Prof. Dr. Martin Voss

Martin Voss

Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology

Professor with Focus on Disaster Research

Field of Activity

Head of Disaster Research Unit

Address Carl-Heinrich-Becker-Weg 6-10
Room 025
12165 Berlin
Telephone +49 (0)30 838 72613
Fax +49 (0)30 838 72615

Office hours

Please make an appointment via the secretary.

Tel. +49 (0)30 838 72611; E-mail:


  • Dr. of Philosophy (PhD, “summa cum laude”), 2005, University of Kiel
  • Magister Artium (MA, similar to Diploma), 2001, University of Kiel, studied Sociology, Education and Psychology at the University of Kiel
  • VIPP-Fascilitator (Visualization in Participatory Programmes), 2007

Academic Positions

  • since 10/2011 Visiting Professor for Disaster Research, Freie Universität Berlin
  • since 10/2011 Head of Disaster Research Unit Berlin, DRU (Katastrophen­forschungs­stelle Berlin, KFS), Freie Universität Berlin
  • 11/2009-09/2011 Head of Disaster Research Unit, Kiel, Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel
  • 11/2010-07/2011 Fellow at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), Research Group "Communicating Disaster", University of Bielefeld
  • 04/2009 Chairman of the International and Interdisciplinary Network on Disaster Prevention and Research “Katastrophennetz e.V.”
  • 02/2008-10/2009 Senior Researcher Disaster Research Unit, Kiel (Katastrophenforschungsstelle), Project of the Federal Ministry of Education and Environment (BMBF) "Critical Parts - Interaction, Interrelations, and Interfaces" (Airport-Security, human-technology-interaction)
  • 02/2008-09/2011 Cluster of Excellence: "Future Ocean", Development of an integrative Vulnerability Framework
  • 05/2007-04/2008 Scholarship (granted by Fritz Thyssen Stiftung), at the University of Passau, Project “A discourse analysis of negotiations on climate change – the example EU and Indonesia”
  • 07/2006-08/2006 Field Research in Khao Lak (Thailand), Aceh (Indonesia), Southern Sri Lanka, Empirical studies in tsunami affected areas
  • 01/2006-04/2008 Accountable head (head: Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Korff, Chair of Southeastasiastudies) of Passau study group on disasters, research and evaluation of consequences of southeastasian tsunami 2004.
  • 01/2006-04/2007 Senior Researcher at the University of Passau, Chair of Southeastasian Studies
  • July 2005-August 2005 Field Research in Khao Lak (Thailand), Empirical studies in tsunami affected areas
  • April 2002-March 2007 Lecturer, Muthesius University of Arts (Muthesius-Kunsthochschule) Kiel
  • 01/2005-12/2006 Freelancer, TuTech GmbH, Hamburg
  • 01/2000-12/2006 Freelancer, Disaster Research Unit, University of Kiel
  • 02/2003-12/2003 and 03/2005 – 06/2005 Research consultant Peace Brigades International, Hamburg
  • 04/2001-12/2005 Project Team Member, University of Kiel, chair of the education of economy: Development of a reform-concept of German educational system based on a complementary-approach
  • 07-10/2000 Field Research, Retalhuleu and Guatemala City, Guatemala (GTZ Internship), Project FEMID on strengthening local structures in the mitigation of disasters in Central America
  • 09-12/1999 Research Project Assistant, Disaster Research Unit, Kiel

Other Academic Activities (Selection)

  • since 2005 Founder and spokesperson, Interdisciplinary and international Network of Scholars and Practitioners in the Field of Disasters, KatNet,
  • since 2005 Editor Newsletter for Disaster Network KatNet,
  • 2004 German Marshallplan Initiative, Scientific Consultant, Initiative for a worldwide development approach
  • 09-12/1999 Researchproject assistant, Research project on Disaster Management and Climate Change Impact on the Island of Sylt
  • 10/1999-02/2000 University of Kiel, Researchproject assistant, Research project on Management of quality in hospitals
  • 10/1999-01/2000: University of Kiel, Researchproject assistant, Participatory Rapid Appraisal (PRA) on perspectives of the elderly in rural areas
  • 1996-2000 University of Kiel: Student Assistant, Institute of Sociology and Disaster Research Unit Kiel
  • 1994-1995 Scheltered workshop for handicapped, Assistant, educational training of psychosocial-traumatized and abused children

