Past Research

The IWM's research programs invite fellows or research associates to work together on a specific subject. Our research programs follow objectives, questions, and themes consistent with the Institute's mission and history, and are led by a permanent fellow or research director.

Presented below (alphabetically) are some of the past research projects and programs that have been completed at the IWM. This list is not exhaustive.

For more information about past research at the Institute, please contact Katharina Gratz, Head of Library and IWM Archive via 

Democracy in Question

This research asked why has the global spread of democracy and the democratization of public life seemed to have undermined democratic regimes instead of strengthening them, and looked at how this could change. The paradoxical effect of the global spread of democracy in the last fifty years is that citizens in a number of supposedly consolidated democracies in North America and Western Europe, have grown more critical of their political leaders. They have also become more cynical about the value of democracy as a political system, less hopeful that anything they do might influence public policy, and more willing to express support for authoritarian alternatives. <more details>

Eurasia in Global Dialogue

This research program had three main aims:

  1. To offer a better understanding of the dynamics between domestic and foreign policy in different types of illiberal regimes on the Eurasian continent and the impact of this dynamics on the entire region;
  2. To promote dialogue and networks between and among various Eurasian countries and the West; and, thirdly,
  3. To develop new policy options for the EU with respect to Eurasia. <more details>

Polemical Christianity: Jan Patočka’s Concept of Religion and the Crisis of Modernity

This research project dealt with the question of religion in Jan Patočka's philosophical work and its importance for what is often referred to as the „crisis of modernity“. <more details>

Religion and Secularism

The goal of this research was to explore the ways in which globalization impacts the relationship between religion and secularism, thus intertwining the perspectives of different cultures, religions and theoretical backgrounds. The research was structured around five main topics: first, an examination of contemporary forms of belief and, second, of forms of disbelief; third, a study of different secular regimes; fourth, religion’s potential to mobilize people to violence, and, finally, the role of religion in creating social cohesion across gaps of income, ethnicity and nationality. <more details>

Russia in Global Dialogue

This program was a forerunner to our Eurasia in Global Dialogue. As a first phase of the program that ran from 2011 to 2016, it brought Russians from different academic disciplines, as well as from the media, think tanks and cultural institutions to Vienna in order to engage them in intellectual exchange and public debate with their western counterparts. <more details>

Reflection Group: The Spiritual and Cultural Dimension of Europe 

The project on the spiritual and cultural dimension of Europe was initiated by the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi. It was centered around a Reflection Group chaired by Krzysztof Michalski and discussed the values of Europe and the ways in which these might be considered important building blocks for the future unity of Europe. <more details>

United Europe - Divided History

This research focus sought to overcome divisions among national historiographies and between East and West through scholarly history conceived in a novel way. <more details>

Woman Without a Name: Gender Identity in Sacrificial Stories

This project investigated the prominent society-wide issue of sacrifice and focused on the relationship between sacrifice and gender. The thematic grounds for the investigation were biblical texts and the intellectual sources on sacrifice. The investigation was conducted mainly within the Christian discourse but was supplemented by an exploration of Greek mythology. The project aimed to provide a link between biblical analysis, which answers particular questions about the nature and context of female sacrifice, and a philosophical-theological synthesis of the nature of such sacrifice in more general terms. <more details>