This programme builds research training in anthropology by linking
trainers in New Member and Associated states with western institutions.
Anthropology is unevenly developed across Europe - Social Anthropology
was not taught in central/eastern Europe until 1989 and research
training at postgraduate level is patchy. This programme targets
students from new members and accession states, as well as others
wishing to research in such countries. It will enable two intakes
of Doctoral Fellows to move between three or more partner institutions
in two, thirty month long training programmes. Some short term mobility
will also be available for other doctoral students in Europe and
beyond, whose research contributes to SocAnth's goals. The training strengths and specialisations of the network will provide Fellows with a broad understanding of the discipline. The resulting, cohesive and closely knit network of European anthropologists will be committed to researching and teaching in their countries but thinking in regional, continental and global terms. Fellows will be engaged in a critical rethinking of Anthropological methods and goals to help sustain the impact of the discipline into the 21st Century. Fellows will generate in-depth qualitative research that is properly conducted on issues of ethnic relations, democratic public culture, conflict prevention, but also broader
topics like cognition and learning, medical anthropology and cultural evolution. Special tracks in Visual Anthropology will also be available.
While fellows will come mostly from former communist states, in line with Anthropology's global reach, the geographical range of research is unlimited. We believe that anthropology's concern for bringing local meaning and value into relation with global phenomena will make it well suited to fast-tracking the radical changes necessary for the reform of educational and research practice in the social sciences (and more generally) in the countries involved.
Background and broader goals
Europe has changed beyond recognition since the fall of the Berlin wall. These changes impact upon education as the rest of social life. Today in Central and Eastern Europe, in New Member and Associated states there is a wave of educational change and reform in the tertiary sector. One aspect of this is the promotion and development of disciplines that were either ignored or actively suppressed during the period 1945-1989. Anthropology is one such discipline. This project aims to combine the strengths of a number of different Institutions and research traditions within European Anthropology in order to contribute to and enable a process of institutionalizing Anthropological research and teaching in this region.
The 'SocAnth' network comprises five sites where anthropology is taught at doctoral level, in four different EU (or Associated) countries: University College London and Goldsmith's College (Britain), Central European University (Hungary), Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology aka. MPISA Germany) and Babes-Bolyai University, aka. BBU (Romania).
However, the cooperating institutions do not just differ, they have also conjoined, each in a distinct way, in the project of rethinking ethnography and supporting a public anthropology. While they offer different strengths and theoretical/methodological emphases to DF's and ILV's, they converge on a substantive project of offering a critical rethinking of conventional anthropology and ethnography.
An essential component of most anthropological training is a prolonged period spent living with the people who are the focus of study (fieldwork). For doctoral research one year is normally the minimum period spent on such fieldwork. This enables the student to acquire practical competence in the language, observe the passage of a complete annual cycle, and become familiar with the nuances of daily life as well as the wider regional contexts. There is a strong tradition of anthropologists studying cultures and regions other than their own. This is connected with the anthropological emphasis on comparative analysis and the belief that being an 'outsider' is one way to promote objective data collection and analysis. The period of field training is regularly and carefully monitored by the Recruiting Institutions with regular emails, reports and, where appropriate, visits by supervisors.
Anthropology training is unique in the social sciences in imparting a collection of highly transferable skills which enable students to continue within the discipline or to move easily into careers in social policy, social planning, media and communications, or politics in its widest sense. A major aim of this programme is to avail gifted and promising students from eastern and central Europe of the training which will allow them to be as competent and competitive as their western counterparts.
By strengthening institutional collaboration among academics from east and west Europe 'SocAnth' will lead to an intensification of the efforts at educational reform currently taking place throughout central eastern and south eastern Europe in relation not only to teaching practice and content but also to the nature of research practice (ethics review, equal opportunities etc.).
General features of the training offered
(no more doctoral fellowships in this 4 year cycle 2006-2009)