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 visiting 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” and other projects (see lists of research grants below).

Research Topics

Sustainability Transitions, Climate Change, Religion and Sustainable Development, Social Change, 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

SNSF-project: Ecovillages as Incubators for Sustainability Transitions: What Boundary-Bridging Arrangements Facilitate the Diffusion of Innovations in Different Settings?

EUCOR-project: Food-Democracy and Meta-Organizations


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; 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.

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; 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.

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

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) “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;