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.
What is your main sociological field of study and what sparked your interest in it?
I am especially interested in the relationships between nature and society(ies) and the non-sustainability of these. Climate Change, peak oil, the loss of bio-diversity are some of the relevant key words here. The depletion of natural resources and the ongoing damages of ecological systems have manifold social impacts, which are closely related to social inequality on the national and global scale. Thus environmental justice, post-growth societies, a good life for all, or more general, socio-ecological transformation towards sustainable development are to me the most important challenges of our time.
What characterizes your scientific work?
Sociological research and training in Austria is not only done by universities, but also by extra-university institutions, which are an important pillar within the academic sociological landscape. One mayor player in this field is the Institute for Advanced Studies (IHS) in Vienna, which in addition to sociology hosts departments of economics and political sciences. The IHS was founded in 1963 by the sociologist Paul Lazarsfeld und the economist Oskar Morgenstern – both of them Jewish migrants during the Nazi-dictatorship – with funding from the Ford-Foundation. The aim of the institute was then to (re-)establish the social sciences in Austria and to further develop the IHS to a leading social science center.
Today the Department of Sociology consists of 25 researchers, 15 student assistants and 8 doctoral students. The organizational structure of the department rests on three pillars; two thematically focused research groups (EQUI and STEPS) and the postgraduate training program on the “Sociology of Social Practices”. The postgraduate training program is the interrelating link between the other two departmental units. Continue reading