PhD projects (since 2010)

Current PhD projects:

Buck, Linda


Das Projekt der kur(at)ierten Seele

© Linda Buck, 2019

Complete title: Das Projekt der kur(at)ierten Seele. Die Psyche im Blick der österreichischen Gesundheitspolitik. Ethnographische Analyse der Broschüre „Psychosoziale Gesundheit“ des FGÖ

Supervisor: ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klara Löffler

Description: The health policy focus on "psychosocial health" is a central theme of „Fonds Gesundes Österreich“, Austria's competence center for health promotion and prevention. Research into the category of visibility with reference to Michel Foucault's and Jean-Paul Sartre's theories of the gaze asks how politics organizes and interprets experience, how the subjectivation of "healthy" and "sick" identities takes place within powerful communication relationships, and which orders of visibility are socially constituted in relation to mental illness.

Duration: since 2019

Felix Gaillinger


Urbanes Sitzen. Eine Ethnographische Erkundung materieller Grundlagen und alltäglicher Praktiken der Sozial- und Raumproduktion

Arbeitstitel: Urbanes Sitzen. Eine Ethnographische Erkundung materieller Grundlagen und alltäglicher Praktiken der Sozial- und Raumproduktion

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Kurzbeschreibung: Dem Dissertationsvorhaben möchte es gelingen, ein Modell der Alltagskulturanalyse entlang des Gegenstands und der Praxis des Sitzens zu elaborieren, das sich im Zuge einer ethnographischen Spurensuche und historisch genauen Verortung in Wien schärft. Dadurch konturiert es das Sitzen auf öffentlichen Architektur-Dingen als Moment im urbanen Alltag und fordert prominente und eher abstrakt gehaltene Überlegungen zur Sozial- und Raumproduktion gesellschaftsanalytisch und empirisch gesättigt heraus (vgl. Habermas 1990; Negt/Kluge 1972; Arendt 2020; Bourdieu 1985). Dies bietet die Möglichkeit, Narrative wie den mutmaßlich feindlichen Charakter städtearchitektonischer Gestaltung systematisch zu hinterfragen, ihn zu dezentrieren bzw. in konkreten Situationen zu verorten, und dadurch eine breitere Betrachtung urbaner Alltagsphänomene auch jenseits des Hostile Design-Diskurses zu ermöglichen. Es geht mir um eine gemeinsame Betrachtung der Materialität urbaner Infrastrukturen und ihres erfahrbaren Handlungsaufforderungspotenzials in einer spezifischen Konfiguration von Öffentlichkeit, die alltäglich belebt wird. Konkret frage ich, wie sich die Materialität urbaner Infrastrukturierung des Sitzens und ihre Nutzung gegenseitig bedingen, und welche Formen städtischer Sozialität und Raumproduktion dabei alltäglich hervorgebracht werden. Damit schlage ich einen Mittelweg ein, der „weder von einer deterministischen Umwelt-Prägung des Stadtbewohners [ausgeht], genauso wenig wie von rein symbolisch geprägten Praxen ohne Verbindung zum physisch-materiellen Stadtraum“ (Klausner/Heibges 2016, S. 9).

Laufzeit: seit Oktober 2022

zur Person

Hazod, Thassilo


Family Farming: economic practices of agricultural direct marketing

Complete title: Family Farming: economic practices of agricultural direct marketing

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-LauberUniv.-Prof. Dr. Margareth Lanzinger 

Description: In my ethnographic research, I focus on farms with direct marketing that represent themselves as family businesses. Why do people decide to run a farm nowadays, what motivations explain the focus on direct marketing and to what extent is this model based on the search for a good life, the search for identity or rather the necessity of earning a living? Based on a historical understanding of this form of economy and life, I ask about transformations and continuities in the relationship between economy and family. The investigation takes place in the Wels-Land region (Upper Austria). As a historically, regionally and politically contextualized micro-study it is intended to contribute to discussions about current changes in agriculture, concepts of family and changes in the market.

