Team Elisabeth Scheibelhofer


  • interpretative social research
  • migration
  • mobility
  • transnational social spaces

Research Projects


  • PANDEUM - Restricted free movement in times of the COVID-19 pandemic

    3/2023 – 3/2025

    Subsidy grantor: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) - P 34972-G

    Our research project focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the policy measures taken by both nation states and the EU over the course of the pandemic. Building on our TRANSWEL research (2015-2018), this study focuses on mobile Hungarian citizens who lived and worked in Vienna until before the pandemic and examines the changing conditions in the transnational field between western Hungary and eastern Austria. With regard to the (restricted) EU freedom of movement and possible effects of the crisis on European societies, we explore the situation of Hungarian migrants in Vienna, focusing on their perspective. To be able to grasp the changing social and political situation, we follow a process-oriented research approach based on constructivist grounded theory. We conduct a qualitative panel study to accompany the migrants over a longer period of time. In addition, expert interviews and literature research provide an overview of the legal regulations on the status of mobility during and after COVID-19 in the two countries. Qualitative problem-centred interviews will be the primary method of data collection.

  • DEMICO - Investigating the social construction of deskilling among 'new' EU migrants in Vienna

    5/2021 – 4/2025

    Subsidy grantor: Austrian Science Fund (FWF) - P 33633-G

    Deskilling is a phenomenon particularly widespread among migrants. Especially the number of highly educated EU mobile citizens who work in a position below their qualification has risen significantly over the past years. However, although we do know about the statistical distribution of skills mismatches and the impact of individual variables on the chances of occupying lesser qualified job positions, few research has so far concentrated on the interplay between institutional and labour market structures and migrants’ agency in this respect. Our project aims to explore the concrete social processes involved in the production of the phenomenon of “deskilling” that may only be retraced from an individual perspective and to examine the phenomenon from different actors’ angles. Applying a qualitative research perspective, we strive to contribute to the understanding of deskilling processes in a migration context. We focus thereby on highly educated migrants from “new” EU member states living and working in the Austrian capital of Vienna. Based on the research principles of constructivist Grounded Theory, we opt for a multi-perspective and longitudinal methodical triangulation, combining a qualitative panel study with migrants, interviews with stakeholders, and complementary ethnographical observations. Qualified interpreters and translators are systematically involved throughout the entire research process.

    Project website

  • AMIGS - Employment services in the context of migration-induced linguistic diversity

    9/2019 – 8/2021

    Subsidy grantor: OeNB, project number 18078

    AMIGS (ArbeitMigrationSprache; LaborMigrationLanguage) engages in investigating employment services in the context of linguistic diversity. Concretely, this is to be explored by taking the example of the AMS, with a particular focus on the internal perspective of this institution. The research endeavor will build upon the preceding TRANSWEL project. This project identified difficulties in dealing with linguistic diversity – both among AMS clients and within the institution itself – which become manifest in language barriers and pressure put on street-level bureaucrats (Lipsky 1980). The AMIGS project investigates the ways in which AMS staff perceive handling linguistic diversity, which problem areas they describe in this regard, and which (institutional) solution strategies and patterns of argument become identifiable. The objective is to illustrate manifest and latent structures and regulations with regard to linguistic practices within the AMS institution and to explore their implications for the actors involved and the (re-)production of social inequality by way of linguistic practices. In spatial terms, the study will concentrate on Vienna with its particularly pronounced spectrum of linguistic diversity. Carried out by an interdisciplinary team, the qualitative research project is based on the methodological principles of Constructivist Grounded Theory (Charmaz 2006) combining different research methods: To generate data, we chiefly use problem-centered interviews (Witzel 2000, Scheibelhofer 2008) with AMS staff, both in client contact and at the management level. This set of data is complemented by ethnographic observations (Spradley 2009) in regional AMS offices and artifact analyses (Lueger 2010) of AMS publications.

  • TRANSWEL - Mobile Welfare in a Transnational Europe

    2015 – 2018

    This international comparative and interdisciplinary project is conducted by researchers based in four countries. It addresses one of the most important and controversial issues in the European Union today: the social rights of EU citizens from the new EU member states who move to live and/or work in the old member states. The project is funded by New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe, NORFACE, Find also some additional information on Empirically, the project traces the migration of regularly and irregularly employed migrants and their family members, and the transfer of their social security rights between four pairs of countries: Hungary–Austria, Bulgaria–Germany, Poland–United Kingdom and Estonia–Sweden. It examines the social rights of mobile citizens in policy and in practice; the ways in which mobile EU citizens experience, organize and manage their welfare transnationally; and the consequences for the patterning of inequality among EU citizens. The project involves four teams of researchers, respectively based at the Brandenburg Unversity of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (Anna Amelina, overall project lead), University of Vienna (lead: Elisabeth Scheibelhofer), Södertörn University (Ann Runfors) and University of Bath (Emma Carmel).

    Project Website


Scientific staff

Lina Dimachkie

Rooseveltplatz 2
1090 Wien
Room: R.418

T: +43-1-4277-49233

Anna-Katharina Draxl

Mag. Anna-Katharina Draxl, MA

Rooseveltplatz 2
1090 Wien
Room: R.417

T: +43-1-4277-46885

Clara Holzinger

Lic. Dr. Clara Holzinger, MA MA

Rooseveltplatz 2
1090 Wien
Room: R.417

T: +43-1-4277-49246

Martina Kanovich, BA

Rooseveltplatz 2
1090 Wien
Room: R.417

T: +43-1-4277-49224

Yannic Wexenberger, BA MA

Rooseveltplatz 2
1090 Wien
Room: R.417

T: +43-1-4277-49273