University of Vienna (UNIVIE)

The University of Vienna is one of the oldest and largest universities in Europe: 19 faculties, 9600 employees including 6800 researchers. It is Austria's largest research and education institution. Currently, around 94,000 national and international students are enrolled. With 175 degree programs, the University of Vienna has the country's most varied study offer.

The Department of Development Studies (DDS) at the University of Vienna was founded in 2010. It originated from the project "International Development", which was initiated in 2002 by a group of lecturers interested in establishing a study program focusing on 'development'. The aim of the Department, which is supported by different Faculties at the University, is the establishment of Development Studies in teaching and research. The premise that 'development' is a phenomenon that can only be taught and analyzed transdisciplinarily is the basis for our work. In our study programs and research activities we focus on social, political, historical, cultural and economic approaches to development and to global and local inequalities. The critical and constructive support of development policy and practice, paired with the goal of fostering new methodological approaches to 'development' also underlie our academic efforts.

Such an approach requires a multidisciplinary team. Our staff members as well as our lecturers have various disciplinary backgrounds. These different knowledge and praxis backgrounds are an important pillar in teaching and research, especially concerning the bridging of research and practice.

An important aspect of our research agenda is the collaboration with other Departments at the University of Vienna, that also focus their research and teaching on the so-called 'global South', development cooperation or 'North-South' relations, in the broadest sense of the terms. Furthermore, we are networking with different partners; working in a broad variety of spheres and regions in order to establish creative partnerships, which help us explore the complex subjects of 'development' and social change, as well as growing local and global inequalities. The aim of the Department is to challenge classical conventions and produce new transdisciplinary approaches and theoretical concepts of 'development' that go beyond disciplinary boundaries.


Petra Dannecker

PETRA DANNECKER has completed studies in Political Science, Sociology and English Literature at Konstanz University, Germany. Already during her studies her main areas of interest were development and gender issues with a regional focus on South and Southeast Asia. Her interest in action oriented approaches and methodological questions got deepened with her scientific localization in development sociology for her PhD at Bielefeld University. Based on a one year field research in Bangladesh her thesis analyzed the integration of the country into the global market focusing especially on the transformations of the national labor market due to export-oriented industrialization and its gendered structure, and the social and political transformation caused by this.

During the time as an assistant professor at the Faculty of Sociology in Bielefeld she broadened her focus as regards region and content. On one hand migration processes within Asia in general, but in particular transnational migration in the so-called South were structuring the research interests. Empirically intensive research in Malaysia and Bangladesh on labor migration between the countries was conducted focusing explicitly on the (re)integration of migrants and the cultural, religious and social changes and developments the new pattern of migration initiates.

On the other hand within the framework of a research project founded by the Volkswagen Foundation the negotiation of development concepts and visions, for example human rights or gender equality, were studied in three regions - East Africa, Southeast Asia and West Africa -, which are undergoing Islamization processes to differing degrees. The focus of this project was to make a significant contribution to empirically grounding globalization theories as well as to develop translocal methodologies. Development was taken as a form of knowledge production through negotiation in translocal spaces constituting new social forms of organization and epistemic communities.

From October 2007 to October 2008 she then worked as Senior Research Fellow at the German Development Institute in Bonn, Germany. She was in charge of the scientific steering and the coordination of the research, financed and supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), as an external expert switching so to speak from science to politics. She wrote internal papers on knowledge transfer between science and politics in the development field and the possibilities and experiences of other donors with North-South Research Networks and Partnerships. During this time she gained interesting insights into the practical side of development cooperation and the difficulties in the relationship between politics and science.

The experiences influenced not only her perspective on development cooperation in general but turned out to be important for teaching since it allows offering more than one perspective on development. Furthermore it helped her to communicate with development actors after coming to Vienna as a visiting professor for Development Sociology in International Development. In 2010 she became Head of the newly founded Department of Development Studies (DDS) and professor for Development Sociology. Her academic interest has increasingly evolved around questions concerning the relationship between migration and development, the dynamics of migration processes as well as a reflection of the conceptualization of development in the current debates on migration and development studies. In the context of these research activities, international networks of scientific cooperation have been built up. Her publications focus on migration processes in Asia in general, female migration in particular and the migration and development nexus. Furthermore she has recently edited books on climate change and gender (2014) and on qualitative methods and methodologies in the field of development studies (2014).