Duration: since Oktober 2022

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Karataş, Işıl


Analogue Visual Abstractions, Techno-Aesthetic Emotions and Eco-Cinematic Materiality

Complete title: Analogue Visual Abstractions, Techno-Aesthetic Emotions and Eco-Cinematic Materiality

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Alexa Färber

Description: What are the historical and contemporary modes of reflexive self-representation through analogue experimental filmmaking and how can we elaborate them as a microstructural everyday practice that is situated at the crossroads of cultural critique, medium-specificity and alternative methods of audio-visual production? My research aims at grasping experimental filmmaking as a countercultural practice of everyday life while questioning the interrelations of self-representation and analogue filmmaking in social, economic and artistic dimensions. As a heuristic concept, I work with the notion of autoethnographic modes of analogue filmmaking that I trace from the 1960s until today.

Duration: since April 2020

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Liebig, Manuel


Alltagskonflikte. Eine ethnographische Studie in städtischen Quartieren

Complete title: Alltagskonflikte. Eine ethnographische Studie in städtischen Quartieren

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: The dissertation project investigates everyday cultural conflicts in local, urban spaces. The research topics are found in everyday dimensions of living together (use of public space; neighborhood conflicts in the living environment). With an actor-centered perspective, reflections on social positioning as well as value and moral concepts in everyday life are analyzed. By means of an in-depth ethnographic view of everyday negotiations, a picture of the social climate will be drawn in case studies and it will be explored how an increasing "acceptability" of right-wing positions comes about.

Duration: since March 2018

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Riedel, Sally Mary


Black Muslim Narratives and Urban Citizenship Practices

Complete title: Black Muslim Narratives and Urban Citizenship Practices

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Alexa Färber

Description: In addition to a spatial and socio-analytical perspective of acts of citizenship of West African mosque associations in urban spaces, a central research concern of my dissertation is the investigation of the urban everyday realities of young adults socialized in Hamburg who position themselves as Black and Muslim. The focus is on the analysis of how othering processes are experienced in the entanglement with various structural relations of domination and oppression and which positioning fields and practices of self-empowerment are applied at the individual and organizational level (agency).

Duration: since 2019

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Completed PhD projects:

Meloni, Greca Nathascia


Making Honey - Making Identity

Complete title: Making Honey - Making Identity. Policies and beekeeping in Sardinia (Italy)

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: The project research Making Honey - Making Identity. Policies and beekeeping in Sardinia (Italy) uses a multimodal approach to investigate the relationship that beekeepers establish with the bees. The fieldwork seems to suggest that doing beekeeping represents an intellectual work that enable beekeepers to elaborate different understanding of the Sardinian identity. Finally, the research highlights how the tensions and conflicts between beekeepers and policymakers on the issues of biodiversity protection and environmental resource management are linked with the processes of identity construction.

Duration: 2023

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Dlabaja, Cornelia


The contested city

© Luiza Puiu, 2019

Complete title: The contested city - Spatial transformation and negotiation of Venice in times of overtourism

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: The project investigates how overtourism has transformed Venice in recent decades. The analysis focuses on the negotiation of space between the city administration, the political actors and the local citizens' initiatives, who claim their "right to the city" through protests and who work for the preservation of the world heritage, the lagoon and better working as well as living conditions. The empirical basis is provided by several months of field research and digital ethnography, which is supplemented by media analyses.

Duration: 2019-2023

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Dr. Johler, Birgit


Das Volkskundemuseum in Vienna in times of political upheaval

© Alex Kubik, 2016

Complete title: Das Volkskundemuseum in Vienna in times of political upheaval

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: The Folklore Museum in Vienna from 1918 until shortly after 1945 is the focus of the dissertation. On the basis of archive and collection holdings, and from an ethnographic, cultural-analytical and museum-scientific point of view, the work deals with museum and scientific positioning, and institutional developments in the context of political periods and historical ruptures. Particularly by analysing museum practice and the various networks, orientations, traditions, continuities, transformations and breaks in the content of the museum and its actors become visible.

Duration: Completion of the dissertation 2017

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Dr. Nimführ, Sarah


Living in the Limboscape

© 2019, Marcell Nimführ

Complete title: Living in the Limboscape. Acts of belonging in the EUropean border regime in the context of non-deportation

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: Between 2015-2018, the dissertation project investigated the living situation of refugees who cannot be deported at the EU external border Malta within the framework of an ethnographic border regime analysis. From a micro-analytical perspective and with a multi-actor approach, the negotiations of non-deportability were addressed. The work was carried out at the intersection of science and engagement.

