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 fellow: Danyal Maneka

Duration: June 2018 – May 2020

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

Dr. Elmar Flatschart (project leader)

Digital Participation - Kampagnensoftware

Duration: March 2018 – September 2018

Third-party funded by: FFG Innovationscheck - PLUS

Dr. Tamara Ehs (Project leader)

Das politische Gericht. Richterbestellung und Rechtsprechung im Vergleich

Duration: February 2018 – January 2020

Third-party funded by: OeNB – Anniversary Fund

Senior Lecturer Dr. Karin Liebhart (Projekt leader)

The Austrian Presidential Elections 2016: A Case study in Visual Political Storytelling

Project fellows: Petra Bernhart

Duration: February 2017 – January 2019

Third-party funded by: OeNB – Anniversary Fund

Further information:

Univ.-Ass. Dr. Gundula Ludwig (Project leader)

The body of Demos

Duration: July 2015 – June 2018

Third-party funded by: ÖAW – Austrian Academy of Sciences (APART – Austrian Programme for Advanced Research and Technology – grant)

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Oliver Marchart (Project leader)

Making Democracy. Aushandlungen von Freiheit, Gleichheit und Solidarität unter Jugendlichen

Project fellows: Ines Garnitschnig, Elke Rajal

Duration: September 2017 – September 2019

Third-party funded by: Sparkling Science - a programme of Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy. Programme organisation: Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD-GmbH) - OeAD

Further information

Dr. Katharina T. Paul (Project leader)

InsSciDE – Inventing a shared Science Diplomacy for Europe

Project fellow: Myriam Gatisch, MA

Duration: January 2018 – December 2021

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

Further information:


KNOW-VACC: Knowledge production and governance in vaccination policy

Duration: March 2017 – February 2021

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

Dr. Isabella Radhuber (Project leader)

Intercultural Democracies: Power and Resource Flows

Duration: September 2017 – September 2018

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

This project unpacks the power relations that accompany (and enable) intensifying resource extraction in the intercultural democracies of the Andes. These power relations interact with biophysical (i.e. material and energy) flows, analyzed through two mining related conflicts in Cuenca Poopó (Bolivia) and Intag (Ecuador). How do these multi-scale power relations around resource appropriation in form of ecological and metabolic drivers enable or limit different groups’ democratic participation? Which competing socio-political forces and resource flows define these multi-scale power relations and vice versa? How do these power relations enable or affect intercultural democracies through indigenous groups’ democratic participation? A conceptual framework for postcolonial settings has been developed, incorporating categories of space, difference and power relations and shall contribute to specifying postcolonial political dimensions in political ecology. The categories of difference and democratic pluralism enable a better understanding of societies in postcolonial settings, particularly of intercultural democracies.

Host institutions:
• Department of Geography, University of Cambridge (Professor Sarah Radcliffe)
• Institute of Environmental Science and Technology, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Professor Giorgos Kallis and Professor Joan Martinez Alier)

Further information about the Erwin Schrödinger-Fellowship by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF)

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

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

Project fellows: 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


Politics of Belonging in Spaces of Conviviality. Qualitative Analysis of Biographic Narratives and Accounts of Local Space of Autochthon Muslims in Zurich and Vienna

Project fellows: Christoph Novak

Other supervisor: Matteo Gianni (Département de science politique et relations internationales, University of Geneve)

Duration: May 2016 – April 2019

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


INSIDE the Deportation Gap - Social Membership for Non-Deported Persons

Project fellows: Ilker Ataç, Theresa Schütze

Duration: January 2015 – May 2018

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

Further information

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

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

Project fellows: Syntia Hasenöhrl

Duration: October 2016 – September 2019

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.


MEET (Media Education for Equity and Tolerance)

Project fellows: Fanny Müller-Uri, Benjamin Opratko

Duration: December 2016 – November 2018

Third-party funded by: EU – European Union (Erasmus+ Programme)

Further information:



Univ.-Prof. Dr. Saskia Stachowitsch (Project leader)

Integrating Feminist International Relations and Feminist State Theory – The Case of Gender and Military Privatization

Project fellow: Astrid Bergmann, BA (since January 2018), Josefa Maria Stiegler, BA MSc MA (until December 2017)

Duration: May 2013 – June 2019

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

Further information

Dr. Alice Vadrot (Project leader)

Improving Biodiversity Knowledge - Conflicts & Controverses

Duration: May 2015 – June 2018

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

This project aims at investigating the epistemic and political dimensions of emerging institutional arrangements at the interface between conservation science and biodiversity politics and policies. Specific emphasis is placed on institutional arrangements related to: 1) the integration of in-situ observation and remote-sensing, 2) the development of Essential Biodiversity Variables (EBVs), and 3) the establishment of a global observation network for biodiversity. The project combines participant observation with semi-structured interviews and document analysis to explore the practices of legitimizing and authorizing new concepts (e.g. ecosystem services, essential biodiversity variables, biocultural diversity) emerging within international negotiation settings related to the conservation of global biological diversity.

Further information