Paulus Wagner

Research Topics

Populism, Welfare State, voting for radical parties, labour market, political representation

Thesis: Welfare regimes, party competition and radical voting in the 21st century, under the supervision of Jan Rovny and Florence Haegel

Paulus Wagner's research at the CEE and LIEPP focuses on citizens' attitudes towards social policy. In his dissertation, he focuses on 'welfare chauvinism', a phenomenon linked to far-right populist politics. Using a mixed methods approach, he conducted 150 biographical interviews with German and Austrian citizens, half of them manual workers, to analyse the genesis of these attitudes. Testing a theory on the relationship of populist attitudes to problems experienced especially by the working classes ('modernization loser theory'), his thesis formulates the theory that the genesis of 'welfare chauvinist' attitudes is often linked to the experience of problems in the fields of work and contact with the welfare state. These problematic situations, in turn, are produced by the dynamics of social disintegration especially at the 'meso' level, i.e. within organisations and in the contact between organisations and citizens.

During his PhD, Paulus undertook a research stay at the Department of Sociology of the University of California at Berkeley with Michael Burawoy and Arlie Russel-Hochschild.

Before starting his PhD, he obtained a research master's in Social Sciences (specialisation: Comparative Development Studies) at EHESS, Paris, a Master of Arts in International Political Economy at King's College, London, and a Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting from the University of Vienna and the Russian State University of Humanities, Moscow.

Besides this academic pathway, he gained valuable insights into other professional fields by completing internships in journalism (with Die Welt in Berlin and ZDF in Vienna), diplomacy (Austrian Embassy in Zagreb, Croatia) and oil&gas industry (OMV, Vienna).


Poster of the project - June 2022

CV - October 2022


"Populism in Times of Attempted Unity of Heterogeneous Social Demands", Book review of Christopher Holmes (2018) Polanyi in times of populism: vision and contradiction in the history of economic ideas, in: The International Spectator. Italian Journal of International Affairs. (Routledge)

"L'extrême-droite autrichienne au gouvernement: le rôle des coalitions", Book chapter, in: Christophe Jaffrelot / Elise Massicard (eds), L’Enjeu mondial: Figures de la dé-démocratisation. Autoritarisme et populisme des nouveaux démagogues. Presses de Sciences Po. In press

"The perception of Western-Russian economic sanctions among Russian Small- and Medium Entrepreneurs, 2014-2017. A mixed-methods approach.", in: Problems of Forecasting/Проблемы прогнозирования, Journal of the Institute of Economic Forecasting, Russian Academy of Sciences (ИПР РАН). In press

"Varieties of Laborism. Social Inclusion and Exclusion in Working-Class Visions of the Political Economy." In: Totalitarianism and Democracy, Special Issue on Workers and the Radical Right, edited by Eszter Bartha and Thomas Lindenberger. 2022 (In press). doi:10.13109/tode.2022.19.1.125.

"The Austrian Far Right in Government: The Role of Coalitions". In: Dieckhoff, A., Jaffrelot, C., Massicard, E. (eds) Contemporary Populists in Power. The Sciences Po Series in International Relations and Political Economy. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.


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