Research Projects

Current research projects at the Department.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Ulrich Brand (Project leader)

Social-Ecological Transformation: Industrial Conversion and the Role of Labour (CON-LABOUR)

Project fellows: Heinz Högelsberger, Danyal Maneka, Markus Wissen & Enrico Schicketanz

Duration: June 2018 – September 2020

Third-party funded by: Klima- und Energiefonds (KLIEN)


Mag. Sarah Gold-Ponesch (Project leader)

“Too much mother, not enough professional” or vice versa? How the situated knowledges of feminist academic mothers come to matter

Duration: August 2019 – July 2022

Third-party funding body: DOC stipend of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (ÖAW)

Studies highlight the prevalence of exclusionary and marginalising mechanisms towards mothers in academia. Thereby, a stereotypic image of “the academic” as implicitly male, white, cis-gendered, able-bodied and otherwise privileged gets reproduced by contrasting it with “the mother” as its “other”. While “the academic” signifies the realm of knowledge, mind and reason, “the mother” is ascribed to the sphere of experience, body and emotion. In my dissertation I argue that this modernist binary is created out of and feeds back into what bell hooks calls ‘imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’. Relying on an intersectional feminism that is deeply informed by Black, de- and postcolonial thinkers allows me to disrupt the above-mentioned binary. This means that I trace how knowledge and experience, theory and practice, rationality and emotion travel between and within feminism, academia and motherhood. I do this through engaging with the ‘situated knowledges’ (Donna Haraway) of self-identifying feminist academic mothers (FAMs). Thereby, I aim to answer the following research questions: (1) how do modernist dualisms, created by and reproduced through ‘imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy’, marginalise and exclude FAMs from the realm of academic knowledge production on both discursive and practical levels?; and (2) how do FAMs use their experiences as a basis for subverting these very structures in academia and beyond? In other words, how do the situated knowledges of FAMs allow us to think and live otherwise? Methodologically, I root my work in the experiences and embodied knowledges of FAMs by relying on Grounded Theory. Firstly, I examine essays written by self-defined FAMs from the US, which I then use as starting points to, secondly, conduct and analyse qualitative in-depth interviews with other US-based FAMs. Thereby, my goal is to contribute to a rich body of feminist work criticising the ongoing neoliberalisation of academia as an institution and academic knowledge as its “product”. Since the US lies at the very centre of these developments, it is vital to study its underlying processes on a local level. Ultimately, however, this work aims at informing broader socio-political questions such as: (a) what kinds of knowledges are considered “legitimate” or “relevant” in academia; (b) which discourses, bodies, acts, practices and/or theories are deemed “unprofessional”, “irrelevant” or otherwise inferior; and (c) what kinds of effects does this have on academia as an institution and academic knowledge as its “product”?


Senior Lecturer Dr. Karin Liebhart (Projekt leader)

Responsibility - Freedom of Expression: The World of NGOs - Information und Koordination für Stiftungen, Nicht-Regierungs- und Non-Profit-Organisationen in Österreich (FreeEX)

 

Duration: August 2018 – July 2019

Third-party funded by: European Union - Horizon 2020 - EACEA - Education, Audiovisual and Culture Executive Agency, program: Europe for Citizens


Dr. Katharina T. Paul (Project leader)

InsSciDE – Inventing a shared Science Diplomacy for Europe

Project fellow: Anna Pichelstorfer

Former project fellow: Myriam Gatisch

Duration: January 2018 – November 2021

Third-party funded by: European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program

Further information: http://www.insscide.eu/

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

KNOW-VACC: Knowledge production and governance in vaccination policy

Project assistent: Katharina Riesinger

Duration: March 2017 – November 2021

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – Elise Richter grant


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sieglinde Rosenberger (Project leader)

Violence against women migrants and refugees (GBV-MIG)
GENDER-NET Plus Joint Call in Gender and UN Sustainable Development Goals

Project fellows, University of Vienna: Madita Erdmann, Leila Haj-Abdou, Milena Pieper

Former project fellows, University of Vienna: Beate Gassner

Consortium Members: CRESPPA Université Paris 8 France (PI), National University of Ire-land Gal-way, St. Mary’s University Halifax, Oriental Insitute at Czech Academy of Sciences, University of Vienna, Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies Oslo, Bar-Ilan University Tel Aviv