Lists of Publication, CV, etc. can be found here.

Wolfram Schaffar

WOLFRAM SCHAFFAR is professor for Development Studies and Political Science at the Department of Development Studies, at the University of Vienna. Since May 2014, he holds an endowment professorship of the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) at the same department. His research and teaching focuses on: constitutionalism, social movements and democratisation in the Global South; state theory; the social, political and economic development of contemporary Southeast Asia; social security systems; and globalisation. Before coming to Vienna, he has worked as Assistant Professor and Lecturer for Southeast Asian studies at the Institute of Oriental and Asian Studies, at Bonn University (Germany).

In 2008, he has worked as a Fellow at the Faculty of Political Science, and guest lecturer at the Master programme 'International Development Studies' (MAIDS) at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (Thailand). Starting in 2012, he regularly visited the Department of International Relations of the University of Yangon (Myanmar) and worked as guest lecturer, funded by the Open Society Foundation Higher Education Support Programme. Here he was involved in staff training and in the development of curricula for Political Science, and to a lesser extent for Development Studies.

In 2013 he was affiliated to the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV, Leiden, The Netherlands) as senior Research Fellow. Here he was involved in a PhD programme for students from Indonesia who focused on empirical studies of citizenship and democratisation.

Wolfram Schaffar has organised several research seminars for advanced MA students of Southeast Asian Studies and Development Studies at the University of Bonn as well as at the University of Vienna. As part of these research seminars, he planned and facilitated field trips and empirical research modules in several Asian countries, such as Thailand and Myanmar. Wolfram Schaffar is member of the Scientific Council of attac Germany (Global Justice movement), member of the Association of Critical Social Research (AkG), and he has worked for various movements and foundations in the field of development cooperation, such as the Rosa Luxemburg Foundation (Berlin/Hanoi/Yangon), the Friedrich Ebert Foundation (Yangon) and the Open Society Institute (Budapest/Yangon).

His list of publications, CV, etc. can be found here.

Margarete Grandner

MARGARETE GRANDNER studied History, English and American Language and Literature, and Economics at the University of Vienna. She has been a university teacher at the University of Vienna since 2001. Prior to this, she was a guest teacher at the University of Minnesota in 1988, the University of Chicago between 1994 and 2008, and the University of Leiden, the Netherlands, in 2010.

Currently she is working at the Department of Development Studies at the University of Vienna, where she is head of the transdisciplinary MA programme in Development Studies. Margarete Grandner is a specialist of Global History, and has done research on: the history of labour and workers' movements; the history of social policy and the welfare state in the 19th and 20th century; and the history of health systems through the 18th and 20th century.

Judith Ehlert

JUDITH EHLERT is a sociologist by training and received her PhD in Development Studies in 2011. Currently, she holds a postdoc position at the DDS in Vienna. Before joining the department in 2013, she worked as a senior researcher at the Centre for Development Research ZEF at the University of Bonn/Germany, which engages in interdisciplinary development research.

Currently, Judith leads a 3-years research project on the transformation of eating cultures in Vietnam in the context of globalization, funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF). About 8 years of empirical research experience in Vietnam (and partly Cambodia) predate this current project work. Her PhD focused on environmental knowledge and agrarian change in the Mekong Delta/Vietnam and was part of an international and transdisciplinary research project on sustainable water resources management, funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. In the context of this Vietnamese-German consortium she gained intense experience in the design and coordination of field research as well as of interdisciplinary and intraregional (Vietnam/Cambodia) writing workshops and co-publication projects. Besides being involved in the integration of the project results into a water-related information system and knowledge platforms, Judith was enrolled in the communication of the results not only to the academic audience but also to the stakeholders and target groups of this water resources management project. She was also responsible for the design and coordination of a PhD Master Class with international junior scholars working on different thematic fields and from different disciplinary backgrounds on Southeast Asia. The Master Class was held in the context of the 2015-conference of the European Association for Southeast Asian Studies.

