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  Frank Welz
  Frank Welz University of Innsbruck, Austria






Prof Frank Welz
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Department of Sociology, University of Innsbruck
Universitätsstr. 15, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
phone:   +43-512-507 -73405, -73420 (secretary)

    PhD & MA SUPERVISION(students & projects)

Chair, Sociological Theory, Austrian Sociological Association
Board, Sociological Theory, International Soc. Association
Chair, Social Theory Research Centre, U Innsbruck
President 2015-17, European Sociological Association

- Founding Member, Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE)
- Honorary Member, European Sociological Association
- Governing board, European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH), 2016-17
- 14 keynote & 18 plenary invitations (154 lectures in 27 countries)

  invited videos cv courses download supervision publications  
  • Aktuelle öffentliche Vorträge (außerhalb der Universität) zu Themen wie:
    "Gerechtigkeit", "Liebe", "Soziale Ungleichheit", "Wissenschaft", "Zivilcourage"

  recent invited keynotes/plenaries    
  • Social Theory meets the Pandemic (keynote)
    The Spectrum of Democracy in Times of the Pandemic: Re-Narrating Inequality and Social Justice in Asia. Indonesian Sociological Study Program Association, APSSI, Malang, 2021.
  • Two Forms of Theory Building in Sociology
    41st Refresher Course for Faculty Members throughout India. School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, 2021.
  • Understanding Social Conflicts in Contemporary European Sociology (opening plenary)
    Sorokin Readings. XIV International scientific conference, Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, 2020.
  • Two Forms of 'Systems': Social Theory as Social Practice (keynote)
    International Social Theory Consortium (ISTC), 18th Annual Conference, Dubrovnik, 2019.
  • Zivilcourage – im Spiegel der Gesellschaft
    Zivilcourage - Chancen und Risiken. Bundesministerium für Inneres/Weisser Ring, Wien, 2018.
  • Sociology Today: Compass lost? Sociology in the Post-Welfare Society (plenary)
    (Un)Making Europe: Capitalism, Solidarities, Subjectivities. 13th Conference of the European Sociological Association, Athens, 2017.
  • Contemporary European Sociology: Conditions of Knowledge Production (keynote)
    World Sociology Summit (picture): New Developments, New Notions, Lanzhou, Gansu Province, 2016.
speech videos  
curriculum vitae  

Frank Welz has been teaching sociology at the Innsbruck School of Social and Political Sciences since 2006. He obtained his MA and PhD degree in Sociology, History, Philosophy and Psychology from the University of Freiburg, Germany, and Habilitation (2nd dissertation) from Innsbruck University, Austria.

He has served as the 11th President of the European Sociological Association (ESA) in 2015-2017 and as a member of the Executive Committee and vice-president of the ESA from 2011 to 2015. He has further been a Governing Board member of the European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities (EASSH) and a Founding Member of the Initiative for Science in Europe (ISE). Frank coordinated ESA's Social Theory Research Network (RN29) 2007 to 2011, and, at home (in Austria), he also served as Vice-President of the Austrian Sociological Association.

Recently, Frank has been publishing on sociological theory, sociology of culture, particularly law, and the history of sociology. His main interest is, first, exploring the theoretical underpinnings of the significant questions of macro-historical change, particularly the current ongoing transformation of sovereignty, and, related to the former, second, incorporating a processual view resp. 'historical epistemology' into sociology. In addition, with a group of a dozen PhD candidates he currently works toward a "Theory of Social Practice", that is, exploring and applying theories and concepts of thinkers such as Foucault, Bourdieu and others.

Before his appointment to the research and teaching unit Social and Political Theory at Innsbruck University, Department of Sociology, he has worked out the idea and put into practice the "Global Studies" Master's Freiburg-Durban-N.Delhi at Freiburg/Germany (GSP) where he directed the program from its takeoff in 2002 to 2006.

