Mag. Dr. PhD Anna Durnova

Senior Fellow
+43 1 59991 0

Political Sociology

Sociology of Emotions

Sociology of Health

Cultural Sociology

Critical Policy Studies

Expertise and Knowledge

Bild Anna Durnova
  • Anna Durnova is a Professor of Political Sociology at the Department of Sociology, University of Vienna and holds the „Habilitation à diriger des recherches“ diploma from SciencesPO in Paris. Until 2021, she worked as a senior researcher at the IHS in Vienna and is now Senior Fellow associated with IHS.

    Her research focuses on emotions as a nexus for studying social regulations and their institutions. The main interest of this work is to understand multiple tensions between citizens and institutions within current social and political controversies. She is a Faculty Fellow at the Yale University Center for Cultural Sociology.

    She also holds a number of advisory and coordination positions in the international professional association of sociologists and political scientists; among them Member of the Editorial Board of the journal Policy & Politics and the vice-President of the International Public Policy Association.

    Based most of her career in Vienna, she also was a researcher at Charles University in Prague and a Visiting researcher at Concordia University in 2019.  Between 2009 and 2010 she was a Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Lyon.

    She occasionally contributes to public debates on democracy, post-truth, emotions,  or Austrian politics & society in Czech Television , Czech Broadcast, and writes op-eds for the Czech daily newspaper Hospodářské Noviny.

  • see also the complete publication list on the scholar google profile


    Durnová, A. (2019). Understanding emotions in post-factual politics: negotiating truth.  Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing. 

    Durnová, A. (2018).  The Politics of Intimacy. Rethinking the End-of-life Controversy. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press. 

    Durnová, A. (2015) In den Händen der Ärzte. Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis – Pionier der Handhygiene.  Wien, Residenzverlag.

    Fischer, F., Torgerson, D., Durnová, A., & Orsini, M. (2015) (Eds.). Handbook of Critical Policy Studies. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.



    Durnová, A. (2022) Making interpretive policy analysis critical and societally relevant: emotions, ethnography and language., Policy & Politics, 50 (1), 

    Hejzlarová, Eva M., and Anna Durnová. (2022)  "Spor o domácí porody jako příklad aktivizace občanské sféry: koncept societalizace Jeffreyho Alexandera." Sociologicky Casopis 58.2: 151-180.


    Durnová, A. L. Formánková and E. M. Hejzlarová (2022). “Empowered or patronized?: The role of emotions in policies and professional discourses on birth care.” Critical Social Policy, 42 (1): 129-149 

    Elaheh Mohammadi and Anna Durnova, (2021) . “Policy expertise and culture: the case of “civil sexuality” in Iran.”, International Review of Public Policy [Online], 3.3 | 2021, Online since 15 December 2020 


    Durnová, A., & Čada, K. (2021). Introduction: War on expertise–war on culture: understanding the expert-culture boundary in current socio-political landscapes. International Review of Public Policy3(3.3). URL: 

    Durnová, A. and Mohammadi, E. (2021): Intimacy, Home and Emotions in the Era of the Pandemic,Sociology Compass, 15(4), e12852. 


    Durnová, Anna P. and Christopher M. Weible. 2020. Tempest in a Teapot? Toward New Collaborations between Mainstream Policy Process Studies and Interpretive Policy Studies, Policy Sciences, online first , DOI: 10.1007/s11077-020-09386-z

    Ercan, S. A., Durnová, A., Loeber, A., & Wagenaar, H. (2020). Symposium: revisiting the three pillars of Deliberative Policy Analysis. Policy Studies, 1-24.

    Weible, Christopher M., Daniel Nohrstedt, Paul Cairney, David P. Carter, Deserai A. Crow, Anna P. Durnová, Tanya Heikkila, Karin Ingold, Allan McConnell, and Diane Stone. 2020. "COVID-19 and the policy sciences: initial reactions and perspectives."  Policy Sciences, online first:  doi: 10.1007/s11077-020-09381-4.

    Durnová  A. (2019) Unpacking emotional contexts of post-truthCritical Policy Studies, 13:4, 447-450.

    Durnová, A. (2019). March for Science als Schauplatz der gesellschaftspolitischen Polarisierung zwischen Elite und Volk: ein interpretativer Beitrag zur Analyse von Postfaktizität., Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft 29 (2): 345-360. 

