Network Meetings

24 July 2024 15:00 CEST, Barcellona
The meeting will take place at the EASA2024 Conference, Facultat de Geografia i Història 210.

16 August 2024 16:00 CEST, Online
Zoom meeting link


The culture of fear instilled by the increasingly right-leaning structures of power that govern public spaces and our universities in the Global North have led to the silencing of critical voices on Palestine and Israel. In the last week, statements in solidarity with Palestinian civilians written by members of academic communities have been taken down by their institutions, and some local and national governments banned public demonstrations.

What is our purpose as anthropologists, educators, writers and academics in a moment like this one? At a time when there seems to be little space for nuance and context, when talk of retribution dominates the public debate, and when dehumanising language is given free rein in the name of ‘neutrality’, we must speak out.

We empathise with those who have suffered violence, but we express this empathy without using ‘both sides’ as a flattening, equivalencing, uncritical phrase. We can both mourn Israeli casualties, decry the tactics of hostage-taking, condemn hate crime and antisemitic violence as well as denouncing Israel’s genocide of the Palestinian people and unchecked Islamophobia in Europe and beyond. However, we also cannot ignore the context within which violence takes place: one in which a vastly superior military and diplomatic formation has kept a people bereft of a state, of a functioning government and of basic services, whilst subjecting them to everyday forms of humiliation and brutality.

Since Allegra’s inception, we’ve been publishing work on the forms and manifestations of political violence. In the past, we found it not only relevant but necessary to publish essays and opinions on the ongoing oppression in Palestine and resistance to oppression, including texts on camps, boycotts, and struggles. As the military siege and bombardment on Gaza intensifies and as the political discourse polarises, we feel the need to open up the discourse on Palestine and Israel to a range of nuanced and critical positions. We cannot remain silent, especially in a European social and political context that is increasingly right-wing, nationalist and Islamophobic. This doesn’t make us apologists for anyone, it makes us concerned citizens.

Allegra is launching an open-ended Thread on the current situation in Palestine. We are open for submissions that push the debate further in a constructive, critical, humane way. We are specifically looking for ‘notes’, short-form comments without stylistic constraints or an established format. These will be desk reviewed for fast publication. Please aim for around 1,000 words. We also welcome statements of solidarity that have been taken down by universities or other institutions, which we will publish in our Alliances section.

If you are a scholar of the Middle East or a scholar who comes from the region, or a member of a Palestine solidarity group whose statement has been taken down, send your statement or contribution to and Cc .

October 2023. 'Framing Gaza: Call for contributions'. Allegra Lab.

From Critique to Political Practice
12 May 2023, University of Sussex

Workshop rationale

What is the role of researchers in articulating critique in a time of heightened political, social, economic and environmental upheaval? What kind of critique is necessary, possible, and useful in our current times, when the very idea of critical thinking seems threatened by authoritarian, illiberal power and post-truth politics? As such, we ask: What are the moral implications of a social science that remains mostly concerned with critique? What are the limitations of such a framing outside the walls of academia? What alternatives do we have?

Linked to this conceptual preoccupation is a practical one. In a time when critical perspectives are often not welcomed by institutionalised power, ethnographers face ever more difficulties in gaining and maintaining access to legal and governance institutions. What does increasing institutional closing down mean for political and legal anthropology as a field of research, but also of practice?

Brought together, these ethical and methodological dynamics in many ways reflect the balancing act between pragmatism and utopianism we also witness in our interlocutors’ experiences. These experiences, which chart a delicate track between utopia and dejection can serve as a yardstick for our own reflexive practice, beyond the intellectual double impasse of cynicism and relativism. As such, we encourage participants to reflect on the positionality of political and legal anthropologists as researchers-in-the-world and, through this, on the future of research on legal and political processes.