She has expertise in teaching courses and lecturing in the thematic fields of food, natural resources and qualitative social science methodology on Bachelor and Master levels, partly in Vietnam. Besides the supervision of Master Students, she is the tutor of a Vietnamese PhD student working on environmental pollution, industrialization and social movements in Vietnam.

Based on her longstanding networks and experience with academic cultures in Vietnam, Judith will be involved in the close cooperation with the Vietnamese consortium partners. This entails the design and implementation of the envisaged capacity-building activities - especially so in the field of qualitative social science methodology.

Her list of publications, CV, etc. can be found here.

Christiane Voßemer

CHRISTIANE VOSSEMER currently works as a University Assistant (pre-doc) at the DDS where she graduated in 2012. Her PhD project applies a translocal research perspective to analyse dynamics of transformation regarding cross-national health care issues in the borderlands of Thailand and Myanmar. In the course of her research she gained experience in employing various qualitative research methods in the South East Asian context and in working with methodologies that aim towards transdisciplinary knowledge production.

She acted as an assistant in the organisation of a qualitative research seminar for MA students in Myanmar, shared her research experience to MA students of the International Development Studies program at Chulalongkorn University (MAIDS) and acted as a guest commentator for the students' field work papers. Next to teaching a transdisciplinary course in health and development in the BA program of the DDS, she has extensive experience as a trainer, lead facilitator and organizer of seminars in non-university settings of development education for adults, and worked for different German development organisations as an intern and as a junior consultant on migration and health issues. She will contribute to the development of transdisciplinary teaching modules on migration and social inequalities, in particular regarding methodological, ethical and practical issues of field research. Next to this, she will assist in designing and organizing the international summer schools.

Her list of publications, CV, etc. can be found here.

Rainer Einzenberger

RAINER EINZENBERGER holds a Diploma in Geography (Vienna University) and has worked for an International Development Organization in Thailand and Myanmar as a Program Manager from 2010-2014. In this function he was involved in conceptualizing and implementing capacity building and education programs in close cooperation with local universities in Thailand and civil society organizations in Myanmar (for instance regarding participatory action research methods and local knowledge in development). He has extensive working experience in mainland Southeast Asia. Since 2015 he is University Assistant at the DDS. His PhD research project focuses on land and resource politics in the upland areas of Myanmar where he already conducted initial field research in 2015 and 2016.

His list of publications can be found here.

Nora Faltmann

NORA FALTMANN holds a MA in Development Studies and has research experience in innovation systems and organic agriculture. Currently she is a scientific staff of the FWF-project 'A Body-Political Approach to the Study of Food - Vietnam and the global transformations' and doctoral student at the DDS. From a sociological perspective and during her three long-term qualitative research stays in Vietnam she will focus on the topic of food safety and social inequality within the Vietnamese foodscape.

Her CV can be found here.

Michaela Hochmuth

Michaela holds a MA in Development Studies. Since 2017 she is working at the project KNOTS.

Richard Bärnthaler

Richard Bärnthaler has a master's degree in Socio-Ecological Economics and Policy from the Vienna University of Economics and Business and is currently pursuing a master's degree in History- and Philosophy of Science at the University of Vienna, where he also works at the Institute for Development Studies. Richard also studied at Bentley University in the US and at Hitotsubashi University in Japan and was a student in the Regional Academy on the United Nations in 2015/2016. He continued his involvement in the Academy as a member of the coordination team responsible for the coordination of the peer-review system. In 2015, Richard was part of a project team focusing on sustainable development and eco-village design through participatory research practices in Isan, Thailand. His research focus and interests concern the relationship between institutional structures, liberalism, and nationalism, power theories and transformational research as well as the history and philosophy of science and sociology of knowledge.