Univ.-Ass. Getrude Saxinger, Mag. Dr. PD

Portrait photo of Getrude Saxinger.

Photo source: private.


Neues Institutsgebäude
Universitätsstr. 7/2nd floor
Room: D207
1010 Vienna
T: +43-1-4277-494 24
F: +43-1-4277-949 4
E-Mail: gertrude.saxinger@univie.ac.at
Website: Research Group at the Austrian Polar Research Institute APRI

Office Hours

To be arranged by email


You can find the courses on u:find

Research Interests

•    Qualitative, ethnographic, decolonial methods/-ies; (cartographic) storytelling in the context of epistemological and ontological positionality and of knowledge production and dissemination; transdisciplinarity; interdisciplinarity incl. health research, technology and natural sciences

COVID-19 Pandemic
•    Solidarity in Times of a Pandemic (Projekt SolPan/+); intersectional perspectives on state, collective and individual stances around COVID-19 and public health measures; COVID-19 and new ideas and perceptions of ‘the global’; future making – future thinking as practices in times of lock-down and strict public health measures

‚Critical raw materials‘ for the ‚green’ transition and the European Green Deal
•    Human-environment relations, more-than-humans, built environment and infrastructures
•    Multiscalar state and corporate policymaking regarding land-use and extractive industry practices in the context of an increased demand of so called ‘transition minerals’
•    Indigenous self-determinations; ‘green colonialism‘ and neocolonial  ‚taken-for-grantedness‘; conflict and forms of protests
•    Dialogue beyond ‘greenwashing’ and ‘dirtying’ the industry (Project Beyond Hot Air)

Regional foci
•    Arctic und sub-Arctic (Canada, Sápmi, Russia/Siberia), Austria in the context of mining in Europe and global supply chains


Gertrude Saxinger’s research at the Department of Political Science’s Centre for the Study of Contemporary Solidarity (CeSCoS) focuses primarily on the COVID-19 pandemic and social and political consequences in the framework of the pan-European consortium project ‘Solidarity in times of a pandemic: What do people do, and why?’, which she co-leads.  The intense cooperation with SolPan+, the Latin American partner consortium, demonstrates for the social sciences that large-scale and simultaneously in-depth commons-cooperation projects hold an immense potential to advance the methods and methodologies around interdisciplinary and transregional collaboration and its outputs.

For over 15 years already, her second focus is mineral extraction in the Arctic. Currently she works on mining for critical raw materials (so called transition minerals) for the implementation of the ‘green’ transition and the European Green Deal. A fundamental question is at the heart of her research: why deem some people on the planet less worth than others and thus must carry the social and ecological costs of mining in order to enable societies elsewhere to strive for reduced CO2 emissions through new modes of energy use.  The global distribution of negative consequences of the ‘green’ transition, thus, is in the center. The persisting (neo)colonial entanglements and questions around planetary justice, humanity and human rights, demonstrate the limits of global governance and highlight the precarious opportunities for implementing strong national/international regulations that would systemize the globally acting mining industry in a way that allows to act beyond ‘greenwashing’ or ignorance and to become a ‘good corporate citizen‘. Gertrude has been working on social dimensions of natural resource extraction since 2007, which also includes fly-in/fly-out operations (FIFO), labour mobility and labour relations as well as ‘Corporate Social Responsibility’ aspects of Siberian transport infrastructures.

Her work includes political ecology, environmental, economic and political anthropology, critical sustainability research, spatial configurations in remote regions and urban development in mono-industrial towns as well as gender and intersectionality from a politico-economic and multiscalar perspective.

Between 2014 and 2019 she has been collaborating with the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun in the framework of the project LACE – Labour Mobility and Community Participation in the Extractive Industries in the Yukon Territory for studying Indigenous long-term relations with the gold and silver mining industry on First Nations’ Traditional Territories. Joint publications are still ongoing. Gertrude is a strong advocate for solidaristic, decolonial research methodologies in Arctic sciences and for co-creation of knowledge that bridges Indigenous knowledge and interests with academic research through true partnership. One of her key methods is ‘community based participatory research’ which reflects her passion for popular science publications for and together with Indigenous rightsholders.

