Dr. Robert Braun

  • Science, Technology and Social Transformation
Senior Researcher
+43 1 59991 134

Ontological politics, technology transitions (e.g. autonomous mobility), responsible research and innovation (RRI), [political] corporate social responsibility (pCSR), critical automobility studies, critical data studies

Bild Robert Braun
  • Robert is a Science and Technology studies (STS) scholar doing research in the ontological politics of technology. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and a Habilitation in Sociology. Robert has extensive experience in doing research and teaching STS, Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI), mobilities, and political ontology; doing interdisciplinary research in local and international settings with multinational teams; and wide-ranging methodological experience in qualitative, ethnographic and participatory action research. Robert’s research investigates technological regimes of power/knowledge and the working of apparatuses of power. Working critically with the new mobilities paradigm and its conceptualization of automobility as a self-organizing autopoietic, non-linear system, Robert’s work considers automobility as a case of a new techno-social nomos of the Earth. This has created a post-colonial regime of technoscientific truth that has appropriated the Globe, creating a new Jus Publicum Europaeum.

    His research is concerned with technology as a socio-political assemblage with a wide range of power and political implications. He addresses impacts in the ontological and epistemic: being mindful that ontology (considered from an ethnomethodology perspective the mundane lifeworld and its inscriptions) is politics that has forgotten itself. Beyond the political ontology of automobility, he is also interested in the effects of generative AI (LLMs) on our socio-political construct: epistemic institutions, political systems and forces influencing global conflicts.

    Robert is engaged in discussions around different concepts of the Anthropocene. He enters the Anthropocene debate from an STS perspective: how modern scientific assumptions of the real enact the social and political order of our time. Within an Anthropocene frame he discusses anthropogenic violence against fellow humans but also against more-than-humans – animals, other living beings, and even inanimate matter. Reflections on science include the use and misuse of science for various political agendas, from climate emergency denial to the weaponization of academic integrity processes such as plagiarism and research ethics, in various politicized settings. His research concerns the politics of scientific institutional practices, the emerging field of quantum social science and its application in studying aspects of various forms of violence.

    In his last book (with Richard Randell) he furthered the understanding of automobility, which they have conceptualized as an imaginary, as a nomos, and as a political ontology. In their current work they conceptualize apparatuses that are built into everyday life that reproduce themselves through mundane constitutive violence. He also conceptualizes alternative ontologies, namely, quantum theory to provide possible paths for moving towards a post-Anthropocene of pluriverse ontologies not predicated on a One-World-World ontology, sovereign power and the constitutive violence.

  • Latest peer-reviewed

    Monographs (peer-reviewed)

    (2022)Robert Braun and Richard Randell. Post-Automobility Futures: Technology, Power, and Imaginaries. London: Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978 1 5381 5885 2.

    (2019)Robert Braun. Corporate Stakeholder Democracy - Politicizing Corporate Social Responsibility. Budapest and New York: Central European University Press. ISBN: 978 963 386 292 6


    Peer-reviewed papers/chapters

    (2024). Braun, Robert, Randell, Richard, John Kleba. Sociological, Postcolonial and Critical Theory Foundation. Handbook of Engineering Ethics Education. London: Routledge (Forthcoming)

    (2023). Ciommo, Floridea Di; Temmerman, Laura; Mejía-Dorantes, Lucía; Braun, Robert; Shiftan, Yoram; Polydoropoulou, Amalia; Tsouros, Ioannis; Okello, Winnieand Rondinella, Gianni. Social Justice at the Centre of Sustainable Projects Evaluation.Transportation Research Procedia, 72, pp. 4327-4334. DOI: 10.1016/j.trpro.2023.11.338

    (2023). Braun, Robert and Randell, Richard. The Political Ontology of Automobility. Mobility Humanities. https://doi.org/10.23090/MH.2023.

    (2023) Braun, R., Starkbaum, J. Stakeholders in Research and Innovation: Towards Responsible Governance. In: Blok, V. (eds) Putting Responsible Research and Innovation into Practice. Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy, vol 40. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-14710-4_12

    (2023) Griessler, Erich, Robert Braun, Merve Yorulmaz, Magdalena Wicher. The drama of Responsible Research and Innovation: The ups and downs of a policy concept. In: Blok, V. (eds) Putting Responsible Research and Innovation into Practice. Library of Ethics and Applied Philosophy, vol 40. Springer, Cham.https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-031-14710-4_2

    (2022) Braun, Robert, Loeber, A., Vinther Christensen, M., Cohen, J., Frankus, E., Griessler, E., Hönigmayer, H. and Starkbaum, J. "Social labs as temporary intermediary learning organizations to help implement complex normative policies. The case of Responsible Research and Innovation in European science governance", The Learning Organization, https://doi.org/10.1108/TLO-09-2021-0118

    (2022).Braun, Robert and Randell, Richard. Automobility studies. The Palgrave Encyclopedia of the Possible. https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007/978-3-319-98390-5_11-1

    (2022) Marsalek, I., Bernstein, M., Blok, V., Braun, R., Christensen, MV, Cohen, J., Daimer, S., Nieminen, M., Thapa RK., Hofer, M., Unterfrauner, E., Seebacher, LM. The Social Lab as a method for experimental engagement in participatory research. Journal of Responsible Innovation. https://doi.org/10.1080/23299460.2022.2119003

     (2022) Braun, Robert and Randell, Richard. Towards post-automobility: destituting automobility. Applied Mobilities, pp. 1-17. https://doi.org/10.1080/23800127.2022.2071664

    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. 

    Current project(s):

    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)