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Do you consider that your work belongs to the field of "political theory", and why (not)? If so, what has drawn you to do political theory and to describe your work as belonging to the field?
My work straddles the boundaries between comparative political science and political theory. I am a sociologist and political scientist by training, and I discovered my interest in political theory only after completing my doctorate. The explanation is that, when I was a student at Vienna University, neither social science nor philosophy departments were interested in contemporary political theory. I therefore became a self-educated political theorist rather late in my life. What attracted me to the field, apart from some of the classic Enlightenment texts, was the debate between John Rawls and his libertarian or communitarian critics.
I never aspired, however, to contribute to moral and political philosophy literature concerned with first principles of justice or meta-questions about the foundations of ethics. My interest was always focused on real-world issues that emerged from my empirical research on migration, cultural diversity, nationalism, and citizenship. It is through engaging with these issues that I discovered a blind spot in mainstream political science and normative political theories like Rawls' which both presuppose stable political boundaries of territory and membership as well as fairly homogeneous societies within these.
Ever since then, which was roughly in 1990, my work has focused on political boundaries and membership and how these are transformed by migration and cultural diversity…

  • Political and moral philosophy
  • applied political theory
  • normative realism
  • political science
  • humanities
  • critical theory
Rainer Bauböck
Rainer Bauböck is part-time professor in the Global Governance Programme of the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute. He is corresponding member Austrian Academy of Sciences and chairs the Academy's Commission on Migration and Integration Research. He teaches at Central European University Vienna as a guest professor. From 2007 to 2018 he held the chair in social and political theory at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of EUI. His research interests are in normative political theory and comparative research on democratic citizenship, European integration, migration, nationalism and minority rights. He co-directs GLOBALCIT, an online observatory on citizenship and voting rights. His recent books include Democratic Inclusion. Rainer Bauböck in Dialogue (Manchester University Press, 2018) and Migration & Staatsbürgerschaft (Austrian Academy of Sciences Press, 2021, with co-author Gerd Valchars).
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