Workshop on Sociology and Interdisciplinary Study of Sleep

Date & Time: Wednesday 21 September, 2022, 16:00-17:30 (JST)

Title: Sleep Knowledge: A Sociological Perspective on Sleep Laboratories
Speaker: Prof. Dr. Dariuš Zifonun
(Institute of Sociology, Philipps University of Marburg)

Moderators: Prof. Tamaki Endo
(Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences / Faculty of Economics,
Saitama University,
Prof. Masao Doi 
(Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University,

Venue: Mid-sized Conference Room (Room 332),
at the 3rd Floor of Inamori Memorial Foundation Building, CSEAS, Kyoto University. No reservation required.

Language: English


Key words: Laboratory studies; Sleep knowledge; Participant observation; Polysomnography

In recent years, sociologists have become increasingly interested in the ways scientific knowledge is being produced. ‘Laboratories studies’ have turned their attention to agricultural science, biotechnology, astronomy and other fields of science to investigate the interactional and practical accomplishment of knowledge. Using participant observation, sociologists study the different ways researchers handle objects, technology and people.

In his talk, Dariuš Zifonun will introduce the sociological perspective on laboratories and present findings from his study on sleep laboratories dealing with human sleep. Sleep is a fascinating topic for sociologists. On the one hand, everyone ‘practices’ sleep and ‘knows’ a lot about sleep from their everyday lives, however without ‘experiencing’ sleep. On the other hand, researchers turn this ‘unknown’ object of everyday life into a natural as well as epistemic object. In doing this, scientists from, among others, chronobiology, pharmacy, neuroscience, psychology and pulmonology collaborate to locate sleep and structure, demarcate and normalize their object of investigation and distinguish between different categories of people.

The presentation will focus on the practices involved in diagnosing patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). It will give an outline of the activities of physicists, nurses and other medical personnel in producing and providing sleep knowledge with the help of polysomnography (PSG).

Dariuš Zifonun, born 1968, Dr. rer. soc., is Professor of Sociology at Philipps-Universität Marburg. He was Professor of Sociology at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences Berlin (2009-2015), Research Fellow at KWI Essen (2007-2009) and Lecturer at TU Berlin (2007-2009) and Research Associate at the Department of History and Sociology, University of Konstanz (2000-2005).

Darius Zifonun was on the Executive Board of the German Sociological Association, DGS, (2017- 2019) and was Visiting Professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2006) and Hitotsubashi University Tokyo (2005).

Studies at the University of Konstanz and at York University/Toronto; gained M.A. in Public Administration and Policy Studies 1998 (University of Konstanz) and doctorate in Sociology 2002 (University of Konstanz). Habilitation in Sociology 2015 (TU Berlin).

Research Interests: Sociology of Everyday Life, Sociology of Knowledge, Sociology of Sleep, Migration and Integration, Social Structure and Stratification, Sociological Methodology

Current research projects:

Contact: Tomohiro Machikita (machi [at]