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Professor Ruth Wodak


Ruth Wodak

County South



Tel: +44 1524 592437

Research overview

Ruth's research interests focus on (Critical) Discourse Studies, specifically on the Discourse-Historical Approach (while emphasising aspects of the integration of text and context); (national/transnational/European) identity politics; (national/European) politics of the past (specifically related to World War II and the Holocaust); racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia; and the complex dimensions of right-wing populism and exclusionary rhetoric. In investigating these topics, she analyzes a range of written, verbal and visual genres in systematic detail. Recent book pulications are The Politics of Fear: What Right-wing Populist Discourses Mean. Sage 2015 (https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-politics-of-fear/book237802) and Methods of CDS (eds Ruth Wodak & Michael Meyer). Sage 2015 (3rd edition) (https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/methods-of-critical-discourse-studies/book242185)


Ruth is Emeritus Distinguished Professor at Lancaster University. She is also affiliated to the University of Vienna where she is currently PI of a 3-year research project on the "Discursive Construction of National Identity - Austria 2015" (see https://medienportal.univie.ac.at/en/uniview/forschung/detailansicht/artikel/wie-oesterreicherinnen-gemacht-werden/; http://pf.fwf.ac.at/de/wissenschaft-konkret/project-finder/33284). She is also continuing to supervise 1 PhD student at Lancaster University, and one PhD student at University Vienna.

 2017 she held the Willi Brandt Chair (Visiting Professorship) at Malmö University, Sweden (


In the fall 2018, she will be a visiting fellow at the Institut für die Wissenschaft des Menschen (IWM) (http://www.iwm.at/) in Vienna where she will be working primarily on the second revised edition of her monograph The Politics of Fear (Sage).


Current Research

Ruth's main research agenda focus the development of theoretical approaches in discourse studies (combining ethnography, argumentation theory, rhetoric, and text linguistics); organizational communication; identity politics and politics of the past; language and/in politics; racism, prejudice and discrimination. Combining several fields in discourse studies, she continues to develop the Discourse-Historical Approach in CDS, an interdisciplinary, problem-oriented approach which analyses the changes of discursive practices over time and in various genres.

Her monograph entitled The Politics of Fear - What Right-Wing Populist Discourses Mean (Sage, 2015)  (https://uk.sagepub.com/en-gb/eur/the-politics-of-fear/book237802) was translated in to the German (Politik mit der Angst. Zur Wirkung rechtspopulistischer Diskurse, Konturen Verlag 2016) and was awarded the Austrian Scientific Book Prize for the Social Sciences and Humanities in February 2017. The book is currently being translated in to the Russian. In it, she focusses on the discourse, rhetoric, performance and argumentation of populist right-wing politicians across Europe (compared with the “tea-party/ies” movement in the US) on the front- and backstage. Specifically, she elaborates on the (inter)dependencies between politics and the media in several case studies. The recontextualisation and glocalisation of images and posters across several European right-wing political parties also form a relevant focus of this book. Click here for an interview with Ruth about the rise of right-wing populist politics in Europe. The Handbook of Language and Politics (with Bernhardt Forchtner, Routledge) , was in January 2018. A new. third revised edition of Methods of Critical Discourse  Studies (with Michael Meyer, Sage) was published 2015. 

Moreover, Ruth's research projects, apart from the study on national identity politics mentioned above, include a study on Language change in Austrian German (from 1970 - 2010), while exploring several genres in various social fields (with Markus Rheindorf, Vienna). Moreover, Ruth participates in an interdisciplinary team of historians/journalists, psychiatrists and linguists which is investigating the discursive and psychological dynamics of a unique network consisting of children of Holocaust survivors and resistance fighters in Vienna (Kinderjause - Zur Geschichte einer marginalisierten Gruppe; 'Childrens' party - the history of a marginalised peer group) (http://www.univie.ac.at/kijauprojekt/). The results have been published in a book, authored by Ernst Berger and Ruth Wodak, with Springer (Berlin): Kinder der RückkehrGeschichten einer marginaliserten Jugend.

