Meet the LOC – Brigitte Aulenbacher

In our series “Meet the LOC” we would like to introduce you to the members of our Local Organizing Committee. The previous entries in this series can be found here.  

Picture of Brigitte AulenbacherWhat is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?

The main issues of research are the ongoing marketization of the society, social inequalities and justice. Coming from different strands of Marxian, Weberian, Critical Sociology, the classical as well as contemporary approaches including feminist and intersectional revisions, I am combining sociological theory, sociology of work and care, organization and gender studies. Issues of empirical research are the marketization of the universities, the commodification and decommodification of care and care work, precarity and the rationalization of everyday life. In 2014 I edited the special issue of the journal Soziale Welt “Sorge: Arbeit, Verhältnisse, Regime – Care: Work, Relations, Regimes” together with Birgit Riegraf and Hildegard Theobald; in this collaboration with forty authors from all around the world I have learned a lot about the relations between the local and regional, national, trans- und international and global dimensions of contemporary societal change.

What characterizes your scientific work?

Coming from the above mentioned traditions theory, empirical research and practice have to be seen as related. In my own work I connect them in a double sense: in research dealing with them as enriching perspectives for each other and switching between sociological theory on the one hand and, in the sense of a public sociology, collaborations with trade unions, care initiatives or other civil society movements on the other hand. Against the notion (offered us by the marketized and bolognarized university) that good scientific knowledge is standardized and specialized, I insist on broad qualifications in research as well as in teaching. And teaching in the sense of inviting students to participate in research and find their own ways of sociological work belongs to the tasks I don’t want to miss.

What is the main professional activity you are engaged in?

Currently I am the speaker of the section Feminist Theory and Gender Studies FTh.G in the Austrian Sociological Association. And as member of ISA and RC 02, 19, 30 and 32 I am honored to serve as vice chair of the LOC, a task that allows me to support all the work done for a successful forum and to get new insights in the global discussion.

What are your next projects or publications?

My next empirical research will be done on precarity and on care, in both cases combined with the question of how commodification, transnationalization, social inequalities influence the quality of labor and labor conflicts. But first, in 2015 the monograph “Feministische Kapitalismuskritik” (to translate: Feminism Confronts Capitalism), which I wrote together with Birgit Riegraf and Susanne Völker, as well as the first German book of Michael Burawoy entitled “Public Sociology. Öffentliche Soziologie gegen Marktfundamentalismus und globale Ungleichheit” (“Public Sociology against Market Fundamentalism and Global Inequality”), which I am editing together with Klaus Dörre, will be published.

Brigitte Aulenbacher is professor of sociological theory and social analysis and head of the Department of Theoretical Sociology and Social Analysis of the Institute of Sociology at the Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.

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