Duration: March 2019 – December 2021

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a major infringement of women’s human rights, and an obstacle to sustainable development as set out in the SDGs. GBV against migrant and refugee women is wide-spread, but often remains invisible and under-analysed in both academic research and policy-making. This research attempts to understand GBV in the context of migration, analysing the ways in which discriminations and inequalities based on gender, race, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orien-tation, gender identity and age, interact to make certain women more vulnerable to GBV and less able to access support and services for survivors than others do. GBV may be exacerbated by poli-cies aiming to restrict migration, or to increase control of borders, which can push women into adopting dangerous routes to arrive in their country of destination. Conflict and the risks of migra-tion may also render women vulnerable to trafficking and sexual exploitation. Conditions of recep-tion and policies for integration in receiving countries may also lead to increased risk of GBV for migrant and refugee women. But these women are not just “victims”, and their strategies and agency are to be explored. As the Austrian team, we look at narratives and the discourse around GBV against women migrants and refugees, the occurrence of GBV at borders by factoring in impacts of the so-called “Balkan Route”, reception centers, women’s shelters etc. We collect relevant information through inter-views with key informants from international, national and local actors. Research also includes the analysis of international and national policy documents and action plans. What is crucial to the pro-ject is the involvement of participants who have witnessed or are exposed to GBV. The involve-ment of different actors on different (non-)governmental and societal level allows us to identify and analyze the gendered and racialized dynamics and narratives. In sum, while we know that fe-male migrants and refugees are particularly exposed to violence we lack a systematic understand-ing of the underlying dynamics that (re)produce patterns of violence.

Contact: madita.erdmann@univie.ac.at

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

REvolTURN – Managing migrant return through ‘voluntariness’

Project fellow: Reinhard Schweitzer

Duration: October 2018 – September 2020

Third-party funded by: European Commission, Marie Skłodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship (IF)

The European Union and many of its Member States increasingly rely on public policies for the so-called ‘voluntary return’ of irregular migrants and (refused) asylum seekers. Very little is known about how these approaches work in practice and whether they meet stated policy goals and discharge state obligations regarding migrants’ human rights. The project REvolTURN addresses this research gap through a close and comparative analysis of ‘voluntary return’ policies in Austria and the UK, including their adoption, implementation and immediate outcome. It examines 1) how voluntariness of return is constructed and framed in law, policy and public discourse, 2) which notions of voluntariness are crucial for policy implementation, and 3) what impact this has on migrants’ own decision-making about their return. REvolTURN thereby addresses a key priority of the Horizon 2020 work programme: to better manage migration; and will contribute to recent scholarship regarding the in/effectiveness of migration policies and the agency of migrants holding no or highly precarious statuses.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

PETICIPATE – Petitions and Parliamentary Citizens‘ Initiatives: Linking Citizens and Parliament?

Project fellows: Elio Dalpra, Jeremias Stadlmair & Benedikt Seisl

Cooperation partner: Legal, Legislative and Research Services of Austrian Parliament

Duration: March 2018 – August 2020

Third-party funded by: Austrian National Bank, Jubiläumsfonds

Against the backdrop of decreasing support for institutions and actors of representative democracy, instruments of participatory democracy aim to reconnect citizens and political actors. Petitions and Parliamentary Citizens‘ Initiatives (PCIs) enable citizens to submit initiatives to the Austrian Parliament, either by supplying 500 signatures of support (Parliamentary Citizens’ Initiative) or via a Member of Parliament (Petition). Therefore, PCIs broaden the participatory repertoire in the political system of Austria. In the project, we scrutinise the functions of PCIs for different societal groups and actors, such as public mobilisation, issue-specific policy change, or opposition to government. Overall, we want the explore the potential of PCIs for strengthening the linkage between citizens and representative politics on one hand and their function as instrument of political protest on the other hand.

Addressing these research objectives, we collect information on the proponents, content, and parliamentary processing of all PCIs from 1988 to 2017. In a second step, we conduct a process tracing of recent PCIs, including interviews with proponents of PCIs and Members of Parliament and participant observation.

