Key Research Areas

International Security

Our research focuses on how and by whom security, insecurity, and risks are defined and negotiated, who the referent objects are, and whose security is considered to matter in the process. Drawing on critical approaches in security studies, including feminist and postcolonial perspectives, we analyze security policies, institutions, technologies, and practices. We follow a broad concept of security that allows for the inclusion of different aspects of security (e.g. social, economic, environmental) and reflect on the (re)production of insecurities and violence by and through security politics.

Countries and regions:
EU, USA, Turkey, and the Middle East

  • International Security Regimes and Institutions
  • Critical Security Studies
  • Privatization of Security
  • Gender, Peace, and Security
  • EU Border Security


Democracy, Authoritarianism and the State

Formal and informal non-state actors are playing an increasingly important role in foreign and domestic politics, transforming the character and functioning of statehood and democracy. The manifestations and effects of this proliferation of political agency have been particularly drastic in countries of the periphery, in Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the Middle East. Linked to these processes is the rise of neo-authoritarianism, populist nationalism, illiberal tendencies as well as neoliberal transformations of the state. These pose serious challenges to liberal democracy, democratic values and institutions, and the normative power of the EU. Our research explores the factors that support the emergence and maintenance of new autocracies, the legitimation of authoritarian power, as well as oppositional forces, including civil society actors and social movements.

Countries and regions:
EU, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA Region

  • (De)Democratisation Processes
  • The Rise of Neo-Authoritarian Systems
  • Social Movements and Civil Society Actors
  • Neoliberal State Transformations


Europe and its Neighbourhood

Europe’s immediate neighbourhood has undergone tremendous transformations and so has the EU itself. In our research, we switch sides and examine the EU’s role, its policies, and discourses from the perspective of candidate countries for EU membership and other neighbouring countries. Regional expertise encompasses Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA-region. We investigate the future of EU-enlargement, including the limits of conditionality and the EU as normative power. We focus on the role of domestic dynamics, power balances, elite settlements, social movements, and non-state actors.

Countries and regions:
EU, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, Turkey, and the MENA Region

  • EU Neighbourhood Policy
  • Normative Power of the EU
  • Cultural Norms and International Politics
  • EU Relations with Turkey, the Balkans, and the MENA-region
  • Border Politics


Political Conflict, Violence and Extremism

We study the manifestations, features, processes, and broader societal implications of extremism, terrorism, and political violence, as well as prevention, deradicalisation and rehabilitation measures and programs. Our work is interdisciplinary and combines International Relations and Security Studies with concepts and theories from adjacent disciplines such as criminology and socio-psychology. We carry out basic and applied research on these phenomena in Austria, Europe and relevant regions such as North Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia.

Countries and regions:
Austria, Western Europe, USA, MENA Region

  • (De)Radicalisation Processes
  • Terrorism and Anti-Terror-Policies
  • Peace and Conflict Studies


Global Politics of Innovation

The focal area analyzes “innovation” as a guiding value in contemporary societies and international relations. As a powerful idea and global imperative, innovation presents a contested terrain of power struggles and confrontations over global leadership and international economic hegemony, over benefits and risks of new technologies, as well as over collective imaginations of the “good society” more generally. Our research focuses on diverse sites and topical fields where innovation is pursued and negotiated, such as the digitalization of society, cyber security, (inter-)national technology transfers, and global health governance.

Countries and regions:
EU, USA, MENA Region

  • Sociotechnical Visions of the Innovation Society
  • Innovation, Governance and Statehood
  • Innovation and Global (In)Security