Areas of research

My research and publications deal with topics like

  • Work and livelihood practices: crafts, trades, precarious earnings and illegal practices, job search, labour contracts and aspects of coercion, …
  • Mobility and migration: journeymen’s tramping and travelling, vagrancy, itinerant trades, …
  • Ego-documents and the life course: autobiographical narratives, letters, protocols and statements…
  • Political struggles and state policy: trade legislation, labour, poverty, social rights and the right of residency…
  • (State) bureaucracy and bureaucratic interactions: administrative procedures, police and court records, practices of identification and registration, …

The focus is on the area of Central Europe from the late 18th to the mid-20th century.

Approach and basic principles of my research

I am particularly interested in examining how social facts are produced in consensus and conflict. I study practices and interactions, considering various contexts and constellations and the perspectives of the parties involved. This necessarily includes those practices which seem powerless and ineffective at first glance. In my research, I use a broad variety of source material and I apply both qualitative and quantitative methods. Geometric Data Analysis (Multiple Correspondence Analysis) is an excellent tool which enables a systematic comparison of complex and diverse cases in their numerous aspects while it also supports relational thinking and a reflexive construction of one’s research subject.

Current research project

Currently I am working on co-production and uses of identity documents in the Habsburg monarchy and Austria from ca. 1850 to 1938.

A pilot study on employment record books for workers and servants (Arbeits- und Dienstbotenbücher) was funded by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung.

Dr. Sigrid Wadauer, Privatdoz.

At the moment my research is funded by the FWF (Austrian Science Fund)

Dr. Sigrid Wadauer, Privatdoz.
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Activities and results


I am a senior researcher in the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna.

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Since 2000 I have been teaching and supervising at the Universities of Vienna and Salzburg.

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Workshop with Beate Althammer

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Beate Althammer (Humboldt University/re:work Berlin) is a cooperation-partner of my current research project. In this workshop Beate Althammer will present her research project „The Borders of the Welfare State: Migration,…
Dr. Sigrid Wadauer, Privatdoz.

WORCK conference – Exhibition opening 30.8.2021: Stories of Work and Coercion

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WORCK conference - Exhibition opening 30.8.2021: Stories of Work and Coercion. Scientific Contributions Depicted in Illustrations Illustrators: Dariia Kuzmych, Monika Lang and Tim Robinson Curators & Dramaturgs: Anamarija Batista &…
Dr. Sigrid Wadauer, Privatdoz.

A newspaper report on my research project

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Die Statur: mittel; das Gesicht: oval, die Haare: rotbraun, Augen: blau, Mund und Nase: proportioniert, besondere Kennzeichen: keine. So wird Maria Fugenrieder, geboren in Atzgersdorf südlich von Wien, im kleinen…