Research group "Figurations of Inequality" 2019

Inequality is currently an issue in society and the media just as in various areas of social, economic and cultural history. This research group focuses on four social and historically especially relevant dimensions of inequality: property relations, urban-rural relations, gender orders and work conditions.

 The aim of the research group is to create, proceeding from these thematic focuses in a concrete cooperation, multidimensional models of inequality as a transdisciplinary figuration. Figurations (in reference to Norbert Elias) make social processes as dynamic interweavings of relationships and interdependencies identifiable and visible, and allow them in their different dynamics to be placed in relation to each other. The central question aims at understanding which interweavings of relationships and interdependencies can be made out among the inequality figurations in property relations, urban-rural relations, gender orders and work conditions, and how they can be grasped conceptually and structured.

 The research group intends to intensify exchange within the Faculty, pool expertise and harness this for research grant proposals and the concrete implementation of research designs. In the research group a deepened theoretical-methodological and conceptual foundation for current and planned projects as well as future joint activities and events should be created. Special emphasis is placed on the active involvement of master’s students, doctoral candidates and post-docs.

 Currently synergies exist with the Research Networks “Economy and Society in Historical and Cultural Perspective” and “Global History”, with the COST Action "Worlds of Related Coercions in WorK" (WORCK), led by Juliane Schiel from the Department of Economic and Social History, with the FWF research projects "The Role of Wealth in Defining and Constituting Kinship Spaces from 16th to the 18th Century" (2020-2023) and "Noble Siblings: Wealth Arrangements & Social Configurations from the Sixteenth to the Eighteenth Century" (start in October 2021), led by Margareth Lanzinger from the Department of Economic and Social History as well as with the currently forming work group “urban_land_scapes” (with Brigitta Schmidt-Lauber and Manuel Liebig) and the Young Independent Researcher Group “Space – Spacial Competition and Economic Policies, Discourses, Institutions and Everyday Practices”, approved by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF), with Georg Wolfmayr and Ana Rogojanu at the Department of European Ethnology.

In 2023-24, the research group Figurations of Inequality is a cooperation partner of the FSP Global History (, which will focus on intersecting inequalities from a global perspective as its annual theme. The focus is on various dimensions of inequality such as property relations, urban-rural divides, gender orders and labour relations.