Grants and Scholarships

  • 2013 Travel funds to “5th Indo-German Frontiers of Engineering Symposium” march 14-17, Hyderabad, India
  • 2012 Research funds (provided internally by Freie Universtität Berlin)
  • 2012 Travel funds „Fact-Finding-Journey“ to Bangalore, India, 05-11/11 (funded by Center for International Cooperation of Freie Universität Berlin)
  • 2010 „E-Learning and New Media - Creation of a Platform for a Virtual Studying Offer.“ (funded by the Christian-Albrechts-University Kiel)
  • 2007-2008 „Discourse Analysis of the Negotiations about Climate Change – the example European Union and Indonesia“ (funded by Thyssen-Foundation)

Memberships and Positions

  • German Sociological Association (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie DGS)
  • Section Environmental Sociology of the German Sociological Association
  • Section Sociology of Development Research and Social Anthropology of the German Sociological Association
  • Chairman of "Disaster Network" ("Katastrophennetz e.V."), International, inter- and transdisciplinary Network between Disaster Research and -Practice (Disaster Network/ Katastrophennetz)
  • Founding Member of the Junior Research Group Environmental Sociology (Nachwuchsgruppe Umweltsoziologie NGU) of the German Sociological Association

Research interests

  • Disaster- and Environmental (specificly climate change, mitigation & adaptation) Research (industrialized- and “southern countries”)
  • Vulnerability and Resilience Research and Assessment
  • Community-Based Disaster Risk Management (CBDM) and Climate Change Adaptation in Southern Countries (esp. Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India, Guatemala)
  • Security Research
  • Transdisciplinary/Participative Methods, co-design and co-production of sustainable solutions

Research grants

  • 04/2011-03/2014 Coordinator of Research Consortium "Alpine Natural Hazards in Climate Change (ANiK) Patterns of interpretation and practices of action from 18th to 21st century", funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Environment (BMBF) ("Alpine Naturgefahren im Klimawandel – Deutungsmuster und Handlungspraktiken vom 18.-21. Jh."), Leader of sub-projects "Remoralization of Nature" and "Theoretical Framework"
  • 08/2010-07/2013 Project Manager "RiskSpace", sub-project within the consortium "Security, Perception, Situation Reports, Conditions and Expectations - A Monitoring of Security in Germany (BaSiD - Barometer of Security in Germany)", funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Environment (BMBF)

Publications (Selection)


  • Egner, Heike/Schorch, Marén/Voss, Martin (2014, im Erscheinen): „Introduction“. In: Egner, Heike/Schorch, Marén/Voss, Martin (Eds.): Learning and Calamities. Practices, Interpretations, Patterns, Routledge.

  • Voss, Martin (Ed.): "Social Sciences perspectives on Climate Change" ("Der Klimawandel – Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspectiven"), Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag 2010.
  • Voss, Martin/Peuker, Birgit (Eds.): "Is Nature Disappearing? The Actor-Network-Theory in the Sociological Discourse on Environment" ("Verschwindet die Natur? Die Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie in der umweltsoziologischen Diskussion"), Bielefeld: Transcript 2006. Review in Soziologische Revue, 30/3 (2007).
  • Voss, Martin: "Symbolic Forms. Basics and Elements of a Sociological Theory of Catastrophes" ("Symbolische Formen. Grundlagen und Elemente einer Soziologie der Katastrophe"), Bielefeld: Transcript 2006.

