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Research Associates

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Werner Abelshauser

is research professor of Historical Social Science at Bielefeld University. His research focuses on economic cultural diversity in global-comparative perspective, the empirical dimension of institutional economics and the dynamics of German industry between European and global markets. Since 2011 he is member of the Independent Historical Commission of the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy. Before he joined the Bielefeld School for Historical Research he was holding the Chair of 20th Century European History at the European University Institute, Florence/Italy and he was visiting professor and fellow at Oxford, St. Louis, Sydney, Tokio and Beijing (among others).

His publications include books and articles on the world market in comparative perspective, the history of European integration, and business history. He is author of standard works such as “Deutsche Wirtschaftsgeschichte” (C.H.Beck 20112 / China Social Sciences Publishing House 2014), “The Dynamics of German Industry”. (Berghahn 2005, Tokyo University Press 2009), and editor of “German Industry and Global Enterprise. BASF: The History of a Company”, (CUP 20073). He is member of the editorial board of the “Journal for Comparative Government and European Policy” (ZSE), and author of numerous articles in international journals.

Angelika Epple

is professor of modern history, vice-speaker of the BMBF-project „Entangled Americas“, and member of the steering committee of the cooperation group „communication of comparisons“ at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF). Since 2010 she has been dean/vice dean of the faculty of history, philosophy, and theology. Her research interests include the history of global entanglements, global microhistory and locality studies, gender history, comparative history of historiography, and the communication of comparisons in history.

Recent publications:

  • Globale Machtverhältnisse, lokale Verflechtungen: Die Berliner Kongokonferenz, Solingen und das Hinterland des kolonialen Waffenhandels, in: Christof Dejung, Martin Lengwiler (Hg.), Ränder der Moderne, Köln, Weimar, Wien 2014 (forthcoming).
  • The Vertigo of Historical Analyses in a Globalizing World. Reading Joan Scott, in: History and Theory 53 (May 2014), S. 235-244.
  • Lokalität und die Dimensionen des Globalen. Eine Frage der Relationen, in: Historische Anthropologie, 21.Jg. 2013/1, S. 4-25.
  • Global- und Geschlechtergeschichte. Eine Beziehung mit großer Zukunft, in: L'Homme. Zeitschrift für feministische Geschichtswissenschaft, 23. Jg. Heft 2, 2012, S. 87-100.

Thomas Faist

(PhD, New School for Social Research) is Professor for the Sociology of Transnationalization, Development and Migration at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University. His fields of interest are transnational relations, citizenship, social policy, development and migration. He held visiting professorships at Malmö University and the University of Toronto. Thomas Faist is a member of the editorial boards of Ethnic and Racial Studies, South Asian Diaspora, Social Inclusion, Migration and Development and the Pakistan Journal of Social Issues.

Books he recently co-published include Beyond Methodological Nationalism: Social Science Research Methodologies in Transition (2012), Transnational Migration (2013), and Disentangling Migration and Climate Change (2013). His current research focuses on the transnational social question.

Martin Koch

is Assistant Professor at Bielefeld University. His research interests are international organizations, organization studies, world society studies, international political sociology and global inequality. In his current research he is working on a sociological re-conceptualization of international organizations as organizations in world society. He is principal investigator of the project „Global perceptions of inequality in world society“ (together with Mathias Albert).

Current publications in the context of World Society Studies include a special issue edited by:
Koch, M. & Stetter, S. 2013: „Sociological Perspectives on International Organizations and the Construction of Global Political Order”, in: Journal of International Organizations Studies 4: 1. Koch, M. (2014) „Weltorganisationen. Eine Re-Konzeptualisierung internationaler Organisationen“, in: Zeitschrift für Internationale Beziehungen 21: 1.

Lutz Leisering

is professor of social policy in the Faculty of Sociology. His research interests include international and comparative social policy, theory and history of the welfare state, policy analysis and global social policy. His current focus is on social assistance in the global South. Recent publications: Exploring global social citizenship: Human rights perspectives. International Journal of Social Welfare 22, Supplement 1 (ed., with Benjamin and Ulrike Davy); German Social Policy. 5 vol.s (ed. and introduction). Berlin Heidelberg: Springer.

Ursula Mense-Petermann

is professor of economic sociology and the sociology of work. Her current research focuses on economic globalisation and on transnationally mobile work. The processes and problems of transcending (political and cultural) boundaries in the economic realm are at the centre of her research interests. She is principal investigator of three world society – related research projects: (1) Expatriate Managers: A New Cosmopolitan Elite?, (2) The Globalization of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises, and (3) Global Mobility Policies as Mobility Regimes. As a member of the IW, she is also interested in world society theory.

Recent publications:

  • ‚Arbeit und Transnationale Mobilität - Zur Transnationalisierung hochqualifizierter Arbeit‘. Themenheft der Zeitschrift "Arbeit - Zeitschrift für Arbeitsforschung, Arbeitsgestaltung und Arbeitspolitik", 2014 (ed. together with Heiner Minssen and Melanie Steiner) (in Press).
  • Thomas Müller

    is doctoral researcher at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology. His dissertation focuses on the history of the status and role understandings and practices associated with “great powers” in order to study the (de)coupling of social stratification and political institutions in the world political system. His research interests include international and global history since the 18th century, the institutionalisation and legitimation of governance in international society, and the construction of social and political (in)equalities in relations between polities.

