News archive

IPW Lecture by Nikolas Rose

The world-leading sociologist and theorist Nikolas Rose (King’s College London; will visit CeSCoS for a week in December 2019. The highlight of his visit will be a lecture on the topic of his latest book, Our Psychiatric Future: Is another psychiatric biopolitics possible?

When: Wednesday 11th December 2019 | 18:00
Aula am Campus, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 1, 1090 Vienna


Psychiatry, since it took its modern form in the mid-nineteenth century, has always been a ‘political’  science - historically in relation to degeneracy and eugenics, mental hygiene, and the management of ‘dangerous individuals’ in the court and psychiatric system’;  today in relation to the ‘economic burden’ of mental ill health, the Global Mental Health Movement seeking to expand Euro-America psychiatry to the Global South, the challenges of mental disorder refugees, migrants and children in the Global North and so forth.   While much focus has been on the emergence of new ‘neurobiological’ styles of thought in psychiatric research, there are signs that a new psychiatric strategy is taking shape. This new biopolitics of psychiatry would focus less on treatment in the clinic, and more on the integration of psychiatry into the domain of public health.  In this talk I will consider the possibilities that psychiatry could become a branch of social medicine, identifying and addressing the forms of social adversity that give rise to mental distress, understanding the pathways by which they act, and transforming the power relations that have always characterised this form of expert knowledge. I will suggest that we are at a potential turning point and outline the possibilities for a new, different and politically progressive psychiatric biopolitics.

Find the poster here.

Barbara Prainsack will hold a talk within the lecture series "Taming the Machines"

On 4. December 2019 Barbara Prainsack will give a talk on "The Value of Data in Healthcare: Beyond Nudging". The talk takes place within the lecture series "Taming the Machines" organised by the Department of Informatics (University of Hamburg). This public lecture series invites internationally renowned scholars to discuss major normative questions related to the design, use and regulation of information technology for a good society.

More information about the lecture series and dates

Barbara Prainsack will give a keynote at the „Nudging and Beyond“ conference in Utrecht, NL

The Nudging and Beyond conference will take place on June 19 & 20 at the University Hall Utrecht (NL).


Barbara Prainsack, Professor of Comparative Policy Analysis at the University of Vienna and King’s College London, and author of Personalized Medicine: Empowered Patients in the 21stCentury (2017)

Eldar Shafir, Professor of Psychology at Princeton University, author of the best-selling book Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, and co-founder of ideas42, a non-profit organization that uses behavioral insights to solve tough societal issues.

Furthermore, the conference will feature a panel session with European policy makers on the ‘state of affairs on nudging in policy-making’ and an international debate on vaccination, as one pressing societal issue with diverging views on the potential role of nudging. Katharina T. Paul will be part of the panel session on vaccination.

Find an interview with Barbara Prainsack and further information here:

Open Round Table on Gene Editing - European Group on Ethics and New Technologies

On 16th October 2019 the event "Open Round Table on Gene Editing" will take place in Brussels and is organised by the European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies. The event is divided into four parts. The first round table deals with Gene Editing in Humans, while the second round table discusses Gene Editing in Animals. Afterwards there will be a round table on Gene Editing in plants, biodiversity and gene drives. The event will conclude with a talk by Barbara Prainsack on "Conclusions: the role of ethics in the governance of new technologies".

Watch the Livestream starting at 16th October at 9 a.m.

Find the programme and further information here.

Seminar with Shiri Shkedi-Rafid "The biopolitics of pregnancy: Prenatal genetic testing in Israel and beyond"

Seminar by Shiri Shkedi-Rafid on "The biopolitics of pregnancy: Prenatal genetic testing in Israel and beyond".

Listen here to the audio recording of the seminar.

The seminar took place on 3 June 2019.

