Ilona Grabmaier, M.A.

Office: RECET, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 1.1 



Research interests: Ilona Grabmaier is a social anthropologist and her research interests include questions concerning social (in)equality and security at the intersection of politics, gender relations, care practices, morality and post-socialist transformation. Before joining the doctoral programme ‘Austrian Galicia and its Multicultural Heritage’ as a project fellow in March 2016, she worked as a lecturer and research assistant at the Institute for Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Vienna.

Current research project: “Stayed at home. Reconfiguring care of/for men, children and senior citizens in rural Ukraine.

Since the early 2000s, many villages in Ukraine experience increased outmigration, especially of women. Both the conditions of female labour migrants in receiving countries and their efforts to maintain transnational care relations with relatives are relatively well studied ethnographically, but we still know very little about how the absence of women affects the social, economic and political circumstances for those who stay at home. In her research, Ilona is thus particularly interested in the situation of men, children and senior citizens and their integration into various networks of mutual support. Previous research on the effects of female labour migration has primarily focused on the central role attributed to women as wives, daughters and mothers in providing emotional and material care to their children, husbands and parents. Analytically, this focus on the perspectives of women is considered as problematic, since the naturalisation of motherhood and related care expectations and responsibilities overshadows other actors who might be equally important in the provision of care. Thus, based on current anthropological approaches at the intersection of care, kinship, gender and the state, this research project emphasizes reconfigurations of care practices, which are taken as a starting point for the production, maintenance or dissolution of different forms of relatedness. An in-depth analysis of the negotiation of care responsibilities between family members and state institutions offers privileged insights into emerging local, national and global inequalities as well as into inclusions in and exclusions from families, local communities and the state.


“Negotiating the limits of care: gendered constructions of un/deservingness in rural Ukraine”, in: Vienna Working Papers in Ethnography, 2020 (forthcoming)

„Living alone in old age: challenges posed by Covid-19 in rural Ukraine“, ZOiS Spotlight 24/2020

„Die Grenzen gegenseitiger Unterstützung: Il/legitime Bedürftigkeit und die prozessuale Herstellung von un/deservingness.“ In: Patlatyuk, B., Remestwenski, Y., Rozmus, J. (Hg.): Sammelband zur Konferenz „What remains of Galicia? –Continuities, ruptures, perspectives“, Wien: Wiener Galizien Studien (Vienna University Press), 2020 (forthcoming)