Key Research Areas We are engaged in different research fields and focus on a range of long-term key research areas that consist of different projects. Minorities – disruptions and transformation: Based on an ethnographic research project concerned with organizational change of universities, we study minorities and their societal position, the (re)production of societal elites as well as socialization processes in specific types of organizations (particularly in total institutions and reinventive institutions). (Project Becoming a Minority, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation.) Drugs and society: The use of consciousness-altering substances is a fundamental part of human communities. We describe and analyse socially derived knowledge in domains such as politics, law, economy and popular culture that shapes the use of such substances. We are particularly interested in studying the everyday consumption of psychoactive substances, focussing on the practices and knowledge that are critical in determining whether or not the use of a substance can be successfully integrated into everyday life. We also investigate how the perception and interpretation of psychoactive substances change over time. (Project Cannabis in Everyday Life, supported by the Basic Research Fund (GFF) of the University of St.Gallen) Qualitative research: We describe and analyse societal phenomena primarily from an everyday life perspective, establishing direct contact with the persons in the research field and engaging, whenever possible and suitable, in participant observation. We work with non-standardized interviews, ethnography and focus group conversations as well as text-based, acoustic and visual data. To study institutionally produced knowledge, we use a sociology of knowledge approach to discourse analysis. At the intersection of ethnography and discourse analysis, we participate in developing a sociology of knowledge approach to discourse ethnography. Architecture and urban space: Discourses on urban development in Switzerland are dominated by themes such as sustainability, profit-orientation and “densification”, focussing on the increasing scarcity of space and urban sprawl. Key aspects such as the everyday perception of space and built environments as well as usage patterns are often neglected. We study these and other aspects in innovative teaching formats and small projects. In particular, we study the impacts of urban planning on the development of urban spaces and how architecture and everyday action can be understood as mutually related.