Dr. Simona Szakács-Behling

Simona Szakács-Behling joined the Institute as a DAAD-Leibniz post-doctoral fellow in September 2014 examining and de-centering dominant depictions of ‘East’ and ‘West’ in Cold War narratives before and after 1989 in Romanian history education.

She studied Communication and Media in Bucharest (BA, National School of Political and Administrative Studies, 2004), Sociology and Social Anthropology in Budapest (MA, Central European University, 2005) and Sociology in the UK (PhD, University of Essex, 2013). Simona’s doctoral thesis was distinguished with the Georg Eckert Award for Excellence in Educational Media Research.

She has been a visiting researcher at the City University of Hong Kong and Maynooth University in Ireland. At the University of Essex she taught the ‘Sociology of New Europe’ and Qualitative methods and she was a researcher in a bi-lateral project on post-war notions of ‘good citizenship’ in curricula and textbooks in Europe and East-Asia. At the University of Göttingen she co-teaches a seminar on “Inter- and Transnationalisation” in qualitative research in classrooms and schools.

Simona's work  focuses on Europeanization, global cultural change, and post-socialist transformations in citizenship education from a transnational comparative perspective. She has more than a decade of experience in sociologically and historically investigating notions of citizenship, nation, and diversity in textbooks, curricula, and educational practices in different European educational systems (England, France, Romania, Germany) and various school forms. Her research in educational media revolves around issues of textual and visual content, everyday use and the micro-dynamics of classroom interaction from an ethno-methodological perspective.

Currently, Simona is a researcher in the Department Media | Transformation (within the key research area Media in Schools) where she coordinates the globalDAS project on global citizenship education practices in German Schools Abroad (Deutsche Auslandsschulen) in various regions around the world and is Principal Investigator in the project Transnational Solidarities focused on schools in Germany promoting a specific European ethos of multilingualism and interculturality.

Her overarching research interest is in transnational dynamics in and of education occasioned by cross-border mobilities of persons, discourses and practices and changing forms of international education across a variety of school types and spatio-temporal contexts.



Articles (peer reviewed)

Book Chapters

  • Keßler, C.I & Szakács-Behling, S. (2020) Researching the Transnational ansTransnationalizing the Research: Towards a Methodological Turn in Education. In Machold, C, A. Messerschmidt & S. Hornberg (Eds.) Jenseits des Nationalen? Erziehungswissenschaftliche Perspektiven (pp. 183-199). Barbara Budrich Verlag.
  • Szakács-Behling, S. (forthcoming 2020) Going transnational in education research: introducing a study of solidarity in schools with a European ethos in Germany. In Heidrich, L., P. Mecheril, Y. Karakaşoğlu, & S. Shure (Eds.) Regimes of Belonging, Schools and Migrations. Teaching in (Trans)National Constellations. Cham: Springer.
  • Szakács-Behling, S., A. Bock, C. I. Keßler, F. Macgilchrist, R. Spielhaus (forthcoming 2020) “Global Citizenship in motion: Comparing Cross-Border Practices in German Schools Abroad” In Klerides E. & S. Carney (Eds.) Identities and education: Comparative perspectives in times of crisis. London: Bloomsbury.
  • Szakács, S. (2018) Transnational Identities and Values in Textbooks and Curricula. In Fuchs, E. and Bock, A. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Textbook Studies (pp. 199-214). New York: Palgrave.
  • Szakács, S. (2016) Europeanization qua Institutionalization of World Culture: Examples from Post-1989 Romanian Education. In C. Rumford and D. Buhari-Gulmez (Eds.), Europe and World Society (pp. 40-53). London and New York: Routledge.
  • Szakács, S. (2016) 1989 as Gateway to the World? The Universalisation of Diversity and the Construction of the ‘New’ Citizen in Romanian Civic Education. In E. Matthes & S. Schütze (Eds.), "1989" und Bildungsmedien / "1989" and Educational Media (pp. 59-71). Bad Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 2016.
  • Soysal, Y., & Szakács, S. (2010) Projections of Diversity in Citizenship Education. In C. Hintermann & C. Johansson (Eds.), Migration and Memory Representations of Migration in Europe since 1960 (pp. 77-91). New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
  • Szakács, S. (2004) Stereotipurile de gen în reclamele tv (Gender Stereotypes in TV advertisements). In S. Chelcea (Ed.), Comunicarea nonverbală în spaţiul public (Non-Verbal communication in the public space) (pp. 129-146). Bucharest: Tritonic Publishing House.

Book Reviews


  • Szakács-Behling, S. (2019) Old Habits Die Hard: Two moves to go ‘beyond-the-national’ in educational research, Research Intelligence (BERA Magazine), Issue 140 “New perspectives on international, intercultural and global education”, ed. by N. Savvides & P. Jain (available here).
  • Soysal, Y.N. & Szakács-Behling, S. [2011](2019), Citizenship. In Oxford Bibliographies Online (obo) (available here)
  • Fuchs, E. & Szakács, S. (2016) Casting a wider net: the case for a comparative framework with a transnational twist, in Reading Primers International (RPI) no 12, SIG of the International Society for Historical and Systematic Research on Textbooks and Educational Media.