release on 21st  August 2018


Debates on the end-of-life controversy have become highly complex in recent decades as they seem to highjack national and cultural traditions. Whereas previous analyses have focused on the ideological grounds of these discussions, this book turns to intimacy of dying and discloses it as the site where policies are formulated, negotiated and implemented. Intimacy comprises the individual emotional experience of the end of life and the way it is acknowledged, or not, by institutions. The process of acknowledging this experience explains that the end-of-life controversy relies upon the conflicting relationship between the individual and institutions, a relationship that seemed to be the unquestionable cornerstone of Western liberal democracies.

The move toward intimacy is both necessary and problematic. Through interviews with mourners, stakeholders and medical professionals, as well as through extensive examination of media debates, policy papers, and speeches in France and Czech Republic, the book describes that Liberal democratic institutions, while trying to accommodate and acknowledge the emotional experience with the end of life, ultimately fail and enter a dynamic of deadlock. The book describes this deadlock as the “politics of intimacy,” showing that political institutions deploy power through the collective acknowledgement of individual emotional experience but also fail to maintain this recognition because of this very same experience.




Understanding emotions in post-factual politics

Edward Elgar 2018

“Post-Truth” was declared the word of the year in 2016. What followed was a vivid defence of truth by scientists, journalists, and politicians. It seems we are on our way to abandoning the notion of truth as we know it if we consider the populist uprising turning Western liberal democracies upside down and the critique of academic knowledge during the Brexit debate and from the Trump administration. Scientists should raise their voices against the trend, and civil society should fight post-factualism.

Yet, exactly what should be said and done? Along examples of performance of scientific truth in public discourse, this book argues that we lost the battle for truth a while ago. It examines truth as ‘sound knowledge’ – which once was seen as the cornerstone of modern government – through the lenses of emotions. Emotions enter evidence-making, they evaluate the range of actors and make them entitled to pronounce public concerns, and as such have to be recognized as integral parts of knowledge-making with an impact on policy processes.

Nov 2018 c 176 pp Hardback 978 1 78811 481 3 c £65.00 (UK/RoW)  |

Searching for Truth in Post-Factual Times.


Please join us in The Policy Lab on Monday, April 24th at 12 for an event with scholar and political commentator Anna Durnová as she discusses insights from her time as a political commentator during the 2016 Austrian Presidential election.
Event time:
Monday, April 24, 2017 – 12:00pm to 1:15pm
The Policy Lab, ISPS See map

77 Prospect Street

New Haven, CT 06511

Event description:

Politicizing the scientific self through media interventions

The digital knowledge-era has reached a situation, where the public is overwhelmed with information, neither distinguishing between serious news and fake news nor seeing knowledge as a value for itself. Some speak in this context of “digital Darwinism” reflecting the interaction pattern that the loudest and the most radical dominate the discussion space and, to certain extent, the public discourse. That actual science must counterattack this trend but struggles how to do so, has been a key comment on recent political developments: we seem to have landed in post-factual times and science should take the facts back on board.

The paper applies an auto-ethnographic approach to analyze the author’s one year experience in her function as a commentator of the Austrian presidential election for Czech Television and Broadcast. The 2016 Austrian Presidential Election has been the only presidential election that had to be repeated which made political scientists puzzled about their prognoses. It was the longest campaign in the Austrian political history that began in February 2016 to end only in December the same year. These circumstances made it a crucial European political event reaching beyond national politics.

The paper examines how emotions enter fact-making and how this has impact on our means of analysis and public performance of such analysis. The paper concludes by suggesting that emotions are not erosion of facts but its cornerstone.

Take part in my survey!

I am currently investigating the March for Science, including its preparation and performance in the media.  As part of my analysis, I am analyzing the personal experiences of scientists who attended the March.

I am collecting diary-like descriptions of “the day I marched”: your personal view, which could consist of just your description of the day as you experienced it, but could also include the reasons why you took the streets.
In particular, I am interested in your own positions and feelings: Were you happy? Why? Were you disappointed? Why?

Your response might be short or long. The length is not important, so long as it reflects your personal view.

I am collecting these experiences on a Qualtrics survey page dedicated to this cause:

Your response will be used as part of an interpretive analysis of the March for Science, published in form of a research paper in the course of 2017.

Responses will be anonymized and stripped of any identifying information.
All responses will be stored securely on a password-encrypted device.
If at any point you should want to withdraw your response, you are welcomed to do so: please notify me at

I thank you very much for your generous donation of time. If possible, please also pass my request on to your colleagues who attended the March for Science.

If you have any questions or concerns about this project, please email me.

Thank you, and best wishes





Anna Durnová  In den Händen der Ärzte: Ignaz Semmelweis – Pionier der Hygiene

Medizinische Innovation wird stets von Widerständen begleitet – kein Leben zeigt dies besser als jenes von Ignaz Semmelweis. Eine Reise durch das Leben des großen Kämpfers für die Gesundheit der Mütter und für den medizinischen Fortschritt. „Hände waschen!“, diese Hygieneregel ist heute selbstverständlich. Dass das nicht immer so war, zeigt die Geschichte des 1818 geborenen Semmelweis, der als Gynäkologe in Wien wirkte. Für die Anerkennung der Wahrheit, dass die schmutzigen Hände der Ärzte gebärende Frauen infizierten, musste er hart kämpfen. Seine Lebensgeschichte, die bis heute immense Bedeutung hat, lässt tief in die faszinierende Welt der wissenschaftlichen Entdeckungen und Intrigen blicken.


First handbook on Critical Policy Studies research program that I also co-edit was  published at Edward Elgar 2015

Accessible to scholars, practitioners and students alike, the book offers a compilation of new critical work that both assesses past developments and appraises emerging issues. The contributions highlight the responsibility of inquirers to take account of social and political context – including present conditions, past trends and prevailing power relationships – to advance inquiry that relies not only on experts but also on citizens in a manner supporting and encouraging democracy. Not only does this call for a reconsideration of the interplay of qualitative and quantitative methods but also for robust attention to the role of values.


Politics of Intimacy – Seminar at IIR PragueThe seminar by  took place at the Institute of International Relations in cooperation with the journal New Perspectives on Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The lecture, named The Politics of Intimacy: Exploring the Intersections of Policies and Emotions, was based on Dr. Durnová’s research and her forthcoming book The Politics of Intimacy: Rethinking the End-of-Life Controversy, where she explores the encounters between emotions and formation of particular policies. The discussion afterwards was co-managed by Jakub Eberle and Dr. Benjamin Tallis, both of the Institute of International Relations.

See the summary here