She holds a PhD in Social Anthropology, has completed the University of the Arctic’s PhD program in Pan-Arctic Extractive Industries Studies and is a founding faculty member (and board member) of the Austrian Polar Research Institute (APRI). Since 2020 she is affiliated to the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of Bern/Switzerland, where she reveiced her Venia Docendi. Between 2015 and 2020 Gertrude has been adjunct faculty member at the Yukon Research Centre/Yukon University in Whitehorse/Canada.

Currently she is coordinator of the IASSA working group on Gender in the Arctic and of the Regional Group Circumpolar Regions and Siberia/German Association of Cultural and Social Anthropologists. Between 2013 and 2022 she was Austrian representative to the International Arctic Science Committee (IASC). Since 2015 she is a member of the Horizon 2020 coordination action EU PolarNet (part I and II), which has the mandate to develop and implement the EU Commission’s Polar Research Programme.


•    2007    Dissertation Award for migration studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences ÖAW

•    2014    Recognition Award, Dr. Maria Schaumayer Stiftung

Projects (selection)

Beyond Hot Air – Conversations around critical raw materials supply for the ‘green’ transition (2023-2024)

SolPan/SolPan+ Solidarity in Times of a Pandemic – What do people do and why? (2020-ongoing)

CO-CREATE Comprehensive Policy-Brief to the EU Commission. Roadmap to Decolonial Arctic Research (2022-2023). Service contract project funded by EU-PolarNet: publication and video summary

DÁVGI (aiming at just knowledge exchange and co-creation in the Arctic). Funded by the European Environment Initiative (EURENI)

EU PolarNet (EU Horizon 2020) 2020-02023 (part I: 2015-2020)

Labour Mobility and Community Participation in the Extractive Industries  – Yukon (SSHRC Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada/Yukon Government) 2014-2019

Configurations of Remoteness: Entanglements of Humans and Transportation Infrastructure in the Baykal-Amur Mainline (BAM) Region  (FWF Austrian Science Fund) 2015-2020

Lives on the Move: Long-distance commuting in the Petroleum Industry of the Russian Arctic (FWF Austrian Science Fund) 2010-2015

Media and popular science activities (selection)

ORF Radio Ö1, Punkt eins: „Polarregion im Umbruch – Aktuelles aus der Arktisforschung“. 23. 02.2023, host: Johann Kneihs, guests: Birgit Sattler (glaciology/biology) and Gertrude Saxinger (anthropology) (in German)

Her personal YouTube Channel includes various videos from her fieldwork as well as the 15min length film “Mining on First Nation Land” that has been produced together with the First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun.

Life of BAM (Baikal Amur Mainline), cartographic storytelling in Siberia

This is a guide, written by you... (Yukon Territory) (German)

University of Vienna Podcast Audimax 9: Kulturanthropologie (German)

Brochures and smaller, illustrated books

LACE Projekt:  1) Mobile Workers Guide - Fly-in/Fly out and rotational shift work, which is a “survival guide” for mobile workers and their families 2) Dän Hùnày – Our Peoples‘ Story. First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Elders‘ Memories and Opinions on Mining, (in English)

CoRe Projekt  1) Tokma – a small village off the big roads (in Russian), 2) Life of BAM (Baikal Amur Mainline Eisenbahn) (in Russian)

Publications (selection)

For full publication list see Researchgate and Google Scholar and ORCID (0000-0003-1428-2689).