Book Chapters

  • Jessica Heesen; Daniel F. Lorenz; Martin Voss and Bettina Wenzel (2015): Reflections on Ethics in Mapping as an Instrument and Result of Disaster Research. In: Max Wyss und Silvia Peppoloni (Hg.): Geoethics. Ethical challenges and case studies in earth sciences. Amsterdam: Elsevier, S. 251–262.


  • Voss, Martin/Lorenz, Daniel (2014, submitted): "Sociological Foundations for International Crisis Communication Research". In: Löffelholz, Martin/Schwarz, Andreas/Seeger, Matthew (eds.): Handbook of International Crisis Communication Research, Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Heesen, Jessica; Lorenz, Daniel F.; Nagenborg, Michael; Voss, Martin; Wenzel, Bettina (2014): "Blind Spots on Achilles’ Heel. On the Limitations of Vulnerability and Resilience Mapping in Research", International Journal of Disaster Risk Science. Vol. 5 (1), 74-85, DOI: 10.1007/s13753-014-0014-5
  • Voss, Martin (2012): „Ambiente, disastro e catastrofi nel XXI secolo“, in: Ragone Givani (Ed.): Lo spettacolo della fine. Le catastropfi ambientali nell´immaginario e nei media.Guerini e Associati SpA.
  • Voss, Martin (2012): "How are we Prepared for Catastrophes in Germany?" ("Wie gut sind wir in Deutschland auf Katastrophen vorbereitet?") In: Der Notarzt, Thieme Journals 01/2012.
  • Lorenz, Daniel F./Voss, Martin (2011): "Not a political problem. The General Public in the Discourse on Critical Infrastructures" ("Not a political problem. Die Bevölkerung im Diskurs um Kritische Infrastrukturen"), in: Hempel, Leon/Bartels, Marie (Hrsg.): Aufbruch ins Unversicherbare. Zum Katastrophendiskurs der Gegenwart, Transcript, Bielefeld 2011 [eingereicht, Juli 2011].
  • Schröter, Klaus/Voss, Martin (2010): Virtuoser Freidenker, soziologischer Schriftsteller und Diener der Wissenschaft. In memoriam Lars Clausen (8.4.1935 – 20.5.2010), Soziologie (39) 3, 378-383.
  • Lorenz, Daniel (2010) (Project Leader Martin Voss): "Critical Infrastructures – The Perspective of the General Public" ("Kritische Infrastrukturen aus Sicht der Bevölkerung"). Schriftenreihe Forschungsforum Öffentliche Sicherheit 3.
  • Voss, Martin/Wagner, Klaus (2010) "Learning from (small) disasters", in: Natural Hazards Special Volume "Extreme Events: Vulnerability, Environment and Society, Glade, Thomas; Felgentreff, Carsten; Birkmann, Jörn (Hrsg.), Natural Hazards, Springer, [04.02.2010].
  • Voss, Martin (2010): "Introduction: Perspectives of Social Sciences Contributions on Climate Change“ ("Einleitung: Perspektiven sozialwissenschaftlicher Klimawandelforschung"), in: Voss, Martin (Ed.): Der Klimawandel – Sozialwissenschaftliche Perspektiven (Social Sciences perspectives on Climate Change), Wiesbaden: VS-Verlag, 9-40.
  • Voss, Martin (2010): "Resilienz, Vulnerabilität und transdisziplinäre Katastrophenforschung", in: Siedschlag, Alexander (Hrsg.): Jahrbuch für europäische Sicherheitspolitik 2009/2010, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 67-84.
  • Voss, Martin (2009):"Vulnerability" ("Vulnerabilität"), in: Hammerl, Christa/Kolnberger, Thomas: „(Natur)Katastrophen. Rezeption – Bewältigung - Verarbeitung“, Wien: Studien-Verlag, 103-121.
  • Scheffer, Jörg/Voss, Martin (2008):

    "The Privatization of Socialisation. The social space as a clandestine curricular in change" ("Die Privatisierung der Sozialisation. Der soziale Raum als heimlicher Lehrplan im Wandel"), in: Genkova, Petia (Ed.), Erfolg durch Schlüsselqualifikationen? "Heimliche Lehrpläne" und Basiskompetenzen im Zeichen der Globalisierung, Berlin, Bremen, Miami et. al.: Pabst Science Publishers, 102-115.

