Our Guest: Juraj Buzalka

Juraj Buzalka


LFUI Guest Professorship
March - April 2022


Home university / Country
Comenius University in Bratislava / Slovak Republic

Associate Professor of Social Anthropology

Research areas
Economic and Political Anthropology of
Eastern Europe

Guest of 
Kristina Stoeckl

Institut für Soziologie

Guest lectures
25.04.2022, 10:00 - 11:30 Uhr (Hörsaal 1): Wine, post peasant and post socialist rurality in Slovakia

 "Being a social anthropologist gives me an additional privilege to benefit from achievements of social sciences and rely on a vast knowledge compiled by the humanities."


I am visiting the University of Innsbruck because...

I learned about the work of Professor Kristina Stoeckl on religion and politics in Russia. My long-term interest has been the study of religious-political nexus after state-socialism – in relation to secularism, legacies of the past, and social transformations - and I did so extensively in Poland and Slovakia. I have also been researching on wider issues of inclusion and exclusion under EU transformations, dealing with segregated Roma and the effects of Schengen regime on the new EU eastern border with Ukraine, so the comparison with Austria after it entered the EU and with regards to diversity is relevant at this point. I also wished to concentrate on rural transformations and the effects of green deal policies on livelihoods and identities of rural peoples while being in Innsbruck, the topic well-researched by Professor Markus Schermer at my host department.


Innsbruck for me is...

I have only been passing this part of Austria earlier. A kind of urban island in the Alps, away from Vienna, the reference Austrian city for a Pressburger, makes Innsbruck similar to Bratislava (Pressburg) or Košice, the only two larger cities in Slovakia, vis-à-vis predominantly rural country. I like how Innsbruck and the mountain countryside coexist with each other and how tourism has been integrated into the local life. There is an impressive cosmopolitan twist to the medium-size Central European city going back to the old times since it has been one of the major crossroads on Europe's roof. All this present and past contributes to the quality of life here. For people coming from a small-scale setting like myself, this size and atmosphere are very convenient. I consider all these cities to offer just about enough anonymity of an urban area but do not make a villager like myself feeling overwhelmed by crowds and surrounded by speed like in Manhattan or in London. Despite all the differences resulting from the twentieth century someone from what has become Slovakia not long ago always feels a bit at home in Austria.


At the University of Innsbruck I will...

The stay in Innsbruck gives me a room to think comparatively about what has been happening to religion and politics in Eastern Europe. And about the rural transformations in and of Europe, another topic of my interest. There are several papers I was planning to work on. The last I had on my list was about Kremlin's propaganda and how successfully it has been targeting especially post-socialist citizens in Slovakia. Vis-à-vis the current aggression of Putin towards Ukraine this paper draft seems to become more prominent on my list and I have begun working on it. My plan also is to look around for possible funding, preferably with Austrian partners, and to eventually further institutionalise the collaboration between my home and host departments.


What fascinates me about scientific work is...

Being a social anthropologist gives me an additional privilege to benefit from achievements of social sciences and rely on a vast knowledge compiled by the humanities. It is truly fascinating and enlightening to learn about other peoples' cultures and societies, the key interest of my discipline. The independence and self-reliance I consider to be the most advantageous parts of an academic life. I like freedom to choose my topic of interest and the way how I express myself – both in scientific writing as well as publicly as a representative of “taxpayers nobility”. And last but not least, one cannot ignore the actual chance to share one's experiences and knowledge over the younger generation in the best belief that these students will make our world a better place.

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