Isabella M. Radhuber, Amelia Fiske, Ilaria Galasso, Nicolai Gessl, Michael D. Hill, Emma R. Morales, Lorena E. Olarte-Sánchez, Alejandro Pelfini, Gertrude Saxinger & Wanda Spahl (2023) Toward global citizenship? People (de)bordering their lives during COVID-19 in Latin America and Europe, Global Public Health, 18:1, DOI: 10.1080/17441692.2023.2285880

Zimmermann, B.M., Paul, K.T., (…) Saxinger, G. et al. (2023) The social and socio-political embeddedness of COVID-19 vaccination decision-making: A five-country qualitative interview study from Europe, Vaccine, 41(12),2084-2092, doi.org/10.1016/j.vaccine.2023.02.012. (Open Access)

Saxinger, G., N. Krasnoshtanova and G. Illmeier (2023) “Stuck in between: Transportation Infrastructure, Corporate Social Responsibility and the State in a small Siberian Oil Town”. In: John Ziker, Vladimir Davydov, Jenanne Ferguson (eds.) Siberian Worlds. London: Routledge. 378-392

Zimmermann BM, Wagenaar H, Kieslich K, Prainsack B, (…) Saxinger G et al. (2022) Democratic research: Setting up a research commons for a qualitative, comparative, longitudinal interview study during the COVID-19 pandemic. SSM Qual Res Health, 2, 100158. doi: 10.1016/j.ssmqr.2022.100158.

Jasser, M., Radhuber, I., Prainsack, B., Kieslich, K, Saxinger, G. (2022) Was kann die Wissenschaft bei Pandemien leisten? Ein Plädoyer für eine interdisziplinäre, transregionale und solidarische Wissenschaft. Sozialwissenschaftliche Rundschau. 62(1), 79 -98.

Saxinger, G., Sancho Reinoso, A., & Wentzel, S. I. (2022). Cartographic storytelling: reflecting on maps through an ethnographic application in Siberia. Fennia - International Journal of Geography. https://doi.org/10.11143/fennia.110918 (Open Access)

S. Gartler, J. Hogan Saxinger, G., (2022) “The Living Culture House. First Nation of Nacho Nyäk Dun Cultural Revitalization and the Making of A Cultural Centre“. In: Friedrich, D., Hirnsperger, M., Bauer S. (eds). More than Nature. Research on Infrastructure and Settlements in the North. Vienna/Berlin: LIT, 301-324. www.lit-verlag.de/isbn/978-3-643-91218-3 (Open Access)

Saxinger, G., (2022) “The FIFO Social Overlap – Success and Pitfalls of Long-Distance Commuting in the Mining Sector’. In: Southcott, C., F. Abele, D. Natcher, B. Parlee (eds.) Extractive Industry and the Sustainability of Canada’s Arctic Communities. Montreal: McGill Queens University Press, 123-145.

Saxinger, G., (2021) “Social Dimensions of Mining in Yukon Territory”. In: Glomsrød, S., Aslaksen, I., Duhaime, G. (eds.) The Economy of the North 2020. Oslo: Arctic Council Secretariat, 116-118. oaarchive.arctic-council.org/handle/11374/2611  OA

Doering, N. N., […] Saxinger, G, et al. (2022). Improving the relationships between Indigenous rights holders and researchers in the Arctic: an invitation for change in funding and collaboration.Environmental Research Letters 17(6): 065014. DOI 10.1088/1748-9326/ac72b5 (Open Access)

Alexis Sancho-Reinoso, Gertrude Saxinger, Christoph Fink, Olga Povoroznyuk, Sigrid Irene Wentzel, Gertraud Illmeier, Peter Schweitzer, Natalia Krasnoshtanova & Vera Kuklina (2022) Mapping hierarchies of mobility in the Baikal Amur Mainline region: a quantitative account of needs and expectations relating to railroad usage, Polar Geography, DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2022.2046195  (Open Access)

Saxinger, Gertrude, Natalia Krasnoshtanova & Gertraud Illmeier (2021). "Neglected Transportation Infrastructure: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Russian State in a Small Siberian Oil Town", Sibirica, 20(3), 1-45. Open Access https://www.berghahnjournals.com/view/journals/sibirica/20/3/sib200302.xml 

Saxinger, Gertrude (2021) “Rootedness along the way: meaningful sociality in petroleum and mining mobile worker camps”, Mobilities, 16:2, 194-211. Open Access DOI: 10.1080/17450101.2021.1885844

Saxinger, Gertrude (2021) “Social Dimensions of Mining in Yukon Territory”, In The Economy of the North 2020, S. Glomsrød, I. Aslaksen, G. Duhaime (eds.) Oslo: Statistics Norway. 116-117. Open Access https://www.ssb.no/en/natur-og-miljo/artikler-og-publikasjoner/the-economy-of-the-north-econor-2020

