Innsbruck Doctoral College Dynamics of Inequality and Difference in the Age of Globalization


assoz. Prof. PD Mag. Dr. Andreas Oberprantacher, MA (Department of Philosophy)

Deputy Head

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Silke Meyer (Department of History and European Ethnology)


Juliana Krohn, MA

Faculty Members

  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Tabea Bork-Hüffer, Department of Geography
  • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Monika Dannerer, Department of German Studies
  • assoz. Prof. Dr. Andreas Exenberger, Department of Economic Theory, Policy and History
  • FH-Prof. Dr. habil. Bela Gebrewold, MCI / Social Work, Social Policy & Management (associated)
  • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Barbara Herzog-Punzenberger, Postgr. Dipl. IHS, Department of Teacher Education and School Research
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Marc Hill, Department of Educational Science
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Silke Meyer, Department of History and European Ethnology
  • Univ.-Prof. MMag. Dr. Andreas Th. Müller, Department of European Law and Public International Law
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Andreas Oberprantacher, MA, Department of Philosophy
  • ao. Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Helga Ramsey-Kurz MA, Department of English
  • Univ.-Prof. Mag. Dr. Dirk Rupnow, Depatrment of Contemporary History
  • Univ.-Prof. Dr. Erol Yildiz, Department of Educational Science

Associated Faculty Members

  • Dr. Jan Hinrichsen, Department of History and European Ethnology
  • Dr. Sergej Seitz, Department of Philosophy


Inequality and difference are social realities in all societies, yet they shape the act of living together to varying degrees. Inequality and difference are the result of social processes of negotiation in which access to and ownership over material and immaterial resources are distributed, wherein vertical and horizontal disparities intersect with each other. Vertical inequality encompasses economic differences in income and wealth and varying access to the means of production, the labor market, capital, credit, and benefits of the welfare state (such as education and health). Difference as a horizontal disparity involves varying possibilities for social belonging and social participation based on nationality, gender, color, religion, age, or language. Both forms of inequality, however, overlap with and strengthen (or weaken) each other intersectionally in the axes of global mechanisms of exclusion and inclusion, such as racism, linguicism, and gender or class relations, which are mirrored in respective regional processes.

Migration and mobility constitute significant contexts for socially produced and reproduced inequality and difference. The social and economic development of nation states as well as the everyday experiences of people are influenced thereby. Border and migration regimes define crossovers and conditions of acceptance and as such are the point of origin of social plurality. In the age of globalization, such plurality is not an exceptional situation per se but also post-migration normality. Migration thus becomes an important perspective of social change both in a global and a regional context.

Innsbruck offers a particularly suitable location to examine issues of inequality and difference with a focus on migration and mobility, because of its situation on the threshold of a European North-South gradient, i.e. at the crossroads of diverse forms of discursive logic, imperatives of justification, and cultural traditions. The Brenner route, which is central to the self-understanding of Europe, in this sense constitutes both the danger of destructive border maneuvers as well as the opportunity for creative passages. In this loaded context, the University of Innsbruck can make an important contribution to disseminating contemporary transitions in a conceptual manner.

Inequality and difference are a multifaceted phenomenon and are therefore approached in the doctoral programme from a multi- and interdisciplinary perspective. A range of disciplines from five faculties of the University of Innsbruck are involved: pedagogy, European ethnology, history, literature, philosophy, political science, law, and linguistics. Beyond this, there are multiple connections to other disciplines. The MCI (Social Work, Social Policy, & Management) is also involved. Coherence is here established on the one hand methodologically, for example through comparative processes in contemporary studies and historical analyses, and on the other hand through the regular cooperation between lecturers and colleagues in various formats.

The doctoral programme is closely connected to the research focus of Cultural Encounters – Cultural Conflicts, the interfaculty research platform Gender Studies, and the research centers Migration & Globalization and Cultures in Contact. The aim is to offer PhD students the optimal framework during their dissertation work to ensure interdisciplinary exchanges and to promote their international networks. The doctoral programme will moreover strengthen the cooperation of scholars on site while enhancing the specific competences of Innsbruck as a location toward the outside.

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