• Faculty

  • Virag Molnar

    Associate Professor of Sociology


    Office Location
    D - 6 East 16th Street

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    Virag Molnar


    **On leave Fall 2024-Spring 2025**

    Virág Molnár received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University and is currently Associate Professor of Sociology at the New School for Social Research. Her research explores the intersections of culture, politics, social change and knowledge production with special focus on urban culture and transformations of the built environment. She has written about the relationship between architecture and state formation in socialist and postsocialist Eastern Europe, the post-1989 reconstruction of Berlin, and the new housing landscape of postsocialist cities.

    Her book, Building the State: Architecture, Politics and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe, has been published by Routledge and received the Mary Douglas Prize for the Best Book in the Sociology of Culture from the American Sociological Association in 2014. Her work has also appeared in the American Sociological Review, Annual Review of Sociology, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, and Urban Studies. She has been a visiting fellow at the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies and the Department of Sociology at Harvard University and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, and by a Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship.

    She is currently working on a book, Marketing Radicalism: The Cultural Production of Populism in Contemporary Hungary, as well as projects examining the impact of new communications technologies on the urban public sphere through a comparative study of the street art scene in New York, Berlin and Budapest; and the politics of urban rodent control.

    CV, 2023

    Degrees Held

    PhD 2005, Princeton University

    Recent Publications


    2013 - Building the State: Architecture, Politics and State Formation in Postwar Central Europe. Architext Series. Abingdon, UK and New York: Routledge

    • Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book in the Sociology of Culture, American Sociological Association, 2014 

    Book chapters and peer-reviewed journal articles:

    2023 - “Class Trips beyond Borders: Reimagining the Nation through State-Sponsored Heritage Tourism” Comparative Studies in Society and History, 65 (3): 557-586

    2022 - “The Pandemic Economy of Face Masks: From Critical Shortage to Fashion Accessory and Political Statement” pp. 405-433 in Pandemic Exposures: Economy and Society in the Time of Coronavirus edited by Marion Fourcade and Didier Fassin. Chicago: Hau/University of Chicago

    2021 - “Russia’s Night Wolves, Migrating Memory and Europe’s Eastern FrontierEuropean Journal of Sociology/ Archives Européennes de Sociologie 62(1): 71-103, (with Karolina Koziura and Franziska König Paratore)   

    2021 - “The Toolkit of Nationalist Populism in Contemporary Hungary: Symbols, Objects, and Modalities of Circulation.” East European Politics Society and Culture 35 (4): 948-974

    2018 - “The Business of Urban Coolness: Emerging Markets for Street Art”, Poetics 71: 43-54

    2017 - “Street Art and the Changing Urban Public Sphere” Public Culture 29 (2): 385-414.

    2017 - “The Mythical Power of Everyday Objects: the Material Culture of Radical Nationalism in Postsocialist Hungary” pp.147-170 in National Matters: Materiality, Culture, and Nationalism, edited by Geneviève Zubrzycki Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press

    2016 - "The Power of Things: Material Culture as Political Resource." Qualitative Sociology, 39 (2): 205-210

    2016 - "Civil Society, Radicalism and the Rediscovery of Mythic Nationalism.” Nations and Nationalism, 22 (1): 165-185

    2014 - "Reframing Public Space Through Digital Mobilization: Flash Mobs and Contemporary Urban Youth Culture.” Space and Culture, 17 (1): 43-58

    2012 - “Collective Memory Meets Organizational Identity: Remembering to Forget in a Firm’s Rhetorical History.” Academy of Management Journal 55 (3): 515-540 (with Michel Anteby)

    2010 -  “The Cultural Production of Locality: Reclaiming the ‘European City’ in Post-Wall Berlin.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34 (2): 281-309

    Performances and Appearances

    Recent talks:

    “Budapest, the Populist City: Authoritarian Neoliberalism and Imperial Nostalgia”, Keynote speech at Authoritarian Urbanism: Global Manifestations, Knowledge Exchange, and Contestation conference, Bauhaus University-Weimar, November 9-11, 2023

    “From Home to the Homeland: Heritage Tourism Without Borders.” Department of History and Robert Schuman Center for Advanced Studies, European University Institute, Florence, June 9, 2023

    Research Interests

    Urban sociology, comparative historical sociology, sociology of culture and knowledge, economic sociology, political sociology, Eastern Europe

    Awards And Honors

    Professor of Cultural Sociology, University of Amsterdam, 2021/22

    Institute for Advanced Study, School of Social Science, Princeton 2019

    Berlin Prize/Axel Springer Fellowship, American Academy in Berlin, 2017

    ACLS Fellowship, 2016

    Mary Douglas Prize for Best Book, Sociology of Culture Section, American Sociological Association, 2014

    EURIAS Junior Fellowship to the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Wassenaar, 2012

    Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, 2011

    ASA/NSF Fund for the Advancement of the Discipline Award, "The Great Budapest Rat Massacre: A Case Study in Urban Public Health", 2007 

    Marie Curie Intra-European Fellowship, 2006

    Future Courses

    Ind Senior Project
    LSOC 4990, Fall 2024

    Independent Study
    LSOC 3950, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

    Independent Study
    GSOC 6990, Fall 2024, Spring 2025

    Past Courses

    Fund. of Urban Sociology
    GSOC 6226, Spring 2024

    Ind Senior Project
    LSOC 4990, Fall 2023

    Independent Study
    LSOC 3950, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

    Independent Study
    GSOC 6990, Fall 2023, Spring 2024

    Logic of Inquiry
    GSOC 5069, Fall 2023

    Urban Sociology
    LSOC 2850, Fall 2023

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