and Infrastructure"

I am a sociologist of science, technology and the environment, focusing on digitalisation, knowledge practices and (un)sustainability governance. I am co-PI of our project Sociocultural Carbon, and I link my work at ITU with the Chair of Technoscience Studies at Brandenburg University of Technology, earlier as a visiting researcher also with the STS group unit at Humanities of Nature at the Museum für Naturkunde Berlin.

Current Research

I currently conduct research on

  • the politics of data/natures broadly and also focused, currently interested in data infrastructures within ecosystem services accounting and the human and nonhuman agents involved;
  • autochthonous agents and politics of coal – in relation to questions of digital heritage; and
  • reflexively on the knowledge and data politics within STS by analysing STS ethnographies (with Julie Mewes) and its data practices and by analysing the patterns of empirical and analytical problematisations performed at STS conferences.

Recent Research

My prior research scope included research into

Editorial work

Research Management and Collectives

I am a collaborative researcher and have enjoyed working in, and (partially) coordinating, teams in Europe and Asia. These include(d) the teams of the Technologies in Practice Research Group (ITU, TiP, collaborating since since 2014), the Environment, Management and Society Research Group (autonomous, EMS-RG, 2008-16), the Chair of Technoscience Studies (BTU, since 2019), and the Experimental Techno-Humanities and Organizational Services lab (ITU, ETHOS; 2015-18) and the General Ecology’s Genetics Lab (BTU, 2002) and Tembusu College’s climate change research community (NUS, 2012-3).

Teaching Profile

My teaching philosophy is to support students in developing and nuancing their capacity to act as reflexive actors. My work aims to facilitate students’ learning so that as graduates they are equipped with a tactical, reflexive and critical capacity. In this way, I intend to further their capacity for engaging constructively with global situated socio-technical challenges (typically transdisciplinarily), ranging from digitalisation to nanotechnology, energy system transformation or biodiversity loss. STS, in my approach, serves to shape the design of both – content and method of teaching.

I hold a higher education teaching diploma from the IT University of Copenhagen and have been trained in, e.g., small group seminar teaching, large class teaching, MOOCs and integrating virtual learning platforms in teaching, but also questions of intersectionality and heterogeneous communities of learners.

Supervision Interests

I am currently specifically interested in supervising student and PhD projects between sociologies of technology and the environment and STS that critically explore:

  • the digital society: specifically questions about encryption, privacy and power/technology as well as about databasing, monitoring and accountability; and
  • unsustainability: ecosystem services, fossil fuels; and
  • analytics: issues of competing ontologies and ontological or ontic practices.

Expertise for Research Councils

2019 to 2022, I have been a member of The Swedish Research Council Formas ‘Climate Change Panel’; and since 2017 I served as a reviewer of research project applications to the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) ‘Social Sciences and Humanities Domain’ (Innovational Research Incentives Scheme), the Poland National Science Centre ‘HS – Social Sciences and Humanities Panel’ and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) ‘Spark Panel’.


updated 15 Dec 2022