Prof. Dr. Julia Eckert


+41 31 684 8963
Postal Address
Lerchenweg 36, 3012 Bern
Consultation Hour
Wednesday 12:30 to 2:30 pm during the semester. Please sign up on the list at the office door or make an appointment by e-mail.

Photo credit: © Juliette Moarbes

Julia Eckert holds the chair for Political Anthropology at the Institute for Social Anthropology at the University of Bern (CH). She specializes in the political anthropology of world society, focussing on changing institutions of democracy and law under conditions of increasing interdependence. Her current research interests are the relation between moral and legal norms of responsibility and connected to that changing notions of liability and obligation; security and border regimes; citizenship,political participation and struggles for social justice. She has conducted research on Hindunationalism, the police and on everyday conflicts over norms of justice, citizenship and authority in Mumbai, India. Other than India, she conducted research in Uzbekistan (political transition and land reform), Afghanistan (juidicial reform) and Europe (migration bureaucracy). She was researcher at the German Institute for international pedagogical research, Frankfurt am Main, and lecturer at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Free University of Berlin from where she holds a PhD. As head of the research group ‘Law against the State’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale, Germany she examined the juridification of protest and the globalisation of transnational legal norms.

Co-editor of Anthropological Theory

Current Research Themes

  • the anthropology of the modern state: bureaucracy, security, and borders

  • Citizenship: political participation and exclusion

  • Legal anthropology: changing norms of responsibility and liability



Publications of Prof. Dr. Julia Eckert


In my current research I explore the temporal and spatial dimensions of conflicting narratives of responsibility. I focus on two fields: Firstly, I examine legal notions such as aiding and abetting, complicity or non-assistance in different legal fields, particularly anti-terrorism legislation on the one hand, and corporate criminal law on the other, exploring the diverse narratives of mediate and immediate causality mobilised therein; I thereby want to elucidate transformations of institutional recognitions of ‘connection’ and the evidentiary narratives that support these. Secondly, I explore how civic acts of helping articulating moral notions of responsibility transform conceptualisations and institutions of a common weal. With these complementary approaches I explore the contestations of conceptualisations and delineations of our polities.

Current: Juridification of climate politics in the name of climate emergency: the case of climate activism and litigation in Switzerland. Jevgeniy Bluwstein

Current: Big Data Lives. Anthropological Perspectives on Tech-Imaginaries and Human Transformations. Lucien Schönenberg

Current: Pathways from Injury: Naming, Proving, Interpreting. Sharib Aqleem Ali, Surya Ghildiyal

Current: Arbitraging Extraction (Arbitrex): Arbitral Reasoning in the Legal Topographies of Global Extraction, Paule Pastré, Matthieu Bolay

Current Supervision of Junior Scholars: Eliane Gerber, Pascal Kohler, Devhuti Shaw,

Concluded: Preventing Terror, Containing Risk: The securitization of development in the global fight against violent extremism. "Indirect Rule in the Central Mediterranean: the contested governance of the EU’s external maritime border" Kiri Santer, M.A.

Concluded: Doing Credibility; The Construction of Credibility in Swiss Asylum Procedures. Raphaël Rey, M.A., Laura Affolter, M.A., Johanna Fuchs, M.A.

Concluded: How Does Border "Occur"? The Deterritorialised European Border Regime and Migrants' Transnational Social Spaces. Simon Affolter, M.A., David Loher, M.A., Simone Marti, lic.rer.soz.

Concluded: Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate Liability, Angela Lindt, M.A.

Concluded: The emergence of global tax payers: the (re-)making of international business tax law. Dr. Johanna Mugler

Concluded: Creeping Death. Asbestos Victims and the Allocation of Moral and Legal Responsibility in the Aftermath of an Industrial Disaster. Dr. David Loher

Concluded: Crime, Intention, and Accountability: Informal and State Justice in Haiti. Marco Motta

Concluded: Just Tea? The Moral Economy of Assam Tea Production. Anna-Lena Wolf, M.A.

Concluded: Accountability, Quantification and Criminal Justice in South Africa. Dr. des. Johanna Mugler

Concluded: Land restitution and the moral modernity of the new South African state. Dr. Olaf Zenker

Concluded: The Meaning of Turkey. Narratives and Negotiations of the Islamic and the Secular on Turkish Commercial Television. Dr. Britta Ohm

Concluded Supervision of Junior Scholars: Özlem Biner, Brian Donahoe

Autumn Semester 2021

Introduction to the Anthropology of Transnationalsm and the State

MA: Ethnography - intensive methods course

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Spring Semester 2021

Seminar BA/MA: Cohabitation and its moral implicationss

Seminar BA/MA: What matters: Reading David Graeber’s Theory of Value

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Autumn Semester 2020

Introduction to the Anthropology of Transnationalsm and the State

Seminar: Right(s) - Public(s) - common(s)

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Autumn Semester 2019

Introduction to the Anthropology of Transnationalsm and the State

Urban Citizenship II

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Spring Semester 2019

Urban Citizenship

Can the subaltern vote?

Reading Benjamin

Master colloquia

PhD colloquia

Autumn Semester 2018

Introduction to the Anthropology of Transnationalsm and the State

Research course II

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Spring semester 2018

Exercise: Democracy?

Exercise: Research course I

Master Colloquia

PhD Colloquia

Autumn semester 2017

Seminar: Freedom, Equality, Solidarity III: Solidarity

Lecture: Introduction to Anthropology of Transnationalsm and the State

Master colloquia

PhD Colloquia