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Research Social and Cultural Anthropology

Anthropology is urgent. Fruitful and meaningful encounters between people of different cultural backgrounds are crucial in the globalized world we live in. Anthropology studies and aims to contribute through a deep understanding of the potential of these encounters, as well as the tensions and clashes that go with them. Our researchers do this in various regions and focus on various topics.

You can find a good impression of the department’s research projects on the page of ISC, our Research Lab on Mobility, Infrastructures, Sustainability and Commons.

Staff research is linked to the overall program Mobilities, Belonging and Beliefs: Confronting Global Inequalities and Insecurities (MOBB). We take up mobility in the broadest sense of the word as a conditioning and disciplining, but also productive and enabling process. Mobility is about migration, transnational life and material exchange on a global scale. It is also about forced up-rootedness, growing inequality, overheating and unsustainable social contracts. The focus on mobility reveals the resilience and inventiveness of people confronted with protracted crisis and insecurity.

Return to the Social and Cultural Anthropology homepage.

The researchers of the department have obtained support from well-regarded national and international funding agencies for a large number of research projects. Our most prominent projects are:
Infra-demos - Socio-Technological Innovation, Infrastructural Participation and Democracy, which studies the relationships between infrastructures and innovative socio-technological forms of participation (VIDI-NL, Dalakoglu)
MIDA - Mediating Islam in the Digital Age. Present issues and past experiences of technological revolutions, that tries to understand how digitisation is shaping Islam (MSCA-EU, Sunier)
GOLD-MATTERS, which explores transformations to sustainability in small-scale gold mining in several countries in Africa and South America (Norface/Belmont, De Theije).

In all our projects collaboration with scientific partners from different disciplines, as well as societal partners such as NGOs and research participant groups, including companies, is an important component of the work. The clearest example of working together with industries is PEOPLE - People-Centred Development Approaches in Practical and Learning Environments (Erasmus+-EU, Colombijn, Brouwer, Bal, Sinatti, Dalakoglu).

VU anthropologists take part in a number of institutional research initiatives and networks, such as the interfaculty ASI – Amsterdam Sustainability Institute, and ISR – Institute for Societal Resilience in the Faculty of Social Sciences (Refugee Academy).

Our research