Educated in economics, political science and sociology in Hamburg, London and Berlin, Peter Wagner joined ICREA in 2010. Before, he was Research Fellow at the Wissenschaftszentrum Berlin für Sozialforschung (1983-1995), Professor of Sociology at the U of Warwick (1996-2006) and the U of Trento (2006-2010) as well as Professor of Social and Political Theory at the European University Institute in Florence (1999-2006). Furthermore, he was project director at Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg (2018-2020), and held visiting positions at the University of Hamburg (2019-20), Université de Paris 8 (2011); U catholique de Louvain-la-neuve (2009-10); U of Cape Town (2009-10); EHESS, Paris (1998; 2001); U of California at Berkeley (1996; 1997); Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study, Uppsala; Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton (1990-91), among others. He is a member of Academia Europaea and chair of the section "Social change and social thought" there.
Peter Wagner's research is based in comparative historical and political sociology, social and political theory, and sociology of the social sciences. It focuses on the identification and comparative analysis of different forms of social and political modernity and of the historical trajectories and transformations of modern societies. Initially applied to a comparative political sociology of European societies, the research programme has been elaborated further towards a "world-sociology", focusing on Latin American, Southern African and more broadly BRICS societies in terms of global connectedness. In 2022, he also led the research cluster "Modernity in Central Asia" at U ofA Central Asia. Analyzing the persisting tensions between struggles for autonomy and forms of domination, it explores in the light of historical experiences in different world-regions the current possibilities of progress, not least in the face of human action reaching and exceeding planetary boundaries.