Alumni Fellow

Dr Wanda Vrasti

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 29861-139
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: vrasti@spam


Dr Wanda Vrasti joined the Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 1 'The (Im)Possibility of Cooperation' from August to October 2016.

Research Project at the Centre

Surplus Europe: Producing and Governing Relative Surplus Labor in Austerity Germany and Romania

A substantial transformation has taken place in the labor market policies of the past 20 years. The driving force of post-fordist labor market regulation is no longer the reduction of unemployment but the increase of the labor market participation rate through flexible regulation, activation techniques and extensive training opportunities. The new activation regime does not create new jobs, only new employment relations (minijobs, self-employment, temp agencies, etc.) as well as the new subjects expected to occupy these. This paradigm shift, which has been singled out as the secret of the German economic miracle, is - a decade later - ready to extend across all of Europe as part of the Agenda 2020. Why this is the case and what consequences follow from this is the focus of this study, which looks specifically at labor market reforms in Germany and Romania to offer a perspective from both center and periphery. Questions to be investigated include:

  • What are the politico-economic and macro-social consequences of activating labor market regimes?
  • To what extent do labor market flexibilization reforms contribute to the production of a low-income sector independent from the effects of globalization (outsourcing, privatisation) and automation?
  • How can we describe the low-income sector? Can we speak of a "permanent reserve army"? What effects does the low-income sector have on the economy as a whole? What is its relation to unionization?
  • In the case of Romania: What is the relation between the low-income sector and informal and subsistence work?
  • On an institutional level: What do activating labor regimes consist of and what function do they fulfill in post-fordist regulatory regimes?
  • On a european front: How does the norm diffusion of pan-European regulation forms, like the Agenda 2020, take place? Which actors, class interests and norm assemblages are active within it? What power relations connect the European center and periphery?

Research Interests

  • Critical Political Economy
  • Labor Market Reform
  • Ontology of Work
  • Social and Political Thought
  • Qualitative Methods


Since 11/2016 CIEE Berlin, Germany
10/2010-07/2015 Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
Institute for Social Sciences
01/2014-12/2014 BOB Transfer GmbH, Berlin, Germany
Employment Consultant
10/2012-02/2013 Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
John F. Kennedy Insitute
09/2006-07/2010 McMaster University, Canada
Department of Political Science
PhD Candidate

Selected Publications

Vrasti, Wanda and Dayal, Smaran (2016, forthcoming): Citizenship: Rightful Presence and the Urban Commons, in: Citizenship Studies (special issue on 'Affective Citizenship').

Vrasti, Wanda and Michelsen, Nicholas (2016, forthcoming): Forum Introduction: On Resilience, Political Action and Solidarity, in: Resilience: International Politics, Practices and Discourses.

Vrasti, Wanda and Kiersey, Nicholas (2016): A Convergent Genealogy? Space, Time and the Promise of Horizontal Politics, in: Capital & Class 40 (1): 75–94.

Vrasti, Wanda (2016): Self-Reproducing Movements and the Enduring Importance of Materialist Feminism, in: Hozic, Aida and True, Jacqui (eds.): Scandalous Economics: Gender and the Politics of Financial Crisis, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Vrasti, Wanda and Montsion, Jean-Michel (2014): No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded: The Values/Virtues of Transnational Volunteerism in Neoliberal Capital, in: Global Society 28 (3): 336–55.

Vrasti, Wanda (2013): Universal but Not Truly ‘Global’: Governmentality, Economic Liberalism, and the International, in: Review of International Studies 39 (1): 49–69.

Vrasti, Wanda (2012): Volunteer Tourism in the Global South: Giving Back in Neoliberal Times. London: Routledge.

Vrasti, Wanda (2012): Traveling with Ethnography, in: Salter, Mark and Mutlu, Can (eds.): Research Methods in Critical Security Studies: An Introduction, London: Routledge.

Vrasti, Wanda (2011): Mic Check/Reality Check, in: Critical Journal of Globalization Studies 5 (special issue on 'Occupy IR Theory and IPE').

Vrasti, Wanda (2011): Caring Capitalism and the Duplicity of Critique, in: Theory & Event 14 (4).

Vrasti, Wanda (2010): Dr. Strangelove or How I Stopped Worrying about Methodology and Love Writing, in: Millennium: Journal of International Studies 39 (1): 79–88.

Vrasti, Wanda (2008): The Strange Case of Ethnography and International Relations, in: Millennium: Journal of International Studies 37 (2): 279–301.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • since 2016: Lecturer - CIEE Global Institute, Berlin, Germany
  • 2010-2015: Lecturer - Institute for Social Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany
  • 2012-2013: Lecturer - John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin, Germany
  • 2005-2008: Teaching Assistant - Department of Political Science, McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • BOB Transfer GmbH, Essen (Employment Consultant)

Seminars and Conferences

  • “Volunteer Tourism in the Global South”, 4th ESRC Research Seminar Series on Reconceptualizing International Volunteering, Glasgow, 20 April 2016
  • “The Place of Anti-capitalist Critique in IR”, 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Giardini Naxos, Sicily, 23-26 September 2015
  • “To Have and to Need: Reflections on the Category of Surplus Population in Austerity Germany”, 9th Pan-European Conference on International Relations, Giardini Naxos, Sicily, 23-26 September 2015
  • “Resilience and Solidarity: Common Ground in the Age of Individualism”, Solidarity and Resilience Workshop, War Studies Department, King’s College London, 19-21 September 2014
  • “Struggling with Precarity: From More and Better Jobs to Less and Lesser Work”, 8th European Conference on International Relations, Warsaw, 18-21 September 2013
  • “This Courage Called Utopia”, Conference of the Millennium Journal for International Studies, London, 20-22 October 2012
  • “The Two Faces of Precarity”, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), San Diego, 1-4 April 2012
  • “The Horizontal Left and Its Ontological Challenge” (with Nicholas Kiersey), Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), San Diego, 1-4 April 2012
  • “Precarity and Pleasure: Some Reflections on Digital Bohemia in Berlin”, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), Montreal, 16-20 March 2011
  • “No Good Deed Goes Unrewarded: The Values and Virtues of Transnational Volunteerism” (with Jean-Michel Montsion), Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), Montreal, 16-20 March 2011
  • “Universal but Not Truly ‘Global’: An Intervention in the Global Governmentality Debate”, European Consortium for Political Research, Standing Group on International Relations (ECPR-IR), Stockholm, 9-11 September 2010
  • “Belated Global Imaginaries: The Ironies of Becoming White in Post-communist/-colonial Romania”, Annual Convention of the International Studies Association (ISA), New Orleans, 17-20 February 2010


  • European International Studies Association
  • Modern Languages Association


  • 2015 - Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin teaching prize nomination
  • 2010–2012 - Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (€54,000)
  • 2010 - Postdoctoral Fellowship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) (Declined)
  • 2010 - Post-doctoral Fellowship, Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD) (Declined)
  • 2008 - Graduate Research Scholarship, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University
  • 2006–2009 McMaster University Graduate Scholarship. Canada Graduate Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • 2006–2009 Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS) (Declined)
  • 2005–2006 Master’s Scholarship, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC)
  • 2005–06 Ontario Graduate Scholarship Program (OGS) (Declined)       
  • 2003 - Elizabeth J. Tupling Award, Department of Political Science, WLU 

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