Ongoing Dissertation-Projects

The following dissertation projects are currently ongoing at the Sociology Research Unit.

Rewiring Power – Reshaping Energy Distribution and Statehood through the National Smart Grid Mission in India

Lucas Barning | Expected completion: 10/2023

Supervisor: Simon Güntner | Ashwini K. Swain, Centre for Policy Research (New Delhi), opens an external URL in a new window

The dissertation project (2019-2023) examines the changing relation between electricity consumers and the state in the transformation from conventional to “Smart Grid” (SG) energy systems at the example of the National Smart Grid Mission (NSGM, 2015-2025) in India. Informed by Assemblage Theory, the project focusses on the reconfiguration of a variety of actors (e. g. governmental institutions, private companies and consumers, but also policies, technologies and practices) which is understood to alter the scales and places of energy governance and concomitantly to reshape statehood.

„Co-Creation in der nachhaltigen Stadtplanung“

Lukas Franta | Expected completion: 2023


Co-creation as a new, extended form of participation is visibly finding its way into urban planning as a concept for the sustainable transformation of cities and neighborhoods and the promotion of social innovation. While the concept of co-creation is on everyone's lips and can be found in more and more programs and policies, it often remains unclear how co-creation actually differs from "known" participation and how "good" co-creation can succeed in sustainable urban planning. My dissertation project therefore focuses on the one hand on clarifying the concept of co-creation and on differentiating it from participation. On the other hand, based on an analysis of co-creation processes on the neighborhood level, application-oriented recommendations for the embedding of co-creation processes in sustainable urban planning will be developed.

Energiekonsum, Stadt & soziale Milieus

Nadine Haufe | Expected completion: 2022

Supervisor: Jens Dangschat

As the effects of climate change and discussions about the energy and transport turnaround become increasingly clear, as well as the demand for livable cities, there is a growing realization that individual consumption of energy in cities must also change in order to achieve the Paris climate goals and thus limit negative long-term consequences for the environment and society.

In order to increase the effectiveness of measures to promote sustainable energy consumption practices in the CO2-intensive areas of housing and mobility, social milieus, i.e. attitude-based approaches, have been used for several years to segment the population into (target) groups - all too often, however, spatial-material aspects remain unconsidered and desired successes fall short of expectations.

The aim of the dissertation is to determine a milieu-specific model for describing and explaining individual energy consumption in the areas of housing and mobility, including the spatial-material dimensions, in order to better promote ecologically sustainable energy consumption with a target-group-specific approach. Socio-spatial conditions for ecologically sustainable energy consumption in the city and milieu-specific barriers to behavioral change in the areas of mobility and housing will be identified on the basis of a Viennese study, and consequences for the actions of social actors (politics, municipalities, companies, associations, initiatives) or the setting of measures (information campaigns, funding policy, regulatory instruments) will be derived.

A child’s right to the city?

Korinna Lindinger | Expected completion: 2022

Supervisor: Simon Güntner

The dissertation project deals with urban space from the perspective of children growing up in families affected by poverty. The lifeworlds of children differ, even if they share a neighbourhood or a residential building. Every 3rd child in Vienna lives below the poverty risk line, and it is precisely for them that the qualities and offerings of urban space are of special importance. The case study focuses on Währing, Vienna’s 18th district. Here poverty  is rarely perceived, often invisible, open spaces are scarce and public space belongs to “others”. The question of a child's right to the city gets a crucial significance.