  • Voss, Martin (2008): "Global Environmental Change and local Resilience. The Example of Climate Change" ("Globaler Umweltwandel und lokale Resilienz am Beispiel des Klimawandels"), in: Rehberg, Karl-Siegbert (Ed.), Die Natur der Gesellschaft. Verhandlungen des 33. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Kassel 2006, Frankfurt a. M.: Campus 2008, 2860-2876.
  • Voss, Martin (2008): "Krisendiagnosen und ihre Konsequenzen: Das Beispiel »Globaler Klimawandel«" ("Diagnoses of Crisis and their Consequences: 'Global Climate Change' a Case Study"), in: Rehberg, Karl-Siegbert (Ed.), Die Natur der Gesellschaft. Verhandlungen des 33. Kongresses der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Kassel 2006, Frankfurt a. M.: Campus, 3591-3600.
  • Voss, Martin (2008) “The vulnerable can't speak. An integrative vulnerability approach to disaster and climate change research”, Behemoth (3), 39-71.

Recent presentations

  • "Benefits and limitations of the Integrative Transdisciplinary Vulnerability Approach—Examples from Indonesia, Thailand and Japan", Vortrag im Rahmen der internatioalen Tagung "Cultures of Disaster" am Zentrum für interdisziplinäre Forschung (ZiF) der Universität Bielefeld, 05.07.2011
  • Invited Presentation: „Learning from Disasters and Catastrophes“ („Lernen aus Desastern und Katastrophen“), Vortrag im Rahmen des DoktorandInnen-Kolloquiums des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts Essen (KWI) zu Naturkatastrophen, 15.06.2011
  • „Alpine Naturgefahren im Klimawandel“, Vortrag im Rahmen des Kick-Off-Meetings „Soziale Dimensionen von Klimawandel und Klimaanpassung“, BMBF, Bonn, 12.05.2011
  • Invited Presentation: „How are we prepared for Catastrophes in Germany?“ („Wie gut sind wir in Deutschland auf Katastrophen vorbereitet?“), Vortrag gehalten auf dem Deutschen Anästhesiekongress in Hamburg (CCH), 17.05.2011.
  • Invited Presentation: „Environment, Disaster and Catastrophes in the 21st Century“, Vortrag im Rahmen der internationalen Konferenz „Catastrofe Ambientale, Immaginario e potere“ an der „La Sapienza“ Universität Rom, 08.-09.10.2010.
  • Invited Presentation: "TIV - Rahmenkonzept zur transdisziplinären & integrativen Bewertung von Vulnerabilität und Sicherheit" ("TIV - Framing Concept to a trans-disciplinary and integrative evaluation of Vulnerability and Security."), Freiburg i. Brsg.,Vortrag im Rahmen des Institutskolloquiums am Institut für Soziologie der Universität Freiburg, 11.06.2010.
  • Invited Presentation: "Genesis, Discourses and Theories on the Sociology of Disaster and Catastrophes"; A Presentation during a Workshop concerning "Theories on Disaster" ("Genese, Diskurse und Theorie(n) der Disaster- und Katastrophensoziologie", Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops „Krisen- und Katastrophentheorie“) an der Universität Siegen, 18.-20.05.2010.
  • Invited Presentation: "Sociological Reasearch on Disaster." A Presentation during a Workshop concerning the History of Climate Change, Natural Dangers and Natural Hazards („Soziologische Katastrophenforschung“, Vortrag im Rahmen des Workshops zur Geschichte von Klimawandel, Naturgefahren und Naturkatastrophen), Carson Center München, 27/28. Mai 2010.
  • "On the Epistemology and the epistemological Catastrophe", A Presentation during a Colloqium at the Institute of Ethnology at the Freie Universität Berlin ("Zur Epistemologie der epistemologischen Katastrophe"), Vortrag im Rahmen des Institutskolloquiums des Instituts für Ethnologie an der Freie Universität Berlin, 29.04.2010.

