Network Overview

SocAnth brings together five departments of anthropology from across the continent, including one of the oldest and some of the youngest. Between us we cover pretty much the whole range of modern anthropology, from UCL's 'three field' approach, through Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology's steadfast commitment to the comparative research program, CEU's merging of sociological and anthropological methodologies and concerns, Goldsmith's novel focus on visual anthropological research and Babes-Bolyai's recent cultivation of a publicly oriented anthropology. (read more below)


Each of the individual sites that constitute the network offers specific benefits in terms of the reputation of staff and specific fields of research.

Research at UCL reflects its long-standing commitment to a broad-based conception of Anthropology, combining biological, social and material culture perspectives. A substantial proportion of the Departments' research activity and outputs are the result of staff collaboration both within and between these departments for example in pastoralist research and in cognitive and behavioural evolution.

Goldsmiths Anthropology department has been instrumental in the development of new fields and directions in the discipline, such as the anthropology of Europe and of the media; its new Ph.D. in Visual Anthropology is one of only two in Britain. This Ph.D. places as much weight on the production of anthropological images as on the supporting text. This unparalleled emphasis on the creative arts within the Department is reflected in and supported by the College as a whole.

Research at CEU is distinguished by the integration of sociological and anthropological perspectives as well as methodologies; comparative approaches to the theory and practice of development, state, law, culture, migration, work, civil society, inequalities, the city and urban processes. Training at CEU also places researchers in a truly European research environment without a dominant national culture. Researchers here have the added advantage of being able to work closely with academics and policy makers in the Open Society Institute.

Babes Bolyai Department of Sociology has long been one of the great centres of Romanian research, notably under its lamented leader, Ioan Aluas. It has promoted innovative research into ethnic conflict and has become the home of the only modernised teaching program of anthropology in Romania. It has hosted a series of international training seminars for young anthropologists and will house many of SocAnth's joint seminars.

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology's comparative analysis of social transformation allows its researchers to analyse thematic fields that often stand in the limelight of political discussion. This theory building research is always grounded in empirical analysis of changing norms and values, living conditions and conflicts in post-colonial and post-socialist settings.

All of our institutions lay stress on interdisciplinarity. Two of the participant institutions are explicitly interdisciplinary CEU encourages the comparative integration of sociological and anthropological perspectives both in theory and methods. At BBU an anthropology programme is being created from a combination of traditions of rural sociology, urban studies and theoretical anthropology. In the British institutions we find work crossing disciplinary boundaries, linking material culture with fine arts studies, or anthropology with cognitive and medical science, or organising joint supervision from economics and anthropology for, say, a study of migration. Goldsmiths Anthropology Department actively fosters interdisciplinarity from undergraduate teaching through to substantial collaborative research projects with History, Media, Sociology and Social Work. The specialist PhD in Visual Anthropology combines skills normally taught separately. At MPISA, links with legal disciplines and the investigation of broader evolutionary questions are but two of the ways in which this scholars at this partner institution are using the resources offered by intellectual collaboration across traditional boundaries.

The character of the research done in 'SocAnth' will in part be determined by the scientists who apply for Fellowships, but these interdisciplinary activities and interests across the Partner Institutions suggests much of the work will transcend 'pure' anthropology.

The scientific representatives of each partner institution are:

Dr. Michael Stewart (Coordinator) University College London
Prof. Ayse Caglar Central European University, Budapest
Prof. Chris Hann and Prof. GŁnther Schlee Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle
Dr. Marius Lazar Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj
Dr. Catherine Alexander Goldsmith's College, London