Allegra Lab / EASA LawNet Webinar Series in Honour of Sally Engle Merry (1944-2020)

This series of online talks features presentations that examine the current state of legal anthropology. These webinars are dedicated to Sally Engle Merry, Professor of Anthropology at New York University, President of the Law and Society Association, the American Ethnological Society, and the Association for Political and Legal Anthropology. Sally passed away on 8th September 2020. Her pioneering work on culture and rights, gender violence, and indicators has been highly influential on the subdiscipline and beyond. In memory of her generosity as a teacher and colleague, and in line with her innovative spirit and gentle soul, the seminars are an opportunity for young and more established scholars to engage in vigorous conversations on legal matters of critical relevance to contemporary societal debates.

EASA LAWNET workshop: Concepts, paradigms and slogans – From human rights to human dignity and sustainability (click here)
Convenors: Reetta Toivanen, Miia Halme-Tuomisaari, Jane Cowan
Friday 24th May 2019, University of Helsinki

Concepts, paradigms and slogans – From human rights to human dignity and sustainability. EASA LAWNET workshop on the key concepts of anthropology of law and governance.

BernWorkshop “Anticipating Law. The Prognostics of Hope and Fear”
Workshop conveners:Julia Eckert, David Loher, Tobias Eule, Miia Halme-Tuomisaari
19-21 September 2017, University of Bern

The 2017 EASA Law Net workshop engaged with the theme anticipating law. It called into view both anticipation of law and anticipatory laws. Thus it focused on the one hand on the question how law is mobilised to imagine future society and thereby can figure as a source for individual and collective hopes and aspirations, and on the other hand it asked how law aims at predicting and preventing future behaviour of individuals or groups, as we can find for example in the idea of social engineering and in anti-terrorism law.

The workshop opened on Tuesday with Laura Bear’s keynote lecture “Public Goods: Anticipation, Capital, and the Legal Regimes of Public-Private Partnership”. It invited to cross the boundaries between economic anthropology and legal anthropology, developing a common conceptual framework for the study of contemporary capitalism and the effects of the financial crisis.

In the following two workshop days, twelve papers engaged with the main theme in four thematic panels. Papers in panel 1 (“Law and the Transformation of Society”) and 3 (“Law’s Promises”) discussed how actors use the law to turn it into a source of hope and aspiration. Panel 2 (“Prevention, Securitisation, and the Governance of Fear”) brought into conversation case studies on anti-terrorism law with a study on non-proliferation negotiations and the question how law aims at the prevention of an imagined negative future. In panel 4 (“Anticipation Between Law and Bureaucratic Practices”) the contributions focused on the complex interdependencies between law and bureaucracy and how the involved actors anticipate the outcome of legal procedures.

List of Participants


The workshop was co-organised by the Department of Social Anthropology and the Law Faculty of the University of Bern, Switzerland. It was financially supported by the EASA, the Mittelbauförderung Universität Bern, the Department of Social Anthropology and the Faculty of Law of the University of Bern.


PAST EVENTS (LAW network before the merger)

P063 Evidence in question: anthropological authority and legal judgment
Panel at EASA 2016 in Milan, 20-23 July, 2016
Convenors: Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh) and Julia Eckert (University of Bern)

Short Abstract: This panel examines discussions about evidence in legal proceedings. Different legal orders have developed varying concepts of evidence that are linked to notions of personhood, fact, and truth. These raise new questions also for the current debate about evidence in anthropology.

Edinburgh UniLegal anthropology in Europe at a crossroads
EASA law network workshop at the University of Edinburgh, 22 January 2016
Venue: Chrystal Macmillan Building, Practice Suite, 1st floor, 15A George Square.

The workshop features presentations that examine the state of legal anthropology in Europe. Due to the rise of the anthropology of human rights and a growing interest in governance in the context of the nation-state and beyond there has been a welcome shift to legal matters within anthropology as a whole. In political anthropology the state and governance have emerged as major research interests. In general, there is a growing number of anthropological studies of bureaucracies, national courts, international tribunals, truth commissions and other sites.

What does this shift towards legal matters, defined most broadly to include forms of non-state normative orders, mean for legal anthropologists? What is the significance of this 'welcome, exciting renaissance' (John Comaroff, 2006) for legal studies and social anthropology in Europe and beyond? These will be among the questions the workshop will address by drawing on ethnographic studies of law, rights and social order.