The societal and scientific contribution of the project is threefold: First, it enables a better understanding of the parliamentary process and outcomes of PCIs and a conceptual connection between direct and representative forms of democracy. Second, proponents of PCIs may benefit from information on effects and factors contributing to the success of PCIs collected in this project. Third, we develop propositions for reforming PCIs in Austria.

Further information


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Birgit Sauer (Project leader)

Cultures of Rejection (CuRe)

Project fellows: Benjamin Opratko, Florian Zeller

Duration: January 2019 – December 2021

Third-party funded by: VolkswagenStiftung

CuRe – Cultures of Rejections aims at a deeper understanding of processes of social polarisation, radicalisation and transformation of everyday life that underpin recent surges in nationalism and right-wing populism in Europe. Cultures of rejection are practices, discourses and cultural formations based on values, norms and affects which reject immigration, domestic political elites, institutions of civil society and the media, shifting gender relations, and European integration. The working hypothesis of the project posits that cultures of rejection emerge from experiences of change and crisis, and fuel rejection of both the EU and national democratic systems as well as institutions of civil society, threatening social cohesion and peaceful coexistence. The project seeks to test this hypothesis and analyse which dimensions of transformation and crisis are processed in cultures of rejection, and how meaning is ascribed to them inter-subjectively in different environments. The researchers will assess the situation along the 2015 migration route across Sweden, Germany, Austria, Croatia and Serbia, thoroughly examining work places, digital and socio-spatial environments. The socio-cultural research conducted is complemented with elements of digital ethnography.

Key research questions are:

• How do workers in two industries affected by economic and technological transformation (logistics/transport and retail) reproduce, justify or contradict cultures of rejection in their everyday lives?
• To which experiences of routines, transformation and crisis do employees ascribe meaning via reference to cultures of rejection?
• Which online and offline environments are relevant to the reproduction of cultures of rejection?
• What similarities and differences can account for the composition of cultures of rejection in different spaces and places?

CuRe is funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung’s initiative „Herausforderungen für Europa“ (2019-2021). Project leaders are Manuela Bojadžijev (Leuphana University Lüneburg , Germany), Irena Fiket (University of Belgrade, Serbia), Birgit Sauer (University of Vienna), Sanja Bojanic (University of Rijeka) and Stefan Jonsson (Linköping University).

Further information

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Migrant Children and Communities in a Transforming Europe (MiCREATE) 

Project fellows: Alev Cakir, Mira Liepold, Stella Wolter

Former project fellows: Dovaine Buschmann, Ayse Dursun

Duration: January 2019 – December 2021

Third-party funded by: European Commission Horizon 2020 - SC6-MIGRATION-2018-2019-2020

Lead: Science and Research Center Koper, Slovenia

The project is funded within the framework of Horizon2020, the European Union Research and Innovation program, and is carried out by 15 research institutions from 12 European countries for the duration of 36 months. The goal of the project is to explore the political and institutional framework for migrant children’s social integration at schools in respective country. The research team at the University of Vienna studies the institutional mechanism of social inclusion and exclusion with regard to migrant children in Austria through policy analysis and field research with migrant students, school personnel and political and civil society stakeholders. The context of the research are growing political crises which culminate, not least, in the restructuring of migration regimes. Against this backdrop, the research team is concerned with how the social positions of minor migrants are constructed at the crossroads between political and institutional arrangements regarding asylum and migration on one hand and those regarding child und youth welfare and schooling on the other hand. The research results from Austria shall be coupled with the results of the entire consortium to draw an overall conclusion for Europe.

Further information

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

POP-MED. Political and Media Populism: “Refugee crisis” in Slovenia and Austria

Project fellows, University of Vienna: Otto Penz, Daniel Thiele

Project fellows, The Peace Institute, Ljubljana: Mojca Pajnik (head of the research team in Ljubljana), Emanuela Fabijan, Iztok Šori, Marko Ribać, Mojca Frelih, Neža Kogovšek Šalamon

Partner Institutions: University of Vienna & The Peace Institute, Ljubljana

Duration: January 2019 – December 2021

Third-party funded by: Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS) & Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

