Danny Otto

+49 381 498 - 8466
Universitätsplatz 5, 18055 Rostock

On the traces of the "precariat". Power of interpretation exemplified by an interpretation of social inequality

Interpretations play an important role in the construction of reality. By attributing meaning they can define what is to be considered as “real”, highlight or conceal certain aspects, suggest actions or attitudes and stabilize social practices. Consequently, an inquiry into the power of interpretation – encompassing both the power to establish or influence interpretations and the power of interpretations themselves – is an important task for sociological research, especially for the sociology of (scientific) knowledge (SoK); even more so as studies on this subject are rare.

My PhD project focuses on interpretations of social inequality in order to explore a concept of power of interpretation that is compatible with findings in the field of SoK. Taking “precariat” as an example, I have chosen a popular interpretation in recent German (scientific) discourse on social inequality. I will search for the associations stabilizing this concept, examine its dissemination and reflect on reasons for its implementation. Finally, I will discuss how this interpretation affects the perception of social inequality. A mixed methods design, composed of bibliometrics, content analysis and rhetorical analysis, is the basis of the empirical work and takes the semantic and structural components of interpretational power into consideration.

Research interests

  • Interpretation of social inequality
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • Sociology of knowledge
  • Metaphor research
  • Methods of empirical social research


  • Otto, Danny. 2018: Zur Fabrikation soziologischen Wissens. Untersuchungen am Beispiel einer Deutung sozialer Ungleichheit. In: Keller, Reiner/Poferl, Angelika (Hrsg.): Wissenskulturen der Soziologie. Weinheim: Beltz/Juventa. [im Erscheinen].
  • Milewski, Nadja; Otto, Danny. 2017: The importance of a religious funeral ceremony among Turkish migrants and their decendants in Germany. What role do socio-demographic characteristics play? In: Hunter, Alistair/Ammann, Eva Soon (Hrsg.): Final Journeys. Migrant End-of-life Care and Rituals in Europe. London/New York: Routledge, S. 68-84. [Reprint of Journal of Intercultural Studies 37(2)].
  • Berger, Peter A.; Brumme, Robert; Cap, Clemens,; Otto, Danny. 2014: Überwachung des digitalen Raums. Verhaltensänderung von Internetznutzern. In: Soziale Welt 65(1), S.219-243.


  • Otto, Danny. 2015: Zur Fabrikation soziologischen Wissens. Untersuchungen am Beispiel einer Deutung sozialer Ungleichheit. Workshop 'Soziologie der Wissenskulturen. Zur Spezifik soziologischer Wissensproduktion'. Universität Augsburg, 19./20.03.2015.
  • Otto, Danny. 2015: Die Akteur-Netzwerk-Theorie als zeitdiagnostische Metapher. Workshop „Die Metaphorik soziologischer Zeitdiagnose“. Universität Rostock, 20./21.02.2015.
  • Otto, Danny. 2015: Deutungsmacht Prekariat? – Zur Karriere einer Deutung sozialer Ungleichheit. Gastvortrag. Seminar: Sozialstrukturanalyse der BRD. Universität Rostock, 08.01.2015.
  • Otto, Danny; Milewski, Nadja. 2014: Religious attitudes among Turks in Germany. The importance of a funeral ritual. IMISCOE 11th Annual Conference. Universidad Pontificia Comillas Madrid, 27-29. August 2014.
  • Otto, Danny; Milewski, Nadja. 2012: Der Einfluss transnationaler Partnerschaften auf die Religiosität türkischer Migranten in Deutschland. Workshop „Paardynamiken in Zeiten gesellschaftlicher Diversität“, Universität Rostock 29./30.11.2012.



  • Bachelor of Arts in Social Sciences at University of Marburg


  • Master of Arts in Sociology at Rostock University

Seit 2014

  • PhD-study in Sociology at Rostock University.
  • Working title: On the traces of the "precariat". Power of interpretation exemplified by an interpretation of social inequality.

Further information: CV


seit 2014

  • Research assistant in graduate school "Power of Interpretation. Hermeneutic conflict in religion and belief systems" funded by the German Research Foundation, Supervision: Prof. Dr. Peter A. Berger, Prof. Dr. Heiner Hastedt, University of Rostock


  • Research assistant in project "status passage doctorate", Project leader: Heike Kahlert, University of Hildesheim


  • Graduate assistant, Institute for Sociology and Demography, University of Rostock


  • Teaching assistant, University of Marburg, University of Giessen


  • German Sociological Association (DGS)
  • European Sociological Association (ESA)
  • International Sociological Association (ISA)
  • Society for Social Studies of Science (4S)
  • Gesellschaft für Wissenschafts- und Technikforschung e.V. (Society for Science and Technology Studies)