Universität Wien FIND
Warning! The directory is not yet complete and will be amended until the beginning of the term.

233041 SE STS, borders and mobility (2021S)

5.00 ECTS (2.00 SWS), SPL 23 - Soziologie
Continuous assessment of course work


Note: The time of your registration within the registration period has no effect on the allocation of places (no first come, first served).


max. 25 participants
Language: English


Classes (iCal) - next class is marked with N

Wednesday 10.03. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital (Kickoff Class)
Wednesday 17.03. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 24.03. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 14.04. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 21.04. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 28.04. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 05.05. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 12.05. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 19.05. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 26.05. 09:15 - 11:15 Digital
Wednesday 02.06. 09:15 - 10:15 Digital


Aims, contents and method of the course

This course introduces its participants to the study of borders and mobility by drawing on the repertoire of Science and Technology Studies (STS). It explores three questions: 1. What are the challenges and contributions of STS to the study of mobility and migration management infrastructures? 2. How do migration management infrastructures and policies shape everyday life? 3. How do different actors (civil servants, people on the move, state representatives, civil society, activists, and so on) experience, translate and/or challenge the sociotechnical aspects of border regimes. After reframing borders and mobility as relational arrangements, we examine how certain aspects of control, surveillance and state projects are also the outcome of border(ing) regimes and migration control procedures. A section of the course explores how people on the move use digital technologies and other mundane material arrangements to challenge containment posed by migration management infrastructures. The course also gives students the tools to critically analyse the role of expertise in migration management, and the possibility for STS scholars to explore new forms of understanding the materiality of mobility and resistance.

Students will build personal reflections analysing timely case studies. They will also work in groups to develop a mini-research project from a pool of options about migration management, borders, state policies or experiences of social movements.

Assessment and permitted materials

To pass the seminar, students are expected to complete the following tasks:

- Active participation in seminars and group work. Students should be prepared to present and discuss
key points from the obligatory readings. Thereby, two students will present the obligatory readings at the beginning of each session.

- Develop, as part of a group (of 3 students), a research mini-proposal choosing a theme from a pool of options offered by the lecturer. Drawing on the materials of the seminars, every group must develop a concise, clear and feasible research mini-proposal specifying the research questions, theoretical framework, methods, ethical considerations, potential participants and potential sources of information. This research mini-proposal must be presented in the last session (see dates in session information). A 3700-4000 words summary of the proposal must be submitted via Moodle by May 26, 2021.

- Submit a 3200-3500-word individual assignment which must contain two parts:
Part I: (1600-1800 words) a personal reflection using the contents of the course narrating any personal or well-known (from a friend or relative) experience of migration and/or border control. The questions guiding this first part are: How does an STS understanding of borders and mobility change/enrich/affect/reduce this experience? What aspects become more/less explicit?
Part II: (1600-1700 words) Choosing a case study of the pool list provided by the lecturer and conduct a well-informed analysis of it condensing at least two of the sessions of the seminar.
The use and relevance of references and in both parts of the assignment is a crucial aspect of its assessment. The submission date of this assignment via Moodle is June 1, 2021.

Minimum requirements and assessment criteria

The grading scheme is based on a total of 100 points. These points will be awarded in relation to students’ performance in meeting the course learning aims in the different obligatory tasks.
The maximum number of points to be acquired for each task is:

Active seminar participation: 20 points, assessed individually,
feedback by lecturer;
Mini-research proposal: 30 points, assessed as group work,
feedback by lecturer and classmates;
Reflection and case analysis: 50 points, assessed individually,
feedback on request;

Minimum requirements
A minimum of 50 points is necessary to successfully complete the course. Failure to meet the attendance regulations, to deliver course assignments on time or to adhere to standards of academic work may result in a deduction of points.

100-87 points Excellent (1)
86-75 points Good (2)
74-63 points Satisfactory (3)
62-50 points Sufficient (4)
49-0 points Unsatisfactory (5) (fail)

Presence and participation are compulsory. Absences of four hours at maximum are tolerated, provided that the lecturer is informed about the absence. Absences of up to eight hours in total may be compensated by either a deduction of grading points or/and extra work agreed with the lecturer. Whether compensation is possible is decided by the lecturer.
Absences of more than eight hours in total cannot be compensated. In this case, or if the lecturer does not allow a student to compensate absences of more than four hours, the course cannot be completed and is graded as a ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfil the attendance requirements on the student’s side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.

Important Grading Information

If not explicitly noted otherwise, all requirements mentioned in the grading scheme and the attendance regulations must be met. If a required task is not fulfilled, e.g. a required assignment is not handed in or if the student does not meet the attendance requirements, this will be considered as a discontinuation of the course. In that case, the course will be graded as ‘fail’ (5), unless there is a major and unpredictable reason for not being able to fulfill the task on the student's side (e.g. a longer illness). In such a case, the student may be de-registered from the course without grading. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate this in a timely manner, and to provide relevant evidence to their claims if necessary. Whether this exception applies is decided by the lecturer.
If any requirement of the course has been fulfilled by fraudulent means, be it for example by cheating at an exam, plagiarizing parts of a written assignment or by faking signatures on an attendance sheet, the student's participation in the course will be discontinued, the entire course will be graded as ‘not assessed’ and will be entered into the electronic exam record as ‘fraudulently obtained’. Self-plagiarism, particularly re-using own work handed in for other courses, will be treated likewise.

Examination topics

Reading list

Association in the course directory

Last modified: Fr 12.03.2021 11:49