Discussant: Dr Ingrid Metzler (Dept. of Science and Technology Studies, University of Vienna)


Advanced genomic tests are becoming an integral part of clinical care. The main advantage of these tests is their increased detection rate compared to traditional tests. Yet the detailed examination of the genome also means increased probability of identifying variants of uncertain clinical significance and secondary findings (i.e. pathogenic variants not related to the condition for which testing was initiated). Consequently, unlike in the past, when people could choose whether or not to be tested, policy today ranges from full disclosure of all results, to tailoring the results to individuals' request. Using advanced genomic tests carried out in pregnancy, empirical data will be presented about Israeli healthcare professionals', parents', and post-partum women's attitudes toward disclosure policy, as well as their experience with individual choice.  Implication for policy will be discussed whilst comparing practices in various countries.


Bio Shiri Shkedi-Rafid, PhD

Dr Shiri Shkedi-Rafid is the director for the genetic counselling master program at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a principal genetic counsellor at the Hadassah Medical Centre, Jerusalem. In her research, she is focusing on the implementation of advanced genomic technologies into clinical practice with special reference to genomic tests carried out in pregnancy, and cancer genetics.

Shiri achieved a BSc (Hons) in Basic Medical Sciences in 2000 and an MSc in Human Genetics, specializing in genetic counselling (Hons) in 2003, both from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.

In her doctoral work, which was undertaken at the Hebrew University and at King’s College London, she focused on genetic testing in individuals with no family history of the tested condition.

Shiri did her post-doctoral research at CELS (Clinical Ethics and Law at Southampton), UK. She studied health-care professionals’ attitudes towards pre-natal genomic technologies.

Lecture by Ilpo Helén: From apparatuses of security to solidarity machine

On June 6th 2019, 3 p.m. Ilpo Helén (University of Eastern Finland) will hold a lecture on the topic "From apparatuses of security to solidarity machine". He will visit CeSCoS at the deparment as professorial research | solidarity fellow. 

When: June 6th 2019, 3 p.m.
Where: conference room, Department of Political Science, Universitätsstraße 7, 2nd Floor, 1010 Vienna


In my talk, I will examine how two aspects of the Nordic welfare state are aligned with each other: first, functioning of welfare state policy-making and public services as a ‘solidarity machine’ and, second, evolving and maintenance of ‘all-encompassing’ public infrastructure for collection, management and utilization of data on functions of society and its population and members. I analyze Finnish public health care and health insurance as an example Nordic arrangements and practices that make solidarity as if automatic. I examine how a variety of ‘universal’ mechanisms of public health care system both make personal ‘sacrifices’ for common good and other people routinized and automated, and generate an ethos of belonging, equality and reciprocity – also called and ‘generalized trust’ (Bo Stråth) – that ties different walks of society together.  In addition, I show that this requires and allows extensive collection, distribution and utilization health-related data of population, persons and institutions. This, in turn, is dedicated to comprehensive data management machinery, which I see as a key characteristic of the Nordic welfare state.

Barbara Prainsack held a Keynote at the Consent and Truth-Telling Conference

On 10 May 2019, Barbara Prainsack held keynote on "Consent and Truth Telling: A Collective Agency Perspective" at the McGill University.   

This conference, which is organized by the Centre de Recherche en Éthique (CRÉ), aims at bringing together scholars who work in normative ethics, medical ethics and political philosophy to explore the normative significance of consent, its relation to truth-telling, and its role in medical and political contexts.

Further Information

Barbara Prainsack gave the keynote at this inaugural event to a seminar series hosted by the Centre for Personalised Medicine at St Anne’s College, Oxford University, and the NIHR Oxford BRC Partnership for Health, Wealth and Innovation.

When: 21.03.2019 | 8:30 - 16:30
Where: Tsuzuki Lecture Theatre, St Anne's College, 56 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HS, United Kingdom

Further information

The keynote speaker at the workshop is Margaret McMillan (Tufts University). The workshop will also feature a high-profile policy panel chaired by Kunal Sen (UNU-WIDER). This workshop is, amongst others, organised by Lukas Schlögl.

When: 19.-20. September 2019
Where: Vienna
Deadline: 1. April 2019

Download call (pdf)

Barbara Prainsack spoke at the National Italian Bioethics Council

Barbara Prainsack has been invited by the Italian Committee for Bioethics to give a talk on the topic "From Personalised to Precision medicine: What is new?".
The hearing took place on April 11th 2019 at the group of work between the Italian Committee for Bioethics and the Italian Committee for Biosecurity.