Sociological Theory and the Humanities

I’m a doctoral researcher at the Department of Information Studies at University College London. I’m currently working as a visiting scholar at the Department of Sociology at Yale University.

My scholarly interests include:

  • Critical theory of higher education and scholarship
  • Scholarly communication in the humanities
    • The social and cultural foundations of the pressure to publish
    • Open access practices and discourses
    • The connections between scholarship and teaching
    • Communication between scholars and society
  • Inequalities in or based on education
    • Discourses of the democratisation of knowledge
    • Epistemic injustice
  • The philosophy of the humanities
  • Cultural sociology and, in particular, practice theory

My PhD is funded and supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership, and the German Academic Scholarship Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes).

Marcel Knöchelmann

Short Bio for Conferences

Marcel Knöchelmann is a sociologist with a focus on scholarly communication and inequities in education and the production of knowledge. His current reseach concerns the publishing imperative in the humanities and the open access myth of the democratisation of knowledge. Marcel is affiliated with University College London and Yale University, and worked for different publishing houses in the UK and Germany prior to his research.

His studies are supported by doctoral scholarships of the German National Merit Foundation (Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes) and the AHRC UK through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).

Before his PhD, Marcel worked as a bookseller for three years and gained practical experience in publishing with projects at John Wiley & Sons, De Gruyter, The Academic Book of the Future project, Knowledge Unlatched, and the International Arthurian Society, among others. He continues to work as a consultant focussing on digital and open access projects.

Doctoral Research

I want to find out how and why researchers communicate their research, who a researcher in the humanities actually is, and whether publishers are doing a good job helping researchers communicate. This involves work on scholarly identities, symbolic capital, and the construction of knowledge in the humanities. I see researchers as active, knowledgeable agents and work paradigmatically within cultural sociology and practice theory. Ultimatly, the reserach concerns questions such as: what are the rules and resources drawn upon in authorship and publishing? Why do researchers reproduce structures they themselves feel pressured by? How is this affecting discourses in humanities disciplines? Answers – hopefully – soon to come!

If  you want to find out more about all of this or look for future collaborations, please do get in touch (marcel.knochelmann.15–at–

To reach a wider audience, I try to engage in public debates outside of the academic community, for instance, on the LSE Impact Blog on the commercialisation of open access, Forschung&Lehre or the ZEIT Chancen Brief on fallible conceptions of open access, or partake in the formulation of higher education policy in Berlin or the federal state of Brandenburg (release to come).



My PhD research is fully funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK (AHRC) through the London Arts and Humanities Partnership (LAHP).

I’m currently also holding a non-financial scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes (German Academic Scholarship Foundation).

I further received a full scholarship of the Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes for my BA and MA, a 2016 SSP International Fellowship, and the 2015 John Wiley & Sons scholarship for my MA at UCL. For my visiting scholarship at Yale University in 2020, I was awarded a position in the competitive Yale-UCL Exchange Programme.


Professional Experience

I’m a member of the German Social Democrats (SPD), and founding member of the network for higher education/science policy within the SPD. Find out more about this project or get involved here.

I have extensive practical experience in scholarly communication management through project work at Schwabe Verlag, John Wiley & Sons, De Gruyter, The Academic Book of the Future project, and the early Knowledge Unlatched, among others. I was the editorial assistant for the Journal of the International Arthurian Society for their 2018 edition. I continue to take on consulting and advisory roles for publishers or scholarly organisations with a focus on open practices and strategy.

During the 18/19 academic year, I held a Teaching Assistant position for the Publishing Skills module (with Daniel Boswell) for the MA in Publishing at UCL. During the 17/18 academic year, I held a Teaching Assistant position for Nick Canty for the MA in Publishing at UCL. I held a minor research position reporting to Cathrin Mohr at the  Chair of  Economic History at Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, 2018-2019.

I received a BA from HTWK Leipzig and an MA from UCL.

Before my university studies, I completed a three-year apprenticeship as a bookseller at an independent bookshop in Germany. During those years, I was very active as a guitarist and bassist in different jazz and (stoner)-rock formations.


University Lectures

I lecture(d) on the following topics:

  • Ethics in academic publishing (UCL)
  • Marketing and strategy in scholarly publishing (UCL)
  • The history of academic publishing (UCL)
  • Digital publishing processes (UCL)
  • Microeconomics in book publishing industries (UCL)
  • Academic writing and discourse (HTWK Leipzig)
  • Managerial accounting (HTWK Leipzig)


Panels and Speaking

Get in touch for keynotes or panels. I’m happy to talk about open access, issues of equality in scholarly communication, or current and historical perspectives on scholarship in the humanities. Previous keynotes and talks include, among others:

  • 4S/EASST conference, Prague, 2020: The Failed Revolution: Technological Determinism and the Global Production of Knowledge
  • University of Groningen, Research Symposium, Groningen, NL: Collaboration against a Culture of Competition, keynote (deferred/SARS-Cov-19 crisis)
  • LAHP Annual Research Day, London, 2019: Social Dilemma and Reproduction in Humanities Publishing
  • OpenUP Final Conference, Brussels, 2018: Don’t Take Openness as a Good on its Own
  • Society for Scholarly Publishing Annual Meeting, Boston, 2017: Signifiers of Relevance or Identifiers of Communities
  • Academic Book of the Future Week, British Library, London, 2017: Start-ups in Scholarly Publishing
  • Society of Young Publishers conference, Oxford, 2017: Open Access: From Opening Access to Justifying Business
  • iFair conference on a United Nations World Parliament, Berlin, 2017: Open Access Policy Development in National Contexts
  • EbookCamp, Hamburg, 2015: The Survival of the Fittest in Publishing, keynote


Get in touch




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