Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the leading centres for research in social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality.

The Department ‘Integration and Conflict’ headed by Professor Günther Schlee is offering

1 PhD position or postdoctoral grant for work on the anthropology of kinship
(starting May 1st 2015)

Integration and conflict are central points of reference for the analysis of the interaction of ethnic groups and states. The construction, meaning, and communication of identity offer an important field of research within this frame of reference. The analysis of descriptions of the self and others in processes of peaceful and violent interaction and, in particular, the development of identities in confrontations with other groups, are at the centre of this research program. Description and analysis of conflict mechanisms also play an important role here. Further background information concerning the Department can be found on our homepage:

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Within the general themes of identity/identification and difference, we run a programme on ‘Kinship Universals and Variation‘ (KUV) [link:] – in the tradition of Morgan, Fortes, Goody and Lévi-Strauss, and in dialogue with comparable work being done under the heading of evolutionary anthropology.

The KUV programme is explicitly comparative, and uses a mixed research strategy in which researchers are expected to combine participant observation with the use of a specially designed Kinship Network Questionnaire (KNQ), designed for computer-assisted interviewing. The KNQ collects genealogical data (and data on comparable non-genealogical relationships) linking it to such themes as social and ritual interaction, mutual assistance, property transmission, naming and kinship terminology – in a format that can be used for comparative analysis.

We are looking for research proposals that are interesting in their own right, and that will also generate data that can be used for comparisons. We will favour proposals that explain how ethnographic material and KNQ data can be combined to shed light on the chosen research topic. As a rough guide, about one third of the field and analysis effort should be devoted to KNQ-related work. The applicants will be expected to share their KNQ data with other members of the KUV team for joint analysis and publication.

Applications focusing on Central Asia are particularly welcome, in the context of a joint research programme with the University of Zurich ( However, other areas in the world will be considered if the suggested project fits particularly well into the thematic fields of the Department and of the KUV project.

The post will be based in Halle/Saale and the successful applicants will take part in the PhD training program of the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’.

Your Profile
Good field research skills, the ability to work in a team, and communication skills with good written and spoken English are required.

Qualifications in the anthropology of kinship would be highly welcome, and so would experience in quantitative and comparative methods.

As a rule dissertations are written in English. Acquisition of the German language is encouraged, especially if there is relevant literature on the research topic in German. Field Research is carried out in the local language.

Our Offer
A PhD position is generally awarded for 3 years. We expect our PhD students to complete a one year period of fieldwork as part of their studies.
A postdoctoral grant is generally awarded for 2 years with a possible extension of one year. It is not taxed and free from social security stipulations.

The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages applications. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in underrepresented fields; we thus explicitly encourage applications by women.

Please submit your application electronically by February 28th 2015 following the link for vacancies on our homepage. The application should include:
• cover letter
• CV
• project proposal referring to the research agenda of the Department ‘Integration and Conflict’ (five
pages maximum)
• photocopies of university degrees
• name of 2-3 referees, whom Professor Günther Schlee may contact for confidential references

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Personnel Administration
Nadine Wagenbrett

Informal enquiries may be directed to Professor Günther Schlee (

We look forward to receiving your completed online application under .

We look forward to receiving your completed online application.

You may print the job advert using this link.

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