Prof. Dr. Julia Eckert


+41 31 684 8963
Postal Address
Lerchenweg 36, 3012 Bern
Consultation Hour
Please 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




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.

1. Current project

Current: Pathways from Injury: Naming, Proving, InterpretingSharib Aqleem Ali, Surya Ghildiyal, Pearl Pandya

2. Concluded Projects

Concluded: Doing Credibility; The Construction of Credibility in Swiss Asylum ProceduresRaphaël 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 SpacesSimon Affolter, M.A., David Loher, M.A., Simone Marti, lic.rer.soz.

Concluded: Law in Protest: Transnational Struggles for Corporate LiabilityAngela Lindt, M.A., Dr. Laura Affolter

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

3. Current Supervision of Junior Scholars: 

Kiri Santer

Lucien Schönenberg, 

Surya Ghildiyal, 

Sharib Ali, 

Paule Pastré, 

Lucie Benoit,

Pearl Pandya, 

Eliane Gerber, 

Louise Frey, 

Jyothy Karat

Jevgeniy BluwsteinJuridification of climate politics in the name of climate emergency: the case of climate activism and litigation in Switzerland. 

Matthieu BolayArbitraging