Duration: 2014 - 2020

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Priv.-Doz. Dr. Dr. Paolo Raile MSc


Power and Rivalry in Letters

Complete Title in German: Macht und Rivalität in Briefen. Eine Analyse der Korrespondenzen tiefenpsychologischer Vereinigungen im Zeitraum von 1902 bis 1938.

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Mag. DDr. Bernd Rieken

Description: At the beginning of the 20th century, letters were the primary medium for long-distance communication. Sigmund Freud, Alfred Adler, Ernest Jones, Carl Gustav Jung, Erwin Wexberg, and other members of psychodynamic associations not only discussed psychodynamic topics in these correspondence letters, which not only supplemented oral conversation but often replaced it due to the distances involved, but above all conveyed and negotiated power relations and rivalries in them. Rivalries emerged not only within the psychoanalytic and individual psychological communities, but also between these two groups. Based on the detailed analysis of 59 letters, the power structures and rivalries are explored in detail and conclusions are drawn for the present day.

Duration: 2019-2022

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Dr. Rogojanu, Ana


Aushandlungen des Bauens – Gebrauch des Gebauten

Complete title: Aushandlungen des Bauens – Gebrauch des Gebauten. Zwei Wohnprojekte in Wien

Supervisor: a. o. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klara Löffler

Description: Based on two community-oriented and participatively developed Viennese housing projects, the dissertation looks at architecture as a "medium of the social". Specifically, it asks how visions of living together are reflected in the architecture of the buildings and what effects the resulting architectural structures have on everyday life. Central themes are the negotiation processes in planning and their long-term effects, the structural framing of everyday living practices and joint activities, and the drawing of material and social boundaries in the projects.

Duration: 2012 - 2017

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Schadauer, Daniela


Mehr als nur ein Bahnhof

Complete title: Mehr als nur ein Bahnhof. Visuelle Strategien bei der Etablierung eines neuen Stadtteils rund um den Hauptbahnhof Wien

Supervisor: ao. Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klara Löffler

Description: The research work is in the field of cultural studies urban research and investigates structures and mechanisms of contemporary urban planning and their visual strategies in the communication around new urban spaces. Within the framework of the research, the planning, production and establishment of the so-called Quartier Belvedere on the site of the former Vienna Südbahnhof and today's main railway station was accompanied by documentary and ethnographic research.

Duration: ---


Schewina, Karen


Food councils and the development of new forms of urban food governance in three European cities.

Complete title: Food councils and the development of new forms of urban food governance in three European cities. A cultural anthropological research on negotiation processes in Amsterdam, Frankfurt and Vienna.

Supervisor: Univ.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Cescription: In food policy councils, actors from civil society, administration and business come together to discuss their ideas for a different food system and to explore the scope for action at city or municipal level. But how do these negotiation processes around food policies and food governance work?

The "anthropology of policy" provides the framework for analyzing these processes and viewing policies as productive, performative and contested (Shore et al. 2011). A comparative approach was chosen for the research project, so that first the structure, decision-making structures, thematic priorities and cooperation with the respective city administrations shortly after the councils were founded in 2017 and 2018 were analyzed and compared.

Participant observation, expert interviews and the evaluation of policy documents form the basis for a further analysis of the strategies that actors use to influence policy processes and implement their vision of change in the food system.

Duration: 2019 - 2023

Dr. Wolfmayr, Georg


„Wels. Es hätte schlimmer kommen können.“

Complete title: „Wels. Es hätte schlimmer kommen können.“ Auf der Suche nach dem guten Lebensort zwischen Stadt und Land in Zeiten der Kulturalisierung

SupervisorUniv.-Prof. Dr. Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber

Description: The dissertation examines with the Upper Austrian middle town of Wels a city "off the map", which is not the center of social and scientific attention. From the 1960s onwards a booming, future-oriented industrial and modern place, Wels can today be understood in the context of culturalization processes as a symbolically shrinking city. This ethnographic work explores the negotiation of city and country, size and smallness, globality and locality by residents and urban institutions.

Duration: 2012-2017

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