This project investigates the nexus between political parties, media and right-wing populism in Austria and Slovenia. Starting point is the so-called “refugee crisis” in 2015.
Historical background is the erosion of “party democracy” and the rise of “populist democracy”, placing media coverage, opinion polls, and public relations experts center stage. These conditions paved the way especially for right-wing populist actors mobilizing against “the elite” and “others”. The large number of refugees fleeing to Europe along the “Balkan route” from crisis areas fuelled this excluding populism. Right-wing populist parties portray refugees as dangerous, culturally deviant and as a threat to national security and the welfare system.
The research project proposes a novel analysis of this “exclusionary populism” between 2015 and 2021. It encompasses the analysis of a) trends in politics and policy making, b) trends in the media and journalistic field with an emphasis on digital media, and c) the related public perception of migration in a comparative perspective. An innovative focus is placed on the mobilization of affects and emotions like fear, anger or (exclusive) solidarity.
The project will apply a mixed method approach, combining critical affective frame analysis of parliamentary debates and media coverage, in-depth interviews of politicians and journalists, quantitative content analysis of online communication and analyses of survey data.

Further information

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Mobilising narratives in a transnational space. New media as a political site for negotiating Malian-diasporic identifications

Project fellows: Syntia Hasenöhrl

Duration: October 2016 – July 2020

Third-party funded by: ÖAW – Austrian Academy of Sciences (Docteam grant)

The PhD project explores the identifications and belongings mobile agents articulate on a Malian-diasporic news portal. It investigates which opportunities for political mobilisation and, thus, agency emerge from such mediated mobilities.


Dr. Meropi Tzanetakis (Project leader)

Dealing with uncertainty on anonymous online drug markets

Duration: November 2017 – October 2020

Third-party funded by: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) – Erwin Schrödinger grant

This project aims to develop an economic sociological approach to understanding the social contours of anonymous drug markets. In recent years, new technological developments on the Internet allow users to proceed with illicit drug transactions with almost completely anonymous identities and locations. At the same time, supply and demand serve to self-regulate and develop a significant and growing drug market that systematically bypasses drug policy. The transformation of drug markets raises questions of governance and individual freedom of communication. It also has a significant effect on drug prevalence, harm reduction and human health. A conceptual framework for understanding this under-researched but increasingly significant phenomenon has yet to be developed. The proposed research project will address this gap by examining how social interactions of cryptomarket users resolve conditions of uncertainty in terms of valuation, competition and cooperation and thereby generate a theoretically informed and empirically grounded understanding of the social dimension of cryptomarkets. Uncertainty arises in market exchange in general, but also under conditions of illegality, and is even more present in an anonymous environment like that found on cryptomarkets.

Cooperating partners: Sveinung Sandberg (University of Oslo) & Nigel South (University of Essex)

Contact: meropi.tzanetakis@univie.ac.at


Ass. Prof. Dr. Alice Vadrot (Project leader)

MARIPOLDATA - The Politics of Marine Biodiversity Data: Global and National Policies and Practices of Monitoring the Oceans

Project fellows: Emmanuelle Brogat, Arne Langlet, Ina Tessnow von Wysocki, Petro Tolochko

Duration: November 2018 – October 2023

Third-party funded by: Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC), established by the European Commission

In order to protect marine biodiversity and ensure that benefits are equally shared, the UN General Assembly has decided to develop a new legally binding treaty under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Marine biodiversity data will play a central role: Firstly, in supporting intergovernmental efforts to identify, protect and monitor marine biodiversity. Secondly, in informing governments interested in particular aspects of marine biodiversity, including its economic use and its contribution to biosecurity. In examining how this data are represented and used, this project will create a novel understanding of the materiality of science-policy interrelations in global environmental politics as well as develop the methodologies to do so. This is crucial, because the capacities to develop and use data infrastructures are unequally distributed among countries and global initiatives for data sharing are significantly challenged by conflicting perceptions of who benefits from marine biodiversity research.

The central objective of MARIPOLDATA is to develop and apply a new multiscale methodology for grounding the analysis of science-policy interrelations in empirical research. An interdisciplinary team, led by the PI, will collect and analyse data across different policy-levels and spatial scales by combining 1) ethnographic studies at intergovernmental negotiation sites with 2) a comparative analysis of national marine biodiversity monitoring policies and practices and 3) bibliometric and network analyses and oral history interviews for mapping the field of marine biodiversity science.

Further information