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.

He was a guest professor for sociology at the University of Münster in the winter term 2017/18 and at the University of Leipzig in the winter term 2019/20.

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, Sustainability Transitions, Social Differentiation, Sociological Theory, Mixed Methods Research.

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)

SNSF-project: Are Religions becoming Green? Faith-Based Environmentalism in Switzerland

Recent Publications

Koehrsen, Jens; Dickel, Sascha; Pfister, Thomas; Rödder, Simone; Böschen, Stefan; Wendt, Björn; Block, Katharina; Henkel, Anna (2020) “Climate Change in Sociology Still Silent or Resonating?” in: Current Sociology;

Koehrsen, Jens; Heuser, Andreas (ed.)(2020) Faith Based Organizations in Development Discourses and Practices, London: Routledge.

Koehrsen, Jens (2020) “Muslim NGOs and the Quest for Environmental Sustainability”, in: Heuser, Andreas; Koehrsen, Jens (ed.) Does Religion make a Difference? Religious NGOs in international development work, Zurich/Baden-Baden: Nomos, p. 327-348.

Koehrsen, Jens (2020) “Supply Side Theory”, in: Possamai, Adam; Blasi, Anthony (ed.) The SAGE Encyclopedia of the Sociology of Religion, Los Angeles: Sage.

Heuser, Andreas; Koehrsen, Jens (ed.) (2020) Does Religion Make a Difference? Religious NGOs in International Development Work, Zurich/Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Koehrsen, Jens; Bloemertz, Lena; Sohre, Annika (2020) “Utopien der Nachhaltigkeit: Zukunftsvisionen von Grassroots-Initiativen” (“Utopias of Sustainability: Future Vision of Grassrootsinitiatives”), in: Görgen, Benjamin; Wendt, Björn (ed.) Sozial-ökologische Utopien: Diesseits oder jenseits von Kapitalismus und Wachstumszwang?, München: oekom Verlag.

Huber, Fabian; Köhrsen, Jens (2020) “Grüne Religion? Ökologische Nachhaltigkeit und religiöse Gemeinschaften” (“Green Religion? Ecological Sustainability and Religious Communities”), in: Henkel, Anna (ed.) Nachhaltigkeit: Zehn Minuten Soziologie, Bielefeld: transcript.

Koehrsen, Jens; Becci, Irene; Huber, Fabian; Blanc, Julia (2019) “How is Religion Involved in Transformations Towards more Sustainable Societies? A Systematization”, in: Historia Religionum 11, p. 99-116;

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) Sociological Approaches for the Study of Local Sustainability Transitions, cumulative habilitation in sociology, University Basel.

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “From the “What” and “How” to the “Where”: Distinction as a Matter of Place”, in: Cultural Sociology 13 (1), p. 76–92;

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “(Self-)Governing Urban Energy Transitions: From Revolution to Evolution?” in: Hamman, Philippe (ed.) Sustainability Governance: Hierarchy or not Hierarchy?, London: Routledge, p. 141-156.

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “Innovationen in der Religion” (“Innovation in Religion”), in: Blättel-Mink, Birgit; Schulz-Schaeffer, Ingo; Windeler, Arnold (ed.) Handbuch Innovationsforschung, Wiesbaden: Springer VS, p. 1-17.

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “Religión de “buen gusto”: El Pentecostalismo de clase media en Buenos Aires”, in: Religión y Sociedad 51,p. 191-195.

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “Acts of Faith. Explaining the Human Side of Religion”, in: Gärtner, Christel; Pickel, Gert (ed.) Schlüsselwerke der Religionssoziologie, Wiesbaden:Springer VS, p. 519-529.

Koehrsen, Jens; Mattes, Jannika; Huber, Andreas (2019) “Les transitions énergétiques allemandes à l’échelon local: une perspective évolutive des transitions de Bottrop et d’Emden” (“German Energy Transitions on the Local Scale: An Evolutionary Perspective of the Transitions in Bottrop and Emden”), in: Douzou, Sylvie; Guyon, Marc; Luck, Simon (ed.): Les territoires de la transition énergétique, Paris: Lavoisier, p. 37-54.

Koehrsen, Jens (2019) “Auf dem Weg zur grünen Religion? –  Ökologisches Engagement von Kirchen am Beispiel der Energiewende“ (“On the way to a Green Religion? Ecological Engagement of Churches“), in: Pfleiderer, Georg; Köhrsen, Jens; Matern, Harald (ed.): Die Krise der Zukunft II: Verantwortung und Freiheit angesichts apokalyptischer Zukunftsszenarien; Zurich/Baden-Baden: Nomos/Pano, p. 49-71.

Pfleiderer, Georg; Matern, Harald; Koehrsen, Jens (ed.) (2019) Die Krise der Zukunft II: Verantwortung und Freiheit angesichts apokalyptischer Zukunftsszenarien (The Crisis of the Future: Responsibility and Freedom against the Backdrop of Apocalyptical Future Scenarios); Zurich/Baden-Baden: Nomos/Pano.

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;