Krasnoshtanova, N./ G. Illmeier/ G. Saxinger (2021) Tokma – malen’koe selo vladi ot bol’shikh dorog (Tokma – a small village off the big roads). Irkutsk: Russian Academy of Sciences. Open Access https://core.univie.ac.at/news/news/tokma-brochure-is-published/?tx_news_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=News&tx_news_pi1%5Baction%5D=detail&cHash=d271a8b552164748bfb451265ceef010

Saxinger, Gertrude (2020) “Multilokalität als Normalisierungspraxis und synchrone Raumintegrationsleistung bei Fernpendelnden in der Erdöl- und Erdgasindustrie in Russlands Arktis” (Multilocality as practices of normalisation and synchronic spatial integration among long-distance commuters (FIFO workers) in the Arctic Russian oil and gas industry”. In Multilokale Lebensführung und räumliche Entwicklungen, Danielzyk, R. et al. (eds.) Hannover: ARL Academy for Spatial Research and Planning, 322-328. Open Access https://shop.arl-net.de/media/direct/pdf/fb/fb_013/44_saxinger.pdf

Kuklina, Vera/Saxinger, Gertrude/Povoroznyuk, Olga (2019) “Power of Rhythms – Trains and Work along the Baikal-Amur Mainline (BAM) in Siberia”, Polar Geography, 42(1), 18-33. Open Access DOI: 10.1080/1088937X.2018.1564395

Saxinger, Gertrude and First Nation of Na-Cho Nyäk Dun (2018) “Community Based Participatory Research as a Long-Term Process: Reflexions on Becoming Partners in Understanding Social Dimensions of Mining in the Yukon”, The Northern Review, 47, 187–207. Open Access https://thenorthernreview.ca/index.php/nr/article/view/758

Saxinger, Gertrude (2017) “Infinite Travel: The Impact of Labor Conditions on Mobility Potentials in the Northern Russian Petroleum Industry”. In New Mobilities and Social Changes in Russia's Arctic Regions, Laruelle, M. (ed.) London: Routledge, 85-103.

Saxinger, Gertrude (2016) Unterwegs. Mobiles Leben in der Erdgas- und Erdölindustrie in Russlands Arktis /Mobil’nyy obraz zhizni vakhtovykh rabochikh neftegazovoy promyshlennosti na Russkom Kraynem Severe /Lives on the Move – Long-distance Commuting in the Northern Russian Petroleum Industry. With an extended summary in English and Russian. Wien, Weimar, Köln: Böhlau. 206 pp. Open Access https://www.vr-elibrary.de/doi/book/10.7767/9783205201861

Saxinger, Gertrude (2016) “Lured by oil and gas: labour mobility, multi-locality and negotiating normality & extreme in the Russian Far North”, The Extractive Industries and Society Journal 3/1, 50-59. DOI 10.1016/j.exis.2015.12.002

Saxinger, Gertrude, E. Öfner, E. Shakirova, M. Ivanova, M. Yakolev, E. Gareyev (2016) “Ready to go! The next generation of mobile highly skilled workforce in the Russian petroleum industry”. The Extractive Industries and Society 3(3), 627-639. DOI 10.1016/j.exis.2016.06.005

Saxinger, Gertrude, A. Petrov, V. Kuklina, N.  Krasnostanova, D. Carson (2016) “Boom back or blow back? Growth strategies in mono-industrial resource towns – “east” & “west””. In Settlements at the Edge: Remote human settlements in developed nations. Taylor, A., Carson, D., Ensign, P., Huskey, L., Rasmussen, R. and Saxinger, G. (eds.) Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 49-74.

Saxinger, Gertrude (2015) “’To you, to us, to oil and gas’ – The symbolic and socio-economic attachment of the workforce to oil, gas and its spaces of extraction in the Yamal-Nenets and Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Districts in Russia”. Fennia- International Journal of Geography. 193:1, 83–98. Open Access DOI10.11143/45209