Prestigious prize for Lancaster University linguist

A Lancaster University linguistics professor, renowned for the study of spoken and written language in far-right politics, has received a prestigious prize for her lifetime achievements in research and publications.

Emeritus Distinguished Professor Ruth Wodak, a Chair in Discourse Studies in the Department of Linguistics and English Language, was presented with the Bruno Kreisky Prize for her complete body of work.

The Bruno Kreisky Prize has been awarded annually since 1993 by the Karl Renner Institute Vienna.

This prize is awarded in line with the life’s work of former Austrian Chancellor Bruno Kreisky’s political agenda, which stands for freedom, equality, social justice, solidarity, democracy and social cohesion, tolerance and the freedom of art.

Professor Wodak has undertaken ground-breaking work on Austrian and European identity politics, Austrian politics of the past, racism, antisemitism and xenophobia.

Her work has contributed to the linguistic analysis of and a lasting understanding of far-right and right-wing populist discourse and politics.

Professor Wodak is also affiliated to the University of Vienna where she was most recently led a 3-year research project on the ‘Discursive Construction of National Identity – Austria 2015’.

In 2018, she was awarded the Lebenswerk Preis (Prize for Life Achievements) from the Austrian Ministry of Women’s Affairs.

In 2020, she became Honorary Member of the Senate of the University Vienna and was awarded her second honorary doctorate from Warwick University.

Professor Wodak was presented with her prize this week at The Hofburg in Vienna during a large ceremony which was also livestreamed (

Professor Wodak said: “I am very grateful to receive this prize which symbolically recalls the modernization of Austria in the 1970s and the salient principle of ‘Never Again’ after World War II and the Shoah.

“It has currently become even more relevant as the previously ‘unsayable’ has become shamelessly normalized.

“We must remain aware of and contest such discursive shifts which accompany and facilitate undemocratic practices, in Austria, in our neighbouring countries such as Hungary, and beyond.”

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