As a masters student in Budapest and London, I was mostly interested in the interplay between the technical and the political. More specifically, I was curious to find out how the so-called information revolution was interlinked with the velvet revolution, that is, the democratisation of Central and Eastern Europe. Based on my research for my masters theses, I wrote a couple of papers about the political uses of old and new communication technologies, such as photocopy machines and mobile phones, in Hungary.
As a PhD student in Lancaster, I became interested in how different techno-political arrangements related to each other in a democratic setting. Instead of focusing on particular technologies and the roles they played in particular modes of doing politics, I wanted to find out how different modes of doing politics were being held together. Inspired by science and technology studies in general, and laboratory studies in particular, I decided to look at the Hungarian Parliament as an abstract institution and an actual place in the centre of Hungary, at the intersection of various political imaginaries. I'm currently in the process of turning my thesis into a book.
While working on my PhD, I managed to formulate some answers, only to find even more interesting (and difficult) questions to explore. As a postdoc researcher in Frankfurt, I'm trying to address three of these questions through a series of empirical research projects.
The first research project, which I'm conducting in collaboration with Sebastian Abrahamsson, focuses on a hunger strike that took place in Brussels in 2012 and involved 23 illegal immigrants, mostly from North Africa and the Middle East. The main question is how political agency was assumed through bodies that had made themselves (politically) stronger by becoming (physically) weaker. The second research project is concerned with drug use as a social problem, and asks what it means to do politics by making things il/legal. Most of the fieldwork takes place in Lisbon, where harm reduction programmes serve as a reference point for social workers and policy-makers acrtoss the globe. The third case looks at indigenous politics in a small island called Milingimbi, in the Northern Territory in Australia. Together with Michaela Spencer I'm looking at the ways in which cosmological differences can be made present in the quasi-market of worldviews.
Obviously, these three cases are very different, but in a way they all indicate moments when a parliamentary logic of democratic politics reaches its limits. The effects of these moments are difficult to grasp, but if taken seriously, they might open up the possibility of doing politics differently within a liberal democratic setting.