In 2012, Ruth edited Critical Discourse Analysis (Sage), four comprehensive volumes (readers) on CDA, and Advances in Critical Discourse Studies (with John Richardson, Michal Krzyzanowski, and David Machin; Routledge). In 2013, she co-edited two volumes about right-wing populist discourse, Analysing European Fascism: Fascism in Text and Talk (co-edited with John Richardson; Routledge), and Rightwing Populism across Europe: Discourse and Politics (co-edited with Majid KhosraviNik and Brigitte Mral; Bloomsbury). Three articles related to the latter volume were also published on Opendemocracy. Ruth’s other more recent monograph The discourse of politics in action: politics as usual, was published in June 2011 in paperback (second revised edition, with Palgrave). The co-edited book Migration, Identity and Belonging (with Gerard Delanty and Paul Jones) was also published as paperback in March 2011 (Liverpool University Press). In 2010, Ruth edited a new comprehensive Handbook of Sociolinguistics (with Paul Kerswill and Barbara Johnstone, Sage) which was published as paperback 2013.

Current Teaching

Ruth is currently supervising 2 PhD students in the areas of Identity Politics, Comics and Discrimination, and Media Studies. While in Lancaster, she has supervised 22 PhD students to completion (since 2004).

As she is retired now, she is not accepting any new PhD students.

Additional Information

In the past, Ruth was involved with several funded large research projects. Between 2005 and 2007, she was part of the project about Asylum seekers and refugees in the UK press, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Between 2006 and 2011, she was head of the Lancaster team of DYLAN: Language Dynamics and Management of Diversity, an interdisciplinary project, part of the EU 6th Framework. Between 2004 and 2007, she worked on the EMEDIATE project, part of the EU 5th Framework. Previously, she was head of the Discourse, Politics, Identity Research Centre, funded by the Austrian Academy of Sciences as part of the Wittgenstein Award, where she coordinated projects about Austrian and European identities, racism and discrimination, and historical memory.

During her career, Ruth has received numerous awards and honours. In 2013, she became a member of the British Academy of Social Sciences. In September 2013, she was also honoured by an invitation to speak at the Brucknerfest, an international music festival held in Linz, Austria, dedicated to music and artists persecuted by the Nazis (see speech in German). On December 19, 2011, Ruth was awarded the Grand Decoration of Honour in Silver for Services to the Republic of Austria (Großes Silbernes Ehrenzeichen für Verdienste um die Republik Österreich). On February 6, 2010, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by Örebro University (Sweden). In September 2010, Ruth became member of the Academia Europaea. In October 2006, she was awarded the Woman's Prize of the City of Vienna and in 1996 the Wittgenstein Award for elite researchers which made six years of continuous interdisciplinary team research possible.

Ruth has held visiting professorships in Uppsala, Stanford University, University of Minnesota, and Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. In the spring 2004, she had a Leverhulme Visiting Professorship at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. 2007, she was awarded the Kerstin Hesselgren Chair of the Swedish Parliament and stayed at University of Örebro, Sweden, from March to June 2008. In 2012 and 2015, she spent 10 days at the University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, as an “Academic Icon”. In 2012, she was also invited as Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada.

From April to June 2016, Ruth spent three moths at the European University, Florence (EUI) as Distinguished Schuman-Fellow, and continued her research on identity politics and migration. 2017, she was awared the Willi Brandt Chair at Malmö University, Sweden, for the year 2017. 

For more details, see Ruth Wodak’s CV: Curriculum Vitae | Extended Curriculum Vitae

New books and special issues of journals published

Please see under publications on this website

External Roles


Ruth is member of the editorial board of a range of linguistic journals, co-editor of the journals Discourse and Society (with Teun van Dijk [executive editor], Teresa Carbo. and Mick Billig), Critical Discourse Studies (with John Richardson and Phil Graham) and Journal of Language and Politics (with Michal Krzyzanowski and David Machin). 

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