Peter Wagner

Universitat de Barcelona (UB)

Social & Behavioural Sciences

Educated in economics, political science and sociology in Hamburg, London and Berlin, Peter Wagner has been academically active in various European countries, including Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Norway, as well as in the USA and South Africa, before coming to Barcelona. He was Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung, Professor of Sociology at the U of Warwick and the U of Trento as well as Professor of Social and Political Theory at the European University Institute in Florence. Furthermore, he held visiting positions at Université de Paris 8 (2011); U catholique de Louvain-la-neuve (2009-10); U of Cape Town (2009-10); U of Bergen (2001); Ecole des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris (1998; 2001); U of California at Berkeley (1996; 1997); Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1990-91); Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris (1994), among others.

Research interests

Located in the areas of comparative historical and political sociology, social and political theory, and the sociology of the social sciences, Peter Wagner’s research is focused on the identification and comparative analysis of different forms of social and political modernity and of the historical trajectories of modern societies. Initially, he applied it in a comparative political sociology of European national societies. Subsequently, he analyzed the process of European integration by reviewing both the institutional transformations of European societies over the past two centuries and the transformations in the self-understanding of Europe. “Modernity” then does not appear as a single and unique model of social organization, but rather emerges as variable interpretations of basic human problématiques in the light of specific historical experiences. Currently, a key task of social analysis is the comparative analysis of plural forms of modernity in their global context.

Selected publications

Peter Wagner 2016, ‘Sauver le progrès’, La découverte, Paris.

– Casassas D & Wagner P (eds) 2016, ‘Modernity and capitalism’, European Journal of Social Theory, London.

Wagner P 2016, ‘Modernity, capitalism, crisis: towards understanding the new great transformation’, The Global Policy Journal.

Wagner P 2016, ‘Outline of a world-sociology’, Social Imaginaries, vol. 2, no. 2.

– Rosich G & Wagner P (eds) 2016, The trouble with democracy: political modernity in the 21st century, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP.

Wagner P 2016, ‘Democracy and capitalism in Brazil, South Africa and Europe’, in Rosich G & Wagner P (eds), The trouble with democracy: political modernity in the 21st century, Edinburgh: Edinburgh UP.

– Dlamini J, Mota A & Wagner P (eds) 2016, ‘Trajectories of modernity: towards a new historical-comparative sociology’, special issue of Social Imaginaries, vol. 2, no. 2.

Wagner P 2016, ‘Crisis y modernidad’ in Tejerina B & Gatti G, ed., ‘Pensar la agencia en la crisis’, Madrid: CIS.

Selected research activities

Research in 2016 was marked by concluding activities for the ERC-funded project “Trajectories of modernity” (TRAMOD, 2010-2015) and the beginning of the project “The debt: historicizing Europe’s relations to the ‘South’”, funded by the consortium Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA, 2016-2019) and pursued in co-operation with the Institute for Social Research, Frankfurt; the University of Helsinki; and the University of Eastern Piedmont. In parallel, exploratory work was done for extending the historical-comparative perspective, elaborated in earlier work, into a comprehensive “world-sociology”. Furthermore, Peter Wagner participated in the International Panel on Social Progress, which aims to publish its final report in 2017, and was appointed editor-in-chief (together with David Jaclin, University of Ottawa) of the journal Social Science Information/Information sur les sciences sociales, published by the Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris.