Research

I am specialized on Austria and the European Union. In my current research I look at the roots and evolution of the politicization of migration, its manifestation in the parliamentary arena and on the streets, and its different effects, including the impact on European integration, and policy making.

I have co-authored the book Migration and Mobility in the European Union (Macmillan, with A. Geddes, and L. Brumat). The book draws upon concepts of public policy analysis and creates a unique framework of analysis that distinguishes between: types of migration; aspects of the policy process; and the extent to which these aspects of the policy process and types of migration have become part of a wider EU framework for the management of migration and mobility. More broadly my work on EU migration governance contributes to the understanding of the gridlock of the European Union and the continuous shift towards more restrictive migration and asylum reforms, increasingly mirroring policy preferences by illiberal member states, and a co-optation of non-member states into migration and asylum policies.

As a lead editor I developed a special issue for the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, which focuses on Centre-Right parties in Europe, analysing shifts in policy positions of this important party family in the field of immigration. It achieves this by drawing on concepts of political party competition, looking at the role of public salience, the transformation of socio-political conflicts and political behaviour, and crises as critical junctures for the change of policy positions.

In addition to looking at the institutional parliamentary arena, I am also interested in protest politics in the field of migration and asylum the extra-parliamentary arena, including the phenomenon of party activism. Based on qualitative interviews with protesters and a quantitative protest analysis, a co-authored article of mine published in Social Movement Studies explores the conditions and ends of engagement of political parties with protest groups in the field of asylum.

My research is also shining light on the cognitive and epistemic dimension of governance, i.e. how the complex and contested migration issue and its effects are understood and made sense of by governance actors. My article “‘Push or Pull?’ Framing immigration in the European Union and the United  States in times of crisis”, highlights striking similarities between North America and Europe, and adds to our knowledge about the role of situated agency in understanding and regulating migration and in further fuelling polarization. My insights and interest in this cognitive element is based on my involvement as a postdoctoral researcher in the ERC advanced project MIGPROSP. In the framework of the project I conducted hundreds of interviews with key governance actors, including leading representatives from international organizations, supranational institutions, national governments and interest groups.

In line with my interest in the politicization of migration and on Austria as one of the heartlands of the populist radical right, I have developed analysed the populist radical right (PRR), mainstream parties, and identity politics. Given that my interest in identity politics developed initially in the framework of an EU funded interdisciplinary project at the University of Vienna, that dealt with the accommodation of female Muslim veiling across Europe, my approach here has always been guided by a strong intersectional perspective, looking at dimensions of gender, religion, as well as processes of racialization. In the framework of this research strand I have worked with the concept of ‘gender nationalism’. For instance, in a journal contribution for the Austrian Political Science Journal I analyse continuities and differences of new types of nationalist mobilization in contrast to previous forms of nationalism and nativism, and trace it roots; or in a current book edited by Jeffrey Heynes I analyse the interaction of gender and religion in an era of popuslim and sovereignist backlash.

I am also specialized in local immigrant integration, contributing to the urban turn in political science and international relations. This strand of work is strongly based on my PhD thesis  ‘Governing urban diversity’, which I successfully completed at the EUI. The thesis explored immigrant integration policies and the emergence of new policy paradigms such as inter-culturalism and diversity management in European cities, analysing the supranational (EU) framework, as well as national and local contexts.  My work in that field, which was among other outlets featured in Politics and Policy and Comparative Migration Studies, contributes to the understanding of the role of the economy and the rise of the entrepreneurial city in post-Fordism as regards the accommodation of ethno-cultural diversity. Based on my findings on the political economy dimension of urban integration, it points out the need to engage with immigrant integration from an intersectional perspective looking holistically at societal inequalities. As part of this research agenda I am also involved as a work package leader in the H2020 Horizon project WHOLECOMM.

Research =bringing new perspectives