Dr. Simona Szakács

Simona Szakács (Behling) joined the Institute as a DAAD-Leibniz post-doctoral fellow in September 2014 examining depictions of ‘East’ and ‘West’ structured by discourses of the Cold War before and after 1989 in Romanian history education. Currently, Simona is a Research Fellow in the Department Textbooks as media.

She studied Communication, Media, Sociology and Social Anthropology. She is an alumna of Central European University (Budapest) and of the University of Essex (UK) where in 2013 she gained her PhD in Sociology. She has been a visiting researcher at the City University of Hong Kong and Maynooth University in Ireland, a lecturer on the ‘Sociology of New Europe’ at the University of Essex, and a research assistant in an ESRC-funded Europe-Asia comparative project on changing notions of ‘good citizenship’ in curricula and textbooks.

Her research is focused on the interplay between Europeanization, global cultural change, and post-socialist transformation from a transnational, wider-world perspective. For more than 10 years she has been investigating changing notions of ‘nation’, ‘identity’, and ‘citizenship’ in post-1989 Romanian schooling alongside structural and organizational developments in the Romanian education system from the 19th century to the present day. Her interest in school textbooks revolves around issues of content as much as of their everyday use and the micro-dynamics of classroom interaction.

Since April 2017 Simona is working with colleagues on the globalDAS project on German Schools Abroad (Deutsche Auslandsschulen) to better understand the transnational dynamics of policy and practice underlying international education.



  • Szakács, S. (2018). Europe in the Classroom: World Culture and Nation-Building in the post-1989 Romanian School. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan.

Articles (peer reviewed)

  • Szakács, S. (2015) Europeanization qua Institutionalization of World Culture: The Case of Post-1989 Romanian Education. Journal of Contemporary European Studies, 23(2): 208-221.
  • Szakács, S. (2014) Changing Patterns of Nation-Building: Educational Reform Narratives in Post-Socialist Romania. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 14(1): 119-145.
  • Szakács, Simona. (2013) Converging with World Trends: The Emergence of the Cosmopolitan Citizen in Post-Socialist Romanian Citizenship Education. Journal of Social Science Education, 12 (4): 6–22.
  • Szakács, S. (2011) Old Wine Into New Bottles? Europeanization and Diversity in Multi-Ethnic Romanian Schools. Multicultural Education Review, 3(1), 101-131.
  • Soysal, Y. N., & Szakács, S. (2010) Reconceptualizing the Republic: Diversity and Education in France, 1945–2008. Journal of Interdisciplinary History, XLI(1), 97-115.
  • Szakács, S. (2010) The Making of the “Soft Villain” in a Time Magazine Headline. Romanian Journal of Communication and Public Relations, 12:3(20), 47-59.
  • Szakács, S. (2007) Now and Then: National Identity Construction in Romanian History. A Comparative Study of Communist and Post-Communist School Textbooks. Internationale Schulbuchforschung (International Textbook Research), 29(1), 23-47.
  • Ivan, L., & Szakács, S. (2002) Romaniansʼ social representations of NATO and EU. Romanian Journal of Sociology, 13(1-2), 80-103.

Book Chapters

  • Szakács, S. (Accepted/In press). Transnational Identities and Values in Textbooks and Curricula. In Fuchs, E. and Bock, A. (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Textbook Studies. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan
  • 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, S. (2018) Book review of Onoriu Colacel's "Postcolonial readings of Romanian identity narratives". National Identities. DOI: 10.1080/14608944.2017.1422649
  • Szakács, S. (2010) Book review of William Outhwaiteʼs "European Society". European Societies, 12(4), 597-598.
  • Szakács, S. (2009) Book review of Werner Schiffauer et al. (eds.) "Civil enculturation: Nation-state, school and ethnic difference in the Netherlands, Britain, Germany and France". Sociologie Românească (Romanian Sociology), 1, 152-155.