Prof. Dr. phil. Jens Köhrsen

Jens Köhrsen

Theologische Fakultät


Heuberg 12
4051 Basel

Tel. +41 61 207 29 23


Jens Koehrsen (Köhrsen) is a professor for religion and economics at the Centre for Religion, Economy and Politics (ZRWP). He has studied sociology, philosophy and evangelical theology (Mag.), social sciences (Dipl.) and economics (Dipl.) at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, University of Salamanca and the University of Buenos Aires.

Fascinated by the relationship between social inequality and religion, Jens Koehrsen conducted his PhD research on the religious tastes and styles of middle-class Pentecostals in Argentina. In 2013, he received his PhD in sociology from the University of Bielefeld and the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS)

Towards the end of his PhD, he started to work in the area of sociology of innovation at the Carl von Ossietzky University Oldenburg, conducting a collaborative research project on local energy transition processes in Germany and France. In 2016, his research interest in the societal transformations towards sustainability drove him to the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford where he was an honorary research associate until 2018.

In the winter term 2017/18, he was a guest professor for sociology at the University of Münster. Currently, Jens Koehrsen is undertaking sociological research about climate change and the relationship between religion and sustainable development. He is supervising the SNSF-project “Urban Green Religions”.

Research Topics

Religion and Sustainable Development, Social Change, Low Carbon Transitions, Social Differentiation, Sociological Theory, Qualitative Research Methods.

Research Grants

SNSF-project: Urban Green Religions: Religion in Low Carbon Transitions in two Western European Cities

EUCOR-project: Synergies from an Integrated Renewable Energy Supply and Storage System in the Upper Rhine Region: An Interdisciplinary Analysis (SIRES_URR)

Mercator-project: Co-Visioning The Future: Die Zukunftsvisionen von Nachhaltigkeitsinitiativen

DFG-project: The Innovation Dynamics of Prosperity Gospel (at the Cluster of Excellence “Religion and Politics" at the University of Muenster)

Recent Publications

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “The Economy of Prosperity Gospel: Hybrid or Distinctive Social Worlds?”, in: Schnabel, Annette; Reddig, Melanie; Winkel, Heidemarie (ed.) Religion in Contexts: Handbook of the Sociology of Religion, Baden-Baden: Nomos, p. 159-172.

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) Urban Energy Transitions: Why It Is Challenging To Govern Them And How They Govern Themselves, in:,

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Religion und soziale Ungleichheit”, in: Pollack, Detlef; Krech, Volkhard; Müller, Olaf; Hero, Markus (ed.): Handbuch Religionssoziologie. Wiesbaden: Springer VS, p. 863-883,

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Exogenous shocks, social skill, and power: Urban energy transitions as social fields“, in: Energy Policy 117, p. 307–315;

Wendt, Björn; Böschen, Stefan; Barth, Thomas; Henkel, Anna; Block, Katharina; Dickel, Sascha; Görgen, Benjamin; Köhrsen, Jens; Pfister, Thomas; Rödder, Simone; Schloßberger, Matthias (2018) “Zweite Welle? Soziologie der Nachhaltigkeit – von der Aufbruchsstimmung zur Krisenreflexion”, in: Soziologie und Nachhaltigkeit (Sociology and Sustainability), Special Issue 3.

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Eco-Spirituality in Environmental Action: Studying Dark Green Religion in the German Energy Transition”, in: Journal for the Study of Religion, Culture and Nature 12 (1), S. 34-54,

Key Publications

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Religious Tastes and Styles as Markers of Class Belonging: A Bourdieuian Perspective on Pentecostalism in South America”, in: Sociology 53 (6), p. 1237–1253.

Koehrsen, Jens (2018) “Religious Agency in Sustainability Transitions: Between Experimentation, Upscaling, and Regime Support“, in: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions 27, p. 4–15.

Koehrsen, Jens (2017) “When Sects become Middle Class: Impression Management among Middle Class Pentecostals in Argentina”, in: Sociology of Religion 78 (3), p. 318–339;

Koehrsen, Jens (2017) “Boundary Bridging Arrangements: A Boundary Work Approach to Local Energy Transitions.”, in: Sustainability 9 (424).

Koehrsen, Jens (2016) Middle Class Pentecostalism in Argentina: Inappropriate Spirits. Leiden/Boston: Brill.

Koehrsen, Jens (2015) “Does Religion Promote Environmental Sustainability? – Exploring the Role of Religion in Local Energy Transitions”, in: Social Compass 62 (3), p. 296-310; 

Mattes, Jannika; Huber, Andreas; Koehrsen, Jens (2015) “Energy transitions in small-scale regions – what we can learn from a regional innovation systems perspective”; in: Energy Policy 78, p. 255-264;

Koehrsen, Jens  (2012) „How religious is the public sphere? – A critical stance on the debate about public religion and post-secularity.”, Acta Sociologica 55 (3), p. 273-288;