Institute of Social Anthropology

M.A. Baumann, Dorothée

Since 2019 Sophie Wagner is a PhD student at the institute for Social Anthropology in Bern, working with Prof. Dr. Michaela Schäuble in the project Big Data Lives. Anthropological Perspectives on Tech-Imaginaries and Human Transformations. Before that she joined the department as an assistant and worked as a lecturer at the department of Cultural and Social Anthropology in Vienna.

Her current research treats the real and imagined merging of man and machine. She studies the impact of new technology – in particular wearable devices for constant monitoring and partly automated regulation of individual health – and narratives of technological progress on patients/users. Sophie asks about the realignment of individual and societal responsibility in the health sector and a probable “new solidarity” in the context of access to data, technology (e.g. artificial intelligence) and knowledge, which emerge in the light of new dependencies and a growing interconnectedness of men and machine. 

Sophie Wagner studied Social and Cultural Anthropology in Vienna (AUT) and Visual Anthropology at the Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology in Manchester (UK). Her previous research focused on questions of representation and power in the context of a multicultural Australia and the idea of “authenticity” in the indigenous struggle for recognition. In Israel she worked and filmed on the topic of memory and the challenges of cohabitation.

As a documentary filmmaker she worked on a broad range of topics, from the Viennese social housing to circular economy and the 5-year transformation of the Weltmuseum Wien. She also worked as a researcher for other documentary projects and held school workshops on media literacy. Since 2011 she was, in alternating role – from artistic director to curator and moderator, part of the International Documentary Film Festival ETHNOCINECA. She is still co-organizing the festivals’ Filmwerkstatt, the annual workshop on ethnographic filmmaking.

Research areas:

  • Visual Anthropology and Media Anthropology
  • Science and Technology Studies, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data
  • Medical Anthropologie
  • Memory, Imagination, Societal Narratives, Museum Work
  • Justice, Solidarity, Power