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 Law & Anthropology Department invites applications for

5 Positions for Doctoral Students

One of the aims of the Law & Anthropology Department is to offer a stimulating interdisciplinary forum where both lawyers and anthropologists can engage with one another and conduct cutting-edge, policy-relevant research linked to the intensification of exchanges and encounters among and between societies, communities, and cultures in today’s world. This calls for an in-depth assessment of the ways in which different normative orders and systems of morality coexist at various levels of decision-making.

This call invites research proposals that address the European context. The object is to allow a small group of doctoral students to assess, both from a legal and from an empirical point of view, some of the challenges that come with requests – both before public authorities (including the judiciary) and in private relationships – to accommodate, directly or indirectly, the increasing social, cultural, and demographic diversity in Europe today.

Within the framework of this call, three scenarios/challenges in particular are under scrutiny: (1) situations in which fundamental rights and liberties are in conflict with one another; (2) situations or practices that are not recognized or are explicitly denied validity under state law; (3) situations that are addressed very differently in the several domestic legal orders of European countries. Research proposals will focus on at least one of the three abovementioned scenarios/challenges, and applicants should make clear to what extent their project engages with both law and anthropology.

  1. an academic degree (master’s or equivalent) in law or social / cultural anthropology in hand at the time of taking up the position (1 October 2018), with outstanding results;
  2. evidence of serious interest in law &
  3. anthropology;
  4. willingness to conduct empirical field research (this may require familiarity with relevant legal practice);
  5. very good command of written and spoken English;
  6. evidence of proficiency in other relevant languages.
Applicants are expected to work in interdisciplinary collaboration with the other colleagues in the Department, and should therefore have an intrinsic interest in interdisciplinary as well as team work.

Positions are to start on 1 October 2018. They are awarded for three years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions (pending a positive evaluation). Employment will be on a full-time contractual basis. The workplace is Halle/Saale (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany).

Please note that the Max Planck Institutes do not award doctoral degrees. Doctoral students must therefore enrol at a university in or outside Germany. The choice of university will be agreed jointly by the successful applicant and the director of the Department of Law & Anthropology (for practical reasons, most PhD students enrol at the Martin Luther University in Halle, but that is not a requirement).

The Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in science; we thus explicitly encourage applications from female researchers. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, assuming equal qualifications.

Application procedure
Applicants are asked to submit the following materials:

Please submit your application materials electronically by 15 March 2018 by following the link for vacancies on our homepage (under ‘Career’), or by going directly to the online application form using the link below.

Interviews with shortlisted applicants will be held in spring 2018.

If you have further questions regarding the application procedure, please contact:
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Personnel Administration
Janka Diallo (

Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung
Janka Diallo

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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