Frank studied sociology, modern history, philosophy and psychology at the Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg where he had been teaching since 1988. He further was a research fellow at the International Institute for the Sociology of Law, Onati, Spain, at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University, Germany, and at the Department of Sociology of the University of Cambridge, UK. He has been an invited keynote and plenary speaker around the world.

His initiatives at Freiburg have been awarded with several prizes, among others e.g. the State's Excellence in Teaching Award 1999, the Heilmann Prize for the 'virtual' seminar series "LEC" Freiburg-JNU New Delhi (2000) and the BMW Group Award (Munich 2005) and Stifterverband/DAAD's quality label "Top 10 International Master's degree courses made in Germany" (2006) for the GSP.

MA (with distinction), Freiburg, Albert-Ludwigs University (Sociology; Philosophy, Psychology, History)
PhD (summa cum laude), Freiburg, Albert-Ludwigs University (Sociology; Philosophy, Psychology)
Habilitation (venia docendi)/2nd dissertation, Innsbruck, Leopold-Franzens University (Sociology)

School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Innsbruck, Austria (assoziierter Professor); 2001 to 2006 Program director, Global Studies Master's Program, Albert-Ludwigs University Freiburg; 1988-2006 Assistant and Associate Professor of Sociology (C1/C2), Freiburg; 1997-98 Fellow, Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF), University of Bielefeld; Visiting Scholar, International Institute for the Sociology of Law: Onati, Spain.

fellowships, grants, awards:
1988 Kurt Hahn Memorial Fellowship (DAAD), Cambridge University, UK (declined in favour of a position at U Freiburg)
1986 Harvard University, Cambridge/Mass.
1997 Fellow, Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University
1998 Department of Science of the State of Baden-Württemberg/German Telekom, International
LEC-teaching project "European Social Structure" & "Cultural Globalization" (DM 300 000)
1999 Distinguished Teaching Award, State government Baden-Württemberg, Minister of Science
(DM 15 000)
2000 MeDiDa-Prix 2000/honors award (Media Didactic University Prize of GMW), Finalist, Innsbruck, Austria.
2000 Dr. Wolfgang Heilmann-Prize for human use of information technology (DM 10 000), 1st Prize,
Stuttgart, Germany
2001 BMBF DAAD Institutional grant for the International Study Programme "Global Studies Programme"
(DM 1 000 000).
2004 BMW Group Award for Intercultural Learning (€ 5000), 1st Prize, Munich, Germany
2006 Quality Label "Top 10 International Master's Degree courses made in Germany" (€ 20000),
Berlin, Germany

European Sociological Association (ESA); International Sociological Association (ISA); American Sociological Association (ASA); Austrian Sociological Association (ÖGS), German Sociological Association (DGS).

conferences - selected (main organizer)
2024 Innsbruck: Adorno's Sociology. International Conference
2024 Innsbruck: Foucault World Congress: 40 Years After
2017 Innsbruck: International Social Theory Consortium. 16th Annual Conference
2013 Turin: Crisis, Critique and Change. ESA 11th Conference (chair, Programme Committee)
2011 Innsbruck: Three-Nation Conference, The New Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere
2008 Innsbruck - 2009 Lisbon - 2010 Prague - 2011 Geneva: ESA Social Theory Conference
2003 Freiburg:
ISA Executive Committee Conference, The Quality of Social Existence in a Globalising World

main areas of research  

Sociological theory and philosophy of social science
Epistemic Governance
Theory of Subjectivity and Cognition

Ongoing empirical research:
courses taught  

more than 160 courses, recently among others:

Contemporary Sociological Theory
Philosophy of Social Science
Introduction to Sociology - Contemporary Society (Innsbruck)
Theories of the State, Democracy and Power
Modern European Thought (Global Studies Program Freiburg-Durban-N. Delhi)
Cultural Globalization (LEC seminar Series Freiburg-JNU New Delhi)
Sociology of Law

    A. Sociological Theory D. Sociology of Culture  
    B. Philosophy and Methodology of Social Science E. Empirical Social Research  
    C. Sociology of Norm and Law F. Further (Master's)  

(2022) Dialektik der Begegnung (Festwochen für Alte Musik, S. 17)
(2016) The European Sociology We Want
(2013) Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Soziologie?
(2012) Vorläufer, Zeitgenossen und Pioniere: Über den Umgang der Soziologie mit ihren Klassikern
(2012) Pioniere, Vorläufer und Zeitgenossen: Was oder wer macht die Klassiker klassisch?
(2012) Kutilové identity – Sběrači idejí – Stopaři. Ke vztahu historie a systematiky sociologické teorie po Robertu K. Mertonovi
(2010) Bastler - Sammler - Spurensucher. Zum Verhältnis von Geschichte und Systematik der soziologischen Theorie nach Robert K. Merton
(2008) Soziologische Forschung und Lehre nach der digitalen Revolution
(2005) Rethinking Identity: Concepts of Identity and the 'Other' in Sociological Perspective
(2004) El mundo de la vida y la historia
(1999) Geist oder Bit?


PhD and graduate student supervision
main publications  

selected books


Law and Modernity: Structural transformation of normative orders
A Metacritique of the Kantian Foundations of Social Science.


Morality and Law in the Discourse of Modernity
The Legitimation of the Social Order (ed. with G. Dux) Opladen: Leske & Budrich, 2001.
In German: Moral und Recht im Diskurs der Moderne. Zur Legitimation gesellschaftlicher

Reviewed in Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft (2001), Wissenschaftlicher Literatur
Anzeiger (2002).

Sociological Theory and History
(ed. with U. Weisenbacher) Opladen/Wiesbaden: Westdeutscher Verlag, 1998,
328 pages.
In German: Soziologische Theorie und Geschichte.

Reviewed in Soziologische Revue (1999), Schweizer Zeitschrift für Soziologie (1999),
Wissenschaftlicher Literatur Anzeiger (2001).

The Critique of the Life-world
A Sociological Study of Edmund Husserl and Alfred Schutz. Opladen: Westdeutscher
Verlag, 1996, 256 pages.
In German: Kritik der Lebenswelt. Eine soziologische Auseinandersetzung mit Edmund
Husserl und Alfred Schütz.

Reviewed in Archiv für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (1997), Ruch Filozoficzny (1997),
Soziologische Revue (1999).
Cf. for discussion in English: Michael Barber (2006), 'Philosophy and reflection: A critique of
Frank Welz's sociological and 'processual' criticism of Husserl and Schutz'
Human Studies, 29/2, 141-157.


selected articles


Theory Change
In The SAGE Encyclopedia of Theory in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, ed.
J. Mattingly, Thousand Oaks: Sage, 2022, 897-904.

    Europäische Soziologie als 'Public Good'  

The European Sociology We Want [OPEN ACCESS]
In Czech Sociological Review 52(3), 2016.


Was heißt und zu welchem Ende studiert man Soziologie? [OPEN ACCESS]
In Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 38(1), 2013 (ISSN: 1011-0070).

    Vorläufer, Zeitgenossen und Pioniere: Über den Umgang der Soziologie mit ihren
Klassikern [OPEN ACCESS]
In Soziologie 41(2), 2012 (ISSN 0340-918X).
Cf. Gernot Saalmann, Klassiker als Pioniere, in: Soziologie 41(3): 311-316.
    Kutilové identity – Sběrači idejí – Stopaři. Ke vztahu historie a systematiky
sociologické teorie po Robertu K. Mertonovi
In Sociální studia, No. 1, 2012 (ISSN: 1214-813X), 75-91.

Wissensgeschichte jenseits von Ahnenkult und Andeutungssuche
In Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 37(1), 2012 (ISSN: 1011-0070).

Pioniere, Vorläufer und Zeitgenossen. Was oder wer macht die Klassiker klassisch? [OPEN
ACCESS] In Transnationale Vergesellschaftungen. Verhandlungen des 35. Kongresses der Deutschen
Gesellschaft für Soziologie in Frankfurt am Main 2010, ed. on behalf of the German Sociological
Association by H.-G. Soeffner,
Wiesbaden: Springer VS, 2012.


Niklas Luhmann’s Sociology of Law: A Critical Appraisal
In Understanding Law in Society. Developments in Socio-legal Studies, ed. K. Papendorf/S. Machura/
K. Andenæs, Münster et al.: LIT, 2011, 51-72.

Bastler - Sammler - Spurensucher. Zum Verhältnis von Geschichte und Systematik der soziologischen Theorie nach Robert K. Merton [OPEN ACCESS]
In Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 35(3), 2010 (ISSN: 1011-0070).
For discussion:
Conference on "What is history of sociology and why does one study it?" [OPEN ACCESS],
Graz, 07.05.2011;
and articles in Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie 37(1), 2012 (ISSN: 1011-0070).

100 Years of Indian Sociology: From Social Anthropology to Decentring Global Sociology
In International Sociology 24(5), 2009 (ISSN 0268-5809).

Soziologische Forschung und Lehre nach der digitalen Revolution [OPEN ACCESS]
In Soziologie 37(1), 2008 (ISSN 0340-918X).

Rethinking Identity: Concepts of Identity and 'the Other' in Sociological Perspective [OPEN ACCESS]
In The Society. An International Journal of Social Sciences 1, 2005.

El mundo de la vida y la historia. [OPEN ACCESS]
In Daimon. Revista de Filosofía. Numéro 32, Mayo-Agosto 2004, Fenomenología y Ciencias humanas,


Among others in Berliner Journal für Soziologie; Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie; International Sociology; Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie; Österreichische Zeitschrift für Soziologie; Politische Vierteljahresschrift; Soziologische Revue; Wissenschaftlicher Literatur Anzeiger.


"Approaching Cultural Change in the Era of Globalization. An Interview with T.K. Oommen" (in cooperation with A. Kumar), in: Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 9(1), 2003, 1-26
( Online video version: currently not available).

"Culture in the World-System. An Interview with Immanuel Wallerstein." (in cooperation with A. Kumar). Social Identities. Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture, 7(2), 2001, 221-231
( Online youtube video version; cf. text version)


editorial responsibilities

Austrian Journal of Sociology
Društvena istraživanja: Journal for General Social Issues
European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology
European Societies
Herald of Moscow University: Sociology and Political Science
Revista Sociologia
Sociological Journal - Социологическийжурнал (Russian Academy of Sciences)
The Journal of Chinese Sociology



Academy of Finland
Austrian Academy of Sciences Fellowship Committee (OeAW)
Austrian Agency for International Cooperation in Education and Research (OeAD)
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF), Bonn
Charles University Prague
Czech Government, Research and Development Council
Czech Science Foundation
European Academy of Management (EURAM)
European Science Foundation (ESF)
Kyoto Prize Nomination - Thought and Ethics
Loughborough University, UK, External assessor
Masaryk University Brno
National Science Centre Poland
The Leverhulme Trust, London, UK

Austrian Journal of Sociology (OZS)
Current Sociology
Distinktion: Journal of Social Theory
Društvena istraživanja: Journal for General Social Issues
Frontiers in Political Science
Human Studies
ROUTLEDGE Publications
SAGE Publications
Social Identities
Sociological Theory
Zeitschrift für Rechtssoziologie

(PhD thesis evaluation)
Humboldt University of Berlin
University of Cape Town
University of Innsbruck


international advisory board

AEGEE Europe - ESN - Generation Europe Foundation, Quality Assurance Board
Global Studies Programme, HU Berlin, Presidential board
Inclusive Development Foundation (IDF), Ghaziabad, Indien, Advisory Council

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