    Franz Mayer

    Kerem Gabriel Öktem

    Kerem Gabriel Öktem is a Ph.D. candidate at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey, scheduled to defend his dissertation on Welfare States in the Developing World in 2016. Öktem specialises in comparative social policy research and methods of quantitative and qualitative research. He is currently working in the research project "Mapping the Turkish Welfare State", financed by the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK), on quantitative and qualitative data production and data analysis. From 2017 onwards, he will be working in the research project "How `social´ is Turkey´ Turkey´s social security system in a European context", funded by the Stiftung Mercator. The project will locate Turkeys experience in the field of social security in the broader world of welfare states and trace specific social policies and their political and ideational backgrounds in four key areas of social security.


    • ‘Alevilerin siyasal katiliminin dönüsümü: 1950-1973’, Birikim, 309-310, 57-65.
    • ‘A Comparative Analysis of the Performance of the Parliamentary Left in the Indian States of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura’, South Asia - Journal of South Asian Studies, 35:2, 306-328.

    Chiara Pierobon

    Dr. Chiara Pierobon completed a PhD in Sociology at Bielefeld University (Germany) and Trento University (Italy) with a thesis on civil society and national identity in contemporary Russia which was published by Springer VS.

    Since 2012, she has worked as post-doctoral researcher at Bielefeld University and project manager and research associate at the St. Petersburg / Bielefeld Center for German and European Studies (CGES/ZDES). Between 2013 and 2016, Dr. Pierobon was manager and post-doctoral associate in the collaborative research project "Exploring Patterns of Regional and Interregional Cooperation: Central Asia, its Neighboring Countries and Europe" funded by Volkswagen Foundation. Since 2017, Dr. Pierobon has been co-director - together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Vasilache - of the collaborative research project ?Between Stability and Transformation: Regional and Transnational Cooperation in Central Asia and between Central Asia and Europe? funded by Volkswagen Foundation. Dr. Pierobon is former Visiting Scholar at University of California/Berkeley (USA), University of California/San Diego (USA), St. Petersburg State University (Russia), German Kazakh-University (Kazakhstan), and American University of Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan). In addition, in the past years, she was inter alia research intern at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) in Nuremberg (Germany) and at the Delegation of the European Union in Astana (Kazakhstan).

    Her research interests include: European Studies; Post-Soviet Studies; Civil Society Studies with emphasis on State-Civil Society Relations, Development and Social Capital; Evaluation of Cooperation on Democracy, Human Rights and Good Governance; Identity formation and local, (trans-)national and global dimensions; and Youth studies.

    Detlef Sack

    Christoph Seidel

    is researcher of organizational sociology and international business studies. His current research focuses on the internationalization processes of companies and its consequences for organizational theory. In his PHD-Project “Organizations as Multinational Companies” he develops a genuine organizational sociological point of view of internationalization processes of companies, focusing on the research question: What kind of organizational differences do internationalization processes have for companies as social systems? He is research assistant in the project: “The Globalization of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises”.

    Andreas Vasilache

    is Professor for European Studies at Bielefeld University and Director of the Centre for German and European Studies (CGES) at Bielfeld University and Saint Petersburg State University. His research interests include International Relations (IR) and European Studies as well as International Political Theory (IPT), Europe-Asia Relations, Comparative Regionalization in World Society, intern- and transcultural relations and borders, boundaries and limits in World Society.

    Recent publication:

    • Vasilache, Andreas (ed.) 2014: Gouvernementalität, Staat und Weltgesellschaft, Wiesbaden: SpringerVS.

    Dorothea Wehrmann

    is a doctoral researcher in sociology at Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) and a research associate of the project „The Americas as Space of Entanglement(s)", funded by the BMBF. Her research presently focuses on political relations in the Americas, geopolitics and discourse theory. In her PhD project, which is titled "Identity and Cooperation in the Polar Regions", Dorothea deals with the question of whether environmental change and economic opportunities in the polar regions are leading to more cooperation between pivotal political actors in the Arctic and in the Antarctic region or support the return to and/or development of stronger national “polar identities” in four American countries (Argentina, Chile, Canada and the United States). In this context, she also examines the application of complexity-reducing mental images and projections.

    Junchen Yan

    is researcher of sociology of work, employment and Chinese sociology. His current research focuses on the careers of Chinese professionals working in Chinese subsidiaries of German-based multinational companies. In his PHD-Project “The Chinese White Collar Managers in Foreign Invested Enterprises and Their careers”, firstly, he explore the discrepancy between the career expectations of the Chinese professionals and practices of human resource management in MNCs. The main reason for this discrepancy is the difference of time horizon of expectations/orientations. Secondly, the identification of Chinese professionals with their MNC employers varies in different career orientations. Particularly, the increasing career rationalization of Chinese professionals working in MNCs accelerates the demythologization of MNCs in China.

    Junchen Yan is research assistant in the DFG-project: “Expatriate Managers: A New Cosmopolitan Elite? Habitus, Everyday Practices, and Networks” and in the HBS-project: “Going Global” or “Short-Term Adventures”? The Conditions and Consequences of the Globalization of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises.