M.Sc., M.A. Henning Mayer

Doctoral Candidate

Sociology of Science

Research associate / doctoral candidate at the Friedrich Schiedel Endowed Chair of Sociology of Science, TUM School of Governance, Technical University of Munich.

Faculty member. Current research (since july 2018) concentrates on social practices and implications of robot development / programming (,Sociality as Code. Innerworlds of Social Robotics‘)

Since 2017 research on human-robot communication including the (programmed) inner worlds of robots and virtual agents.

Studied cognitive and decision sciences (M.Sc.) and sociology (M.A.) in London (UCL) and Bielefeld. During his sociology studies he worked as a research intern at the Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC) and as a research associate in the DFG project “Communication at the Borders of Sociality” at the University of Bielefeld. Since April 2018 lecturer on “Social Robotics” at the University of Bielefeld. Since July 2018 research associate / PhD student at the Friedrich Schiedel Endowed Chair of Sociology of Science at TU Munich.

  • Social Robotics
  • Media Sociology

Brief description of my PhD Project

The robot is a social project that arises from people’s ideas about other people. The social models (human factors) used in the development environments are sometimes less context-sensitive than the hopes and goals formulated in the project descriptions of the funding lines may suggest. My project tries to look at the development of robots as a complex interconnection of social concepts and programming logics. I concentrate on a developmental ethnographic approach in which the social scientist is involved in the programming of robots and thus gains “practical knowledge” about how the “social” is built into the machine.

→ Current Courses

  • Soziale Robotik
  • Mediensoziologie
  • WS 2018/19 Introduction to the sociology of the media. Theories, programs and fields of application (seminar) / Bachelor (teaching profession). TU Munich
  • SS 2018 Social Machines? Sociological Problems of Communication with Robots and Agents (Seminar) / Bachelor. University of Bielefeld
  • Intelligent Housing and Smart Environments: Social Theoretical Approaches and Qualitative Empirical Perspectives. Workshop: Thinking society digitally? Social science reflections on new technologies and technological social forms, University of Bielefeld, December 2016
  • On the independence of communication. Virtual agents as transparent communication participants. Workshop: Political Public Sphere in the Computer Society, Cluster of Excellence “Cultural Foundations of Integration”, University of Konstanz, June 2018
  • Empirical analysis of encounters with robots and virtual agents (together with Indra Bock). 3rd INSIST Young Investigators Conference “Of Humans and Machines”, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, October 2018
  • European Association for the Studies of Science and Technology (EASST)
  • Section Sociology of Media and Communication of the German Sociological Association (DGS)
  • Section Sociological Theory of the German Sociological Association (DGS)
  • Society for Science and Technology Research (GWTF)