  • Invited Presentation: "Alpine (natural) Hazard Management in Climate Change – Re-Moralising the Nature?", A Presentation during the Kick-Off-Meeting for Young Research Professionals KlimaWelten ("Alpines (natur-)Gefahrenmanagement im Klimawandel - Remoralisierung von Natur?", Vortrag im Rahmen der Auftaktveranstaltung der Nachwuchsforscher/innengruppe KlimaWelten), Bielefeld, 20. Januar 2010.
  • „Transdisciplinary integrated Vulnerability assessment (TiV)“, Presentation at 5th conference of the Network “Katastrophennetz e.V.”, 18.-20. June 2009, Kiel.
  • Invited Presentation: “Climate change in the social sciences”, Presentation at the lecture curse “Einvironmental Sociology” at the University of Jena, 18.05.2009
  • Invited Presentation: „Where does the Resilience Apporach come from?” Introductory Presentation on the Panel “What can the Reslience Approach supply?” During the international Conference "Earth as a Risk" ("Woher kommt der Resilienzansatz?“", Einleitungsvortrag zum Panel "Was leistet der Resilienzansatz?" im Rahmen der internationalen Konferenz "Risiko Erde"), at the University of Leipzig, 02.-04. März 2009.
  • "An integrative framework for vulnerability assessment – a case study from the Tsunami affected areas in Thailand", Presentation during the international Conference "Earth as a Risk" at the University of Leipzig (02.-04. März), 02. März 2009.
  • Invited Presentation: „Katastrophenmanagement in Zeiten des Globalen Umweltwandels“, Presentation at IKV Assistentenexkursion 2008 (11.08– 15.08.2008) in Traben Trarbach, 15. August 2008.
  • Invited Presentation: „Kulturelle Vielfalt und der Wandel des Klimas“, Presentation at InWent and UNESCO skill enhancement for teacher of UNESCO-Schools, Feldafing, 11. June 2008, Feldafing.
  • „Megacity und Resilienz – das Beispiel Jakarta“, Presentation at the 4 th conference of Katastrophennetzwerk (KatNet), 15.-17. Mai 2008, Lutherstadt-Wittenberg.
  • Invited Presentation: „Katastrophenbewältigung in Zeiten des globalen Klimawandels“, presentation at conference of German Association fort he United Nations (DGVN): „Risiko Klimawandel – eine lokale und globale Aufgabe für die Vereinten Nationen“ in Munich, 11. October 2007, Download: [11.01.2009].
  • Learning from (small) Catastrophes ("Lernen aus (kleinen) Katastrophen"), together with Klaus Wagner. Paper Presentation at the Congress of German Geographers in Bayreuth, 04.October 2007.

  • Invited Presentation: "Negotiating Cities – The Resdiscovery of the Agora", Colloquium "Citites as a Mirror Image of Complex Cultures" ("Stadt verhandeln - Die Wiederentdeckung der Agora", Colloquium "Städte als Spiegel komplexer Kulturen") at the University of Passau, 27. June 2007.
  • Climate Change as a Consequence of Social Injustice Presentation at the fourth conference of the Network “Nachwuchsgruppe Umweltsoziologie (NGU)” ("Der Klimawandel als Folge sozialer Ungleichheit, Präsentation auf der vierten Konferenz des Netzwerks "Nachwuchsgruppe Umweltsoziologie (NGU)"),  in Berlin, 19.-21. April 2007.

  • "Pierre Bourdieu and the Sociology of Environment", Presentation at the fourth conference of the Network "Nachwuchsgruppe Umweltsoziologie (NGU)" ("Pierre Bourdieu als Umweltsoziologe" Präsentation auf der vierten Konferenz des Netzwerks "Nachwuchsgruppe Umweltsoziologie (NGU)"), in Berlin, 19.-21. April 2007.

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