Born in Unna in 1975, Nachtwey now teaches social structure analysis at Basle University. He studied economics at Hamburg University and has a PhD from the University of Göttingen. He has worked at the universities of Jena, Trier, Darmstadt and Frankfurt and was a member of the Post-Growth Societies Research Group at Jena. His research is focused on work, inequality and social conflicts. More recently he has dealt with market orders and the mechanisms for legitimising digital capitalism.
His book Die Abstiegsgesellschaft. Über das Aufbegehren in der Regressiven Moderne (2016) has received various awards and been translated into Spanish and English – Downward Mobility: Dissent in the Age of Regressive Modernity (Verso).