9:15 – 9:45: Registration and coffee
9:45 – 10:00: Introduction by Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh)

10:00 – 12:00: Panel 1
Chair: Andy Aitchison (University of Edinburgh),
Miia Halme Tuomisaari (University of Helsinki): ‘Law as a state of mind: Vignettes from the UN Human Rights Committee’.
Ukri Soirila (University of Helsinki): ‘Legitimacy and Life: Humanity discourse in global law and policy’.
Julie Billaud (Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology): ‘UPR as entry into international governance and audit culture’.
Luis Eslava (Kent Law School): ‘Toward the international law of the everyday’.
Discussant: Isabelle Schulte-Tenckhoff (Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva)

Lunch break: 12:00 – 12:45

12:45 – 14:00: Panel 2:
Chair: Anne Griffiths (University of Edinburgh)
Reetta Toivanen (University of Helsinki): ‘On the meaning and consequences of ‘translating’ universal human rights standards: Case studies in the Arctic’.
Astrid Jamar (University of Edinburgh): ‘Everyday in Aidland for transitional justice and human rights practitioners: Quotidian relations and structural contradictions’.
José Maria Munoz (University of Edinburgh): ‘Anthropology and soft law’.

Coffee break: 14:00 – 14:15

14:15 – 15:30: Panel 3:
Chair: Gerhard Anders (University of Edinburgh)
Andrea Pia (London School of Economics): ‘The politics of legal fixes: What is to be learned from China’s attempt to silence dissent through law?’.
Nathan Thomas Coben (University of California – Irvine): ‘Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims: Jurisdictions, borders, and boundaries in Ireland’.
Karen T. Hough (Oxford Brookes University): ‘After the boat: Legal anthropology and the Mediterranean migration crisis’.

15:30 – 16:00 Concluding remarks by Toby Kelly (University of Edinburgh) 



P045 Tracing eligibilities: moralities, performances, practices
Panel at the EASA 2014 in Tallinn, 3 August 2014
Convenors: Heike Drotbohm (Albert-Ludwigs Universität, Freiburg) and Julia Eckert (University of Bern)

The politics of 'eligibility' refer to imaginations of deservingness and vulnerability. In this panel we will bring together papers, which trace moralities, performances and practices of eligibility in different institutional contexts and from different actors' perspectives. The creation (and disolution) of eligibility can be understood as a dialogical moment of collaboration between state bureaucrats, lawyers, medical assessors, aid organizations, witnesses, and the applicants/potential claimants/candidates themselves, in which the credibility of certain stories, the authenticity of persons, and 'truth' is judged. We enquire into the criteria mobilized by different actors for creating eligibility and into the determination of evidence for justifying decisions on eligibility. We are interested in understanding the ways in which different actors come to imagine 'the vulnerable other', in how ideas of eligibility respond to historical shifts, are adapted, and how their relation to ideas of a body politic is assessed from different perspectives. We would also like to understand how apparent non- or misunderstandings as well as failures or refusals are interpreted from different points of view. Last but not least, we ask what kind of dilemmas and methodological challenges do ethnographers face when researching eligibility from different angles? This panel seeks papers drawing from anthropological fieldwork, which trace eligibilities refering to individual (e.g. access to territory/residence/citizenship, access to health/medical care, protection from violence, financial support) or collective bodies (e.g. collective rights, humanitarian aid).



Workshop Report: ‘Mobility within and to the Global South’, Cologne, December 5-7, 2013.
Organizers: Michaela Pelican and Heike Drotbohm
University of Cologne and University of Freiburg

The workshop ‘Mobility within and to the Global South’ brought together scholars from different disciplines and with various regional specializations to discuss recent trends in international migration, namely, its reorientation towards new geographical destinations, as well as theoretical and methodological implications going along with these shifts. The workshop included senior and younger scholars working on a wide variety of migration, connecting Latin America, the Caribbean, the US, Europe, Africa and Asia. It reflected diverse epistemological and methodological approaches, with participants coming from various world areas and disciplinary backgrounds.

The workshop’s main goal was to foster exchange and discussion on conceptual issues related to studying 'Mobility within and to the Global South'. To this aim, we adopted a participatory and interdisciplinary workshop format. We decided to give priority to discussions and to forgo individual presentations by asking participants to prepare profile cards (a snapshot of participants’ main working areas, key steps in their academic career, and their most important publications) as well as personal statements in relation to the subject of the workshop. On the basis of these documents, we developed three themes that were tackled in the form of group discussions and subsequent presentations in the plenum: a) migration and citizenship regimes, b) migrant sociability and network, and c) methodologies, epistemologies and collaboration. For each theme 2-3 questions were formulated, so as to guide the discussions. This interactive format enabled us to come up with new insights, critical perspectives as well as inspirations for future research and collaborative projects.

The workshop opened with a public lecture/keynote by Bela Feldman-Bianco, in which she historicized and problematized mega-notions, such as ‘Global South’, ‘Global North’, ‘development’, and ‘post-colonialism’, and also highlighted the relevance of in-depth local-level research for the understanding of both global economic and political processes as well as migrants’ local and transnational practices. The rhetorical and conceptual usages of the term ‘Global South’ and their implications for policy and research were further discussed during the workshop. Participants came to understand that while it is essential to deconstruct mega-notions for research purposes, it is also vital to re-appropriate these terms as strategic/political tools in moments of grant-seeking, and more importantly, in view of newly emerging alliances among scholars and activists of the nation-states considered part of the so-called ‘Global South’. Moreover, on the basis of exchanging insights from our individual research projects, we realized a wide variety of practices and processes that undercut dichotomous distinctions between ‘North’ and ‘South’, and that can only be understood against the background of historically and spatially embedded research.

The workshop ended with an invitation to continue thinking and exchanging ideas about new trends in migration research, which is facilitated by a mailing list ( Interested individuals are welcome to join us and contribute to on-going discussions on ‘Mobility within and to the Global South’.

Workshop participants: Tanja Bastia, Marina de Regt, Heike Drotbohm, Bela Feldman-Bianco, Laavanya Kahtiravelu, Olivia Kilias, Maggi Leung, Zhigang Li, Albert Manke, Anna-Maria Manz, Jonathan Ngeh, Michaela Pelican, Aranzazu Recalde, Tobias Schwarz, Brigitte Suter, Ida Vammen, Yang Zhou.


PAST EVENTS (AIG network before the merger)


Policymaking and implementation across state institutions, international organisations and transnational networks of civilsociety organisations are expanding fields of anthropological research. The complex positionalities that anthropologists adopt in these ethnographic contexts and their implications in epistemological, methodological and ethical terms are emerging as central issues in these fields. This workshop explores different and often controversial forms of anthropological engagement with global policy worlds and the dilemmas that collaboration entails against the background of a dominant neoliberal research agenda.

Whether emerging from intention, serendipity or necessity, researchers’ commitment to the explored policy fields and their complicity with research subjects are recurrent patterns in these ethnographic situations. As interns, consultants, advocates, representatives of governmental or non-governmental organisations, experts or temporary employees, researchers become actors in the processes that they are observing. This insider status affords key opportunities for exploring the creative friction that different policy regimes bring to global governance. Inside-track and first-hand experience also prevents simplistic essentialisation of “institutional cultures”. Yet taking on a position outside the comfort zone of the “hands-off” approach exhumes anthropology’s skeletons in the closet and generates pressing methodological anxieties, evidence of the difficult relation between action and knowledge production that characterises social sciences’ worldly interventions.

Belonging to the “epistemic community” that contributes to shaping the explored policy programmes provides scholars with the opportunity to impact social and political debate, yet it also radically challenges the founding anthropological assumption of a distinction between self and other and is therefore regarded as an obstacle to genuine critique. Furthermore, while collaborative anthropology in the exploration of the worlds of the marginal, dispossessed or dominated is appreciated as a form of social responsibility, working with powerful organisations is suspected for its multiple responsibilities to institutional or political interlocutors and to the groups that are affected by their intervention. Within this context ethnographic research raises numerous methodological, political and ethical dilemmas, especially when it is directly or indirectly supported by standard-setting organisations and policymaking institutions.

As social sciences come to grips with neoliberal research models, academics increasingly live with this uneasiness. Trained to formulate questions aimed at unpacking policy apparatuses, they are expected to provide answers to policy issues and contribute to governance objectives following managerial, rather than speculative, logics. In these contexts, scholars face the challenge of disseminating their research while being aware of their interlocutors’ negative perception of the analytical language they use to describe policy interventions. There are clearly no easy solutions to these conundrums. This workshop sets out to interrogate collaborative dilemmas by exploring the epistemological, ethical and methodological consequences of engagement, as well as of disengagement, with governmental agendas, international organisations, and other superseding institutions.


Session 1

Tuesday 12 April (14h00-18h00)
Discussant: Dominique Schnapper
Chiara Bortolotto (IIAC/LAHIC) Collaborative dilemmas: introduction
George Marcus (University of California, Irvine) Observations on Anthropologists Naviga ting Their Research Within the Global-Scaled Projects of Neoliberal Leviathans, Circa 2000-2010
Ruth Phillips (Carleton University) From 'Knowledge' to "Knowledges': Collaborative Research and Inter-Articulation i n Museums
Pascale Haag (IRIS, EHESS) Quand le faire et le dire vont ensemble – recherche et engagement

Session 2: Wednesday 13 April (9h30-13h00)
Kristin Kuutma (University of Tartu) Contemplating the field, the method and accountability in the world of organisations: UNESCO apparatus from within
Christoph Brumann (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology) Heritage believers, heritage atheists, and other scholars in research about the UNESCO World Heritage arena
Birgit Müller (CNRS, IIAC/LAIOS) Action research in the Committee on Food Security of the United Nations
Irène Bellier (CNRS, IIAC/LAIOS) Engaging collaborative anthropology with indigenous peoples

Session 3: Wednesday 13 April (14h00-18h00) Discussant: Antoine Bozio

Julie Billaud (Allegra Lab, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, International Committee of the Red Cross) The humanitarian ethnographer? On the methodological challenges and opportunities of researching the ICRC from within
Maria Sapignoli (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, O’Brien Fellow in Residence McGill University) Dilemmas, Insecurities, and Opportunities in Multi-Positioned Ethnography
Giulia Scalettaris (IIAC- LAUM) The International Organisation, Academia and the Researcher in the Making. Acts 1 and 2
Chirstian Hottin (ministère de la Culture et de la Communication) La fabrique de l’ethnologie du patrimoine : un regard de conservateur

Workshop: Studying Micro‐Practices in (International) Institutions: Chances and Limitations of Theory‐Building
Organisers: Alejandro Esguerra & Katja Freistein (Centre for Global Cooperation Research, University Duisburg‐Essen) & Stefan Groth (formerly Göttingen University/Centre for Global Cooperation Research)
7‐8 December, 2015 Place: Käte Hamburger Kolleg/Centre for Global Cooperation Research (University of Duisburg‐ Essen) in Duisburg (Germany)

The Centre will cover travel expenses and arrange accommodation.

Download more info PDf


The Network also sponsored an exiting panel this year: The changing landscape of the global political economy and foreign aid: has the Cold War ended?

Wenner GrenThe Anthropology of International Institutions: how ethnography contributes to understanding mechanisms of global governance, 2010
Wenner Gren Workshop, Convenor: Birgit Müller, IIAC-LAIOS

The Anthropology of International Institutions, 2009
Workshop at the Annual Conference American Anthropological Association 108th Annual Meeting. Convenor: Birgit Müller, December 26, 2009 Philadelphia, PA. Read the panel proposal here.

The Anthropology of International Institutions, 2008
Exploratory Workshop of the European Science Foundation
Convenors: Birgit Müller (LAIOS/CNRS, Paris), Shalini Randeria (University of Zurich), Irène Bellier (LAIOS/CNRS), Christina Garsten (SCORE Stockholm University).