Julia Szalai has been engaged in studying intersectionalities of class, race/ethnicity, and gender in multiethnic societies across Europe with a closer focus on poverty and social exclusion in the post-socialist societies of Central and Eastern Europe. Her recent studies have addressed issues of structural transformation and the emergence of the post-socialist welfare states. She has been involved in a great number of cross-country comparative studies.
Szalai was affiliated with numerous acknowledged research centers in Europe and the United States, including Stockholm University, University of Glasgow, University of London, Nuffield College, Free University – Amsterdam, IWM–Vienna, Collegium Budapest, University of Wisconsin, Georgetown University, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD). In recognition of her work, she was awarded by the Soros Foundation (“Creativity Award” – 2003), the President of Hungary (2004), and, twice, the Hungarian Sociological Association (“Polanyi Award” – 2005, 2015).