Dr. Robert Braun
- Science, Technology and Social Transformation
Ontological politics, technology transitions (e.g. autonomous mobility), responsible research and innovation (RRI), [political] corporate social responsibility (pCSR), critical automobility studies, critical data studies
Robert studied philosophy of arts and history at the University of Budapest and history at Rutgers University, in 2002 he did his PhD in philosophy and in 2021 his habilitation in Sociology. He is currently also teaching at Masaryk University, Brno and University of Technology, Vienna.
1991-94 he was assistant professor at ELTE University of Budapest, from 1994-2019 he was Associate Professor at Corvinus University in Budapest and currently Associate Professor at Masaryk University. From 2015-2018 he was Professor at Lauder Business School in Vienna. He was Pro-Rector of International Business School in Budapest 2014-2015. He did research at Rutgers University in the US, at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Wassenaar, Netherlands, and taught at numerous universities in the EU and the US. His core reserach interest is in the politics of societal transformation. His past research includes the politics of historiography [creation of power/knowledge and meaning in relation to the past]; the politics of corporations [creation of power/knowledge through social exchange/business]; and, currently, the politics of autonomous mobility [creation of power/knowledge through technology].
Critical Automobility Studies and RRI
Automobility is looking at our public (mobile) lives. It studies how we are coerced, restricted, injured and sometimes killed by a sociotechnical order that operates the distribution of power between drivers, passengers, bicyclists, pedestrians and other users of public space. In the language of academia, ‘Automobility,’ an enduring hegemonic sociotechnical order, not the automobile, is the focus of critical automobility studies. Critical automobility studies lies at the confluence of several ‘turns’ in the social sciences that have crossed the traditional disciplinary boundaries of sociology, geography, political science and philosophy. The ‘spatial turn’ conceptualized space in terms of social connections and power; the ‘mobilities turn’ conceptualized the social in terms of movement and, conversely, movement in terms of the social. These two turns were complemented by a ‘social turn’ in technology studies, which emphasized the socially constructed and politicized nature of technology and conceptualized technoscience as a power/knowledge apparatus. SCOT (Social Construction of Technology) and STS (Science, Technology and Society) offered new ways to look at the co-production of technology and society. Inspired by these ‘turns,’ but demarcating the territory of analysis—automobility—from the more general field of mobility studies, as well as from technology focused conceptions of automobility and the automobile.
Socio-technology transitions enable, influence and generate mobilities. Innovations create niches, regimes and landscapes that shape our present as well as our future. We believe that ecosystems of innovation are predominantly social, therefore they are mainly not about changes in technology but about policy, practices, structures and creation of meaning. Our work is influenced by ideas of Michel Foucault, Giorgo Agamben, Ulrich Beck, John Urry as well as our peers in mobilities, RRI, and STS research.
We are especially interested in how new technologies in mobility create new knowledge(s) and 'truth(s)' as well as how different regimes of truth influence technology innovations. Our aim is to bring a social science and social philosophy perspective, as well as a participatory, stakeholder informed and engaged research method, to transformations in and of mobility through a responsible research and innovation approach. Our main focus is on the social, ethical and epistemological aspects of new forms of mobility as social phenomena: autonomous, mobility-as-a-service, on-demand mobility arrangements; changes in public and private, individual and shared, path dependent and persuasive modes and systems of transportation; challenges of urban shared spaces and opportunities in increasing urban livability and wellbeing.
(2021) Braun, Robert and Richard Randell. The Vermin of the Street: The politics of violence and the nomos of automobility. Mobilities, https://doi.org/10.1080/17450101.2021.19811
(2021) Braun, Robert and Richard Randell. “Getting Behind the Object We Love the Most” Transfers, https://doi.org/10.3167/TRANS.2021.110108
(2021) Braun, Robert and Richard Randell. Futurame Sadasnjosti: problem Vozaca u Autonomnom Vozilu Socio-Tehnickog Imaginarija, A Priori. May, 2021.https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.4781764
(2020) Braun, Robert and Richard Randell. “Futuramas of the present: The “driver problem” in the autonomous vehicle sociotechnical imaginary.” Humanities and Social Sciences Communications, 7, 163. https://doi.org/10.1057/s41599-020-00655-z
(2020) Braun, Robert. A technológia nomosza, Cafe Babel 81. November. pp. 20-29.
(2020) Braun, Robert. “A digitális (auto)mobilitás évtizedei - Decades of Digital (Auto)Mobility”. Vezetestudomany 51, no. 1, pp. 46-54 (2020) https://doi.org/10.14267/VEZTUD.2020.01.04
(2020) Novitzky, Peter, Michael J. Bernstein, Vincent Blok, Robert Braun, Tung Tung Chan, Wout Lamers, Anne Loeber, Ingeborg Meijer, Ralf Lindner, Erich Griessler. “Improve alignment of research policy and societal values”. Science 369, no. 6499, pp. 39-41 https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abb3415. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/32631886.
(2020) Robert Braun, Vincent Blok, Anne Loeber, and Ulrike Wunderle. “COVID-19 and the onlineification of research: kick-starting a dialogue on Responsible online Research and Innovation (RoRI)”. Journal of Responsible Innovation, pp. 1-9 https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2020.1789387.
(2020) Timmermans, Job, Vincent Blok, Robert Braun, Renate Wesselink, and Rasmus Øjvind Nielsen. “Social labs as an inclusive methodology to implement and study social change: the case of responsible research and innovation”. Journal of Responsible Innovation, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2020.1787751.
(2020) Robert Braun Tine Ravn, and Elisabeth Frankus. “What constitutes expertise in research ethics and integrity?”. Research Ethics 16, no. 1-2, pp. pp. 1-16 https://doi.org/10.1177/1747016119898402.
(2019) Rychnovská, Dagmar and Robert Braun. “Socially responsible innovation in security: critical reflections”. Critical Policy Studies13, no. 3, pp. 366-368 (2019) https://doi.org/10.1080/19460171.2019.1638806
(2018) Robert Braun and Erich Griessler. “More democratic research and innovation”. Journal of Science Communication 17, no. 03 https://doi.org/10.22323/2.17030304.
(2017) Robert, Braun. “Kinotopic consumptionscapes: Impact of autonomous mobility on consumption and sociotechnical futures”. MARKETING ÉS MENEDZSMENT 51, Special issue ICC, pp. 15-26.
(2022) Robert Braun and Richard Randell. Post-Automobility Futures: Technology, Power, and Imaginaries. London: Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978 1 5381 5885 2 (in press).
(2019) Corporate Stakeholder Democracy - Politicizing Corporate Social Responsibility. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press. (Finalist: European Academy of Management [EURAM], Best Book Award, 2020)
(2015) Vállalati társadalmi felelősségvállalás: A vállalatok politikája, Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó
(2010) Piszkos Fred almája. Budapest: Jaffa Kiadó
(1995) Holocaust, elbeszélés, történelem. Budapest: Osiris
(2020) “A hegyen, napfogyatkozáskor”. In: Szarka, Károly (eds.) Az örök látogató - Konrád György 1933-2019, Budapest: Noran Libro Kiadó, pp. 27-30.
(2019) Autonomous Vehicles: From Science Fiction to Sustainable Future”. In: Marian, Aguiar; Charlotte, Mathieson; Lynne, Pearce (eds.) Mobilities, Literature, Culture, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 259-280 https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-27072-8_11
(2019) “Privacy, Democracy and Social Fairness”. In: Alonso, Raposo Maria; Ciuffo, Biagio; Adrente, Fulvio (eds.) The future of road transport: Implications of automated, connected, low-carbon and shared mobility, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union, pp. 101-108 http://dx.doi.org/10.2760/668964
(2019) “A provokáció jót tesz az embernek”. In: Kőrössi, P. József; Kassai, Zsigmond (eds.) Szabadon élni. Heller Ágnes 1929−2019, Budapest: Noran Libro Kiadó, pp. 78-92
(2019) “A digitális mobilitás évtizedei”. In: Iglódi, Csaba (eds.) Horizont, 30 éves a Gfk: Jubileumi kiadás, Budapest: GfK Hungária Kft, pp. 46-57 
(2019) “Negatív kampány”. In: Sebők, Miklós; Böcskei, Balázs (eds.) Itt van Amerika: Az amerikai politika hatása Magyarországon, Budapest: Athenaeum, pp. 136-149
(2018) Europe’s AI strategy must give the public a voice, Research Europe, May 2018
(2018): Traditional and Participatory Methods Assessing Autonomous Driving, Transport Research Arena
(2018): Excellent research is focused on citizens, not citations, Research Europe, 11, January, 2018.
(2018) Gefährliche Algorithmen – was zu tun wäre. Kommentar der Anderen, Der Standard
(2017) Juncker’s vision for Europe comes with hi-tech blinkers (with König, T.), Research Europe, 27, April, 2017.
(2013): Corporate politics: social responsibility, corporate communities and the future of strategy (A vállalatok politikája: vállalati, társadalmi felelősségvállalás, vállalati közösségek és a vállalati stratégia jövője), HUN Vezetéstudomány 44. kötet. 2013. január, pp. 18-28
(2017) Ravn, T., Braun, R., Drivdal, L.: Review of RI/RE expert qualifications. ENERI, WP6, 6.1., 1-33.
(2017) Ravn, T., Braun, R., Hönigmayer, H.: RI/RE expert qualifications: Results from a qualitative expert interview study, WP6, 6.1., 1-33.25. Conference publication(s)
(2010): Parties as brand communities: challenges and opportunities (A pártok mint márkaközösségek: kihívások és lehetőségek. Magyar Fogyasztó: A közügyek fogyasztói. 2010. február 17., Budapest. www.magyarfogyaszto.hu/file/MFSZ_kozugyek.pdf
(2010): Community-based Brand Management. (ENG) Marketing Theory Challenges in Emerging Societies - EMAC Regional Conference. 2010. szeptember 23-25., Budapest, Budapesti Corvinus Egyetem.
(2010): Brand value assessment in the age of new costumers: the power of brand communities (Márkaérték-mérés az új fogyasztók korában: A márkaközösségek ereje.) with Rita Lukács, Marketing Oktatók Klubja, 16. Országos Konferencia, Új fogyasztó, új vásárló szekció. 2010. augusztus 26-27., Budapest, Budapesti Kommunikációs és Üzleti Főiskola.
(2009): The politics of corporations: Corporate Social Responsibility, corporate communities, and the future of corporate strategy. (ENG) EASY-ECO Budapest Conference. 2009. október 16-18., Budapest, Central European University.
(2008): The revolution of rsponsibility (A felelősségvállalás forradalma.) CSR és Hírnévmenedzsment. 2008. április 16., Budapest.
(2008): Business revolution? Challenges and opportunities of CSR management. (ENG) Biz Days 2008. 2008. november 24-28., Bukarest, Románia.
(2007): Accelerating CSR Practices in the new EU member states and candidate countries. CSR in the New Europe: Challenges and Solutions. (ENG) With Mark Line, 2007. június 26., Brüsszel, Belgium.
(2007): Responsibility in the financial sector (Felelősségvállalás a pénzügyi szektorban: transzparencia és hitelesség.) Konferencia a lakossági pénzügyek egyes kérdéseiről . 2007. május 22., Budapest.
(2007): Social responsibility in the financial sector: transparency and accountability. IV. International Forum on Financial Consumer Protection and Education. 2007. október 15., Budapest. (2007): The state of CSR in Eastern Europe – the findings of the first baseline study in the region. (ENG) Annual EBEN Conference. 2007. szeptember 18-20., Leuven, Belgium. With Rita Lukács and Mark Line
My core reserach interest is in the politics of societal transformation or the politics of the ontological turn in the social sciences. My past research includes the politics of historiography [creation of knowledge and meaning in relation with the past] (Rutgers, Institute for Advanced Studies, Wassenaar), the politics of corporations [creation of knowledge through social exchange/business] (Corvinus University, Lauder Business School), and, currently, the politics of autonomous mobility [creation of knowledge through technology] (Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna). My research projects involve the representation and engagement of stakeholders in corporate communities, transformation processes as well as the societal and political impacts of autonomous mobility. In 2007 I have been the lead researcher in the UNDP/EU research on the baseline of corporate social responsibility in the EU accession states.
GoDataSpace: Data Space is one of the new frontiers of innovation in digital technology that aims to create „a seamless digital area with the scale that will enable the development of new products and services based on data” (EC 2018). The idea is to provide large quantities and different type of data openly accessible for governments, industry and other actors in order to innovate. Smart City projects intend to manage Big Data in urban environments and face challenges of organizational complexities. Urban Data Space (UDS) is suggested to facilitate an ecosystem for data exchange and added value creation utilizing the various types of data within a smart city/municipality. This projects aims at arriving at a shared understanding of dataspace accross disciplines, knowledges, institutions in order to assist policy-makers tackle the challenges posed by UDS. Funder: CTS/TU
- Role: PI
- Urban Bench: The public bench represents a close practical and emotional link between the city and its citizens. It is a key element for active and public modes of transport andthe well-being of citizens. This activity enables citizens to describe and share their needs of public seating accommodation through low-threshold but structured practice. It empowers citizens and creates spatial awareness, connects stakeholders and promotes exchange; it allows involvement in the ideation process and promotes emotional ownership and advocacy. The city gets a feedback of citizen’s needs, preferences and restrictions concerning the form, material, placement, orientation of benches and their use. The city can adapt its seating-offer to the different existing needs and therefore increase the quality of public space. The tool and method will be tested in Munich. Funder: European Commission, EIT Urban Mobility KIC
- Role: Theoretical Framework/PI
Associate Professor, Masary University, Brno (Faculty of Social Sciences)
- Courses: Social responsibility: Business, Research and Innovation
The question of responsibility – an STS (Science Technology and Society Studies) perspective
Senior Lecturer, TU Vienna
- Courses: Responsible Research and Innovation (Ringvorlesung)
- Rethinking Responsible Innovation (MA seminar)