    Goisauf, Melanie Gillian Martin, Heidi Beate Bentzen, Isabelle Budin-Ljøsne, Lars Ursin, Anna Durnova, Liis Leitsalu, Katharine Smith, Sara Casati1, Marialuisa Lavitrano, Deborah Mascalzoni, Martin Boeckhout, Michaela Th. Mayrhofer (2019): “Data in Question: A Survey of European Biobank Professionals on Ethical, Legal and Societal Challenges of Biobank Research”, PLOS ONE 14 (9): e0221496. 

    Durnová, A. (2019) Czech Post-communist Trouble with Participatory Governance. Toward an Analysis of the Cultural Agency of Policy Discourses, Policy Studies, online first

    Goisauf M. & Durnová A.  (2019). From Engaging Publics to Engaging Knowledges: Enacting “Appropriateness” in the Austrian Biobank Infrastructure, Public Understanding of Science, 28(3), 275–289,

    Durnová, A. (2018). Understanding Emotions in Policy Studies through Foucault and Deleuze, Politics & Governance, 2018, Volume 6, Issue 4, Pages 95–102.

    Durnová, A. (2018). A Tale of ‘Fat Cats’ and ‘Stupid Activists’: Contested Values, Governance and Reflexivity in the Brno Railway Station Controversy. Journal of Environmental Policy & Planning, 20 (6), 735 - 751.

    Durnová A. and Hejzlarová E. (2017). Framing policy designs through contradictory emotions: The case of Czech single mothers, Public Policy and Administration, Vol. 33 (4), pp. 409-427.

    Durnová, A. (2016). Reading the End-of-life Controversy through Political Lenses: Public Power and Intimacy. Sociální studia / Social Studies, 1/2016, 87–100.

    Durnová, A. (2015). Between the Individual and the collective: Understanding the tensions of the interpretive inquiry. A Response to Boswell and Corbett. Critical Policy Studies, 9(2), 241–246.

    Durnová, A., & Zittoun, P. (2013). Les approches discursives des politiques publiques [Discursive Approaches to Public Policy]. Revue française de science politique, 63(3/2013), 569–577.

    Durnová, A. (2013). Governing Through Intimacy: Explaining Care Policies Through ‘Sharing A Meaning’. Critical Social Policy, 33(3), 496–515.

    Durnová, A. (2012). Über die Rationalität hinaus: für eine interpretative und politische Wissenschaft. Reaktion auf Andreas Dür. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 41(3), 315–322.


    Book chapters

    Durnová, A. (2018). Intimität regieren (lassen)? Politischer Diskurs zum Lebensende in der postindustriellen Gesellschaft, In: Willibald J. Stronegger, Kristin Attems (Eds.): Mensch und Endlichkeit. Wien: Nomos Verlag, Reihe Bioethik in Wissenschaft und Gesellschaft", pp. 57 – 77.

    Durnová, A. (2017). Může se česká politika obrátit jiným směrem? Kulturněsociologická sebereflexe jedné generace. In V. M. Dostál, Grigorij (Ed.), Maximum možného? (pp. 137 - 143). Praha: Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung e.V.

    Durnová, A., Fischer, F., & Zittoun P. (2016). Discursive Approaches to Public Policy: Politics, Argumentation, and Deliberation. In B. G. Peters & P. Zittoun (Eds.), Contemporary Approaches to Public Policy. Theories, Controversies and Perspectives (pp. 35–58). New York, NY: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Durnová, A. (2015). Lost in Translation: Expressing Emotions in Policy Deliberation. In F. Fischer, D. Torgerson, M. Orsini & A. Durnová (Eds.), Handbook of Critical Policy Studies (pp. 222–239). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.

    Durnová, A. (2015). Planning through Emotions: Political Lessons from the Controversy Between ‘Fat Cats’ and ‘Stupid Activists’ over Rebuilding Brno Railroad Station. In E. Gualini, E. (Ed.), Planning and Conflict. Critical Perspectives on Contentious Urban Developments (pp. 259–278). New York, NY: Routledge.

    Durnová, A. (2011). L’État face aux “catastrophes morales”: de la politique de la mort en France au pouvoir de l’intime [State facing the Moral Catastrophe. Politics of death in France and the Power of intimacy]. In A. François (Ed.), Nouvelles figures de l’État. Violences, droit et société [New Figures of the State: Violence, Right and Society] (pp. 225–248). Cluj: ARCHES/Idea.


    Online Proceedings

    Durnová, A. (2015). “Negotiating Truth: Semmelweis and the role of Emotions in Public Policy”, available online at:

    Durnová, A. (2014). “Negotiating Truth. Semmelweis, Discourse on Hand Hygiene and Politics of Emotions, available online at:

    Zittoun, P. & Durnová A. (2010). „l’Insoutenable de l’ordre du discours. ” [The unbearable of the order of discourse], In : Foucault dans les itinéraires des Recherches [Foucault in the Research trajectories], Working series Laboratoire PACTE, Grenoble.


    Book reviews

    „Iva Šmídová, Eva Šlesingerová, Lenka Slepičková, Games of Life: Czech Reproductive Medicine, Sociological Perspectives, Masarykova univerzita, 2015“,  Sociální Studia/Social Studies, 3/2016

    „Helga Nowotny: The Cunning of Uncertainty, Polity Press 2016“, Sociologický časopis / Czech Sociological Review 4/2016, pp. 610 - 613.

    “Frank Fischer: Democracy and Expertise: Re-Orienting Policy Inquiry, Oxford university Press, 2009”. Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft vol. 4 /2011, pp. 435 – 436.

    “Hendrik Wagenaar: Meaning in Action: Interpretation and Dialogue in Policy Process, M.E. Sharpe Inc. 2011”. Critical Policy Studies, Vol. 6 (1), pp. 103 – 105.


    Crafting liberal democracy through self-determination: the case of women’s health care choices - CLIDE  (Principal Investigator)

    Project Duration: 2019 - 2023 

    Project objective: The project looks at one of the key dimensions of self-determination – the public debates on health care choices – while zeroing in on women’s health specifically. Women’s health complicates the general acceptance of the importance of self-determination in health care choices. While patients are seen as increasingly engaged in decisions on health care measures, public debates on home birth or refusal of mammography screening as legitimate health care choices point to a necessity to explore more deeply the nexus between self-determination and the rational-irrational binary code through that self-determination gets articulated in these specific debates. With its analytical focus on concrete references to emotions in public debate and its interdisciplinary approach CLIDE becomes the first project to bring an interpretive study of citizens’ perspectives on liberal democratic paradigm, its undermining and its future prospects. 

    Through desk research and media review, as well as field-work based interpretive analysis CLIDE will bring material from two particular controversies - the debate on home birth in France and in the refusal of mammography screening in Austria.  Expert interviews and biographic-narrative inquiry focussing on particular references to emotions in these issues will then allow for precise zooming in on concrete standpoints and practices together with their qualification as ‘rational’/’irrational’ or ‘legitimate’/’illegitimate’. With this rich set of data, the project foregrounds the discursive capacity of references to emotions to legitimize collective action and reorients the understanding of self-determination in liberal democratic paradigm. Planned for three years’ time, CLIDE links the policy-oriented research focus of the host institution with the PI’s academic expertise on health, sociology of emotions and policy studies to undertake innovative analysis in highly pending areas of health care while offering up-to-date empirical material on liberal democracy. 

    Financing: Funded by the Elise-Richter Programme of the Austrian FWF Science Fund (V 761)

    See the complete and updated list of courses at the University of Vienna here 

    Invited talks

    Durnová, A. (2020, June): Emotions in times of COVID-19. Doing interpretive research in pandemic times. Talk within a course "Covid-19: The Pandemic, Societies, and Governments",School of Public Affairs, University of Colorado, Denver, USA

    Durnová, A. (2019, September) : Emotions, Democracy and the Post-factual Threat to Expertise, Keynote Address, Disagreement, (in)tolerance and political discourse, Conference organized by the Centre for Ethics as Study in Human Value, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic.

    Durnová, A. (2019, June): Intimacy and the Politics of Expertise, Invited talk, Concordia University, Montreal, Canada.

    Durnová, A. (2018, March) : Understanding emotions in the postfactual world, Invited Talk at the Sociological Evenings, Faculty of Social Science, Prague.

    Durnová, A (2017, October): "Feeling Liebral Democracy: Toward a policy oriented cultural sociology of emotions", Invited Talk at the Institute of International Relations, Prague.

    Durnová, A (2017, October): Responsibility in a Leaderless World, Plenary Panel, at the 9th International Symposium: Responsibility in a Leaderless World,  Czech Foreign ministry, Prague

    Durnová, A. (2017, September): Intimität regieren? Politischer Diskurs zum Lebensende in der post- industriellen Gesellschaft., Interdisziplinäres Dialogforum Mensch und Endlichkeit
    Die Institutionalisierung des Lebensendes zwischen Wissenschaft und Lebenswelt, Netzwerk Lebensende

    Durnová, A. (2017, April): Culture of Truth: Emotions in a Post-factual World, Yale CCS Spring Conference

    Durnová, A. (2017, April)  Searching for Truth in Post-factual Times, Yale University Policy Lab

    Durnová, A. (2017, February) “Citizen Empowerment in Post-communist context”, TPol talk, University at Albany, SUNY, 9 February 2017

    Durnová, A. (2016, November)  “New European Orientalism”, Plenary Rountable, Institut für Wissenschaft der Menschen, Vienna, 16 November 2016.

    Durnová, A. (2016, May). “The Politics of Intimacy Re-thinking the End-of-Life Controversy”. Institute of International Relations. Prague (Czech Republic), 25 May 2016.

    Durnová, A. (2015, September). “Die gemeine Hand: Der Fall Semmelweis und die Entdeckung der Kontaktinfektion” [Semmelweis Case and the Emergence of the Contact Infection]. Keynote address at the Hygiene-Fortbildungstage, Meeting of the Austrian Association of Health Care (ÖGKV). Vienna (Austria), 21–22 September 2015.

    Durnová, A. (2015, January). “Intimacy and Politics: the Case of Homebirth”. Invited talk at the Masaryk University Brno. Brno (Czech Republic), 22 January 2015.

    Durnová, A. (2014, October). “Ignaz Semmelweis: Kampf um die Wahrheit” [“Semmelweis fight for the Truth: Female bodies and the hands of doctors”]. Plenary talk at the convention “Idee und Widerspruch – der medizinische Diskurs im Wien des 19. und angehenden 20. Jahrhunderts” [“Idea and contradiction – the medical discourse in Vienna in the 19th and early 20th century”]. Society of College of Physicians in Vienna, Vienna (Austria), 22 October 2014.

    Durnová, A. (2014, October). “Politics of Intimacy: Re-thinking the end-of-life controversies”. Plenary talk at the Masaryk University Brno. Brno (Czech Republic), 17 October 2014.

    Durnová, A. (2014, August). “Austria and the Czech Republic through the comparative eyes”. Keynote address at the International Summer School of Journalism (Invitation of the Austrian Embassy in the Czech Republic). Havlíčkův Brod (Czech Republic), 14 August 2014.

    Durnová, A. (2014, July). “Politics of Intimacy: Re-thinking the end-of-life controversies”. Keynote address at the Université libre de Bruxelles. Brussels (Belgium), 19 July 2014.

    Durnová, A. (2014, June). “Negotiating Truth: Semmelweis, Discourse on Hand Hygiene and the Politics of Emotions”. Keynote address at the Semmelweis Lectures of the Annual Conference of the Surgical Infection Society Europe. Vienna (Austria), 6 June 2014.

    Durnová, A. (2013, May). “Lost in Translation: Back and Forth between Fieldwork and Interpretation”. Invited Talk at the Jour Fixe Art & Science, University of Applied Arts. Vienna (Austria), 24 May 2013.

    Durnová, A. (2012, February). “Governing Through Intimacy”. Invited Talk at the Department of Government, University of Essex. Essex (UK), 8 February 2012.

    Durnová, A. (2011). “Über die Rationalität hinaus: Interpretative Politikfeldanalyse. Reaktion auf Andreas Dür”. Keynote address at the Annual Meeting (“Tag der Politikwissenschaft”) of the Austrian Political Studies Association (ÖGPW). University of Salzburg, Salzburg (Austria), 2 December 2011.

    Bargetz, B., Birkner, M., Durnová, A., Hajek, K., Lichtenberger, H., Lorey, I. … Wissen, M. (2011, November). Plenary roundtable: Poststrukturalistische Perspektiven auf Kämpfe”. Conference: Ansteckende Inventionen. Zur Repolitisierung des Poststrukturalismus. Department of Political Science, University of Vienna, Vienna (Austria), 18 November 2011.

    Durnová, A. (2010, November).S’en laver les mains: A propos du mariage de raison entre Science et Politique [“Washing hands: Marriage of Reason betwen Science and Politics”]. Invited talk at the University Franche-Comté. Besancon (France), 3 November 2010.

    Durnová, A. (2010, July). “Science and Politics: a reasonable marriage”. Keynote address at the International Summer School of Philosophy and Social Sciences (OFRESS). Faculty of Arts, University of Belgrade, Belgrade (Serbia), 18 July 2010.

    Durnová, A. (2009, July). “L’Etat face aux catastrophes morales. Memento mori dans la politique française” [“State facing moral catastrophes: memento mori in French politics”]. Keynote address at the International Summer School of Philosophy and Social Sciences (OFRESS). Université Toulouse Mirail, Toulouse (France), 13 July 2009.

    Durnová, A. (2009, November). “Feldforschung intim: Zwischen Erlebnissen, Kategorien und Analyse. Interpretative Politikfeldanalyse” [“Fieldwork intimately: Between Impression, Categories and Analysis. Interpretive Political Science”]. Invited Talk at the Department of Political Science and Sociology, University of Salzburg. Salzburg (Austria), 18 November 2009.

    Durnová, A. (2007, November). “Global Governance of genomics. A phronetic response”. Keynote address at Testing genes, profiling DNA: The global governance of genomics – hopes, duties, and security. Mendel Centre Brno, Brno (Czech Republic), 3 November 2007.

    Durnová, A. (2005, July). “Vers une argumentation authentique” [“Towards an Authentic Argumentation”]. Invited paper presentation at the École Normale Supérieure. Paris (France), 12 July 2005.


    Interview mit Anna Durnová über die Jury Entscheidung des Dokumentarfilmfestivals Ji.hlava - Sektion "Politik" The silence of the others,  Radio Praha, 6.11. 2018

    Die Lektion ignaz Semmelweis, Forschungsreport über Anna Durnová, Die Presse ( von Alice Grancy), 5.5. 2018

    Durnová, A., D. Rychnovská (2018): Padá planeta, něco si přej!,, Hospodářské noviny , 9.11. 2018

    Durnová, A., H. Hönigmayer and J. Starkbaum  (2018): Elga gehört den Bürgern – lasst sie mitreden!, 4.5. 2018.

    Durnová, A. (2017) Výchova expertů v Čechách,  [„The education of experts in the Czech Republic“],, 5.8. 2017

    Durnová, A. (2016): Naděje na zdraví jako věc veřejná, [„Hope to be cured as a public cause“], A2alarm: , 7.6.2016

    Durnová, A. (2016) Jak je ti, Rakousko? [„How are you, Austria?“] Nový Prostor 2016/478,

    Durnová (2015): Osudová špína na rukou,[„The fatal dirt on the hands“] Nový Prostor 2015/ 452,

    Durnová, A. (2015): Lékaři bez hranic odpovědnosti ,[„Doctors without borders of responsibility"], A2alarm:

    (2016, September 15) Eine Bank für Gewebe, Blut und Daten, Interview im Mittagsjournal von Ö1 mit Anna Durnová und Kurt Zatloukal, Retrieved from

    Durnová, A. (2014, November 11). 1989: Erinnerungen eines einstigen Kindes (Kommentar der anderen). Der Standard. Retrieved from

    Durnová, A. (2013, October 23). Zwischen Populismus und politischer Obdachlosigkeit (Kommentar der anderen). Der Standard. Retrieved from

    Durnová, A., & K. C. Zahradnik (2010, November 2). Wie der Politische Diskurs die Wissenschaft bedroht. Die Presse. Retrieved from

     „Ignaz Semmelweis – Pioneer and Visionary in Medicine“ was made at the occasion of his 200th birthday by Carola Timmel, Simon Casetti, Wolfgang Bledl and Lisa Lerchbacher. Among others, they visited the great-grandson of Semmelweis, who works now as cardiologist there. The film was shown at the symposium „200 Jahre Semmelweis“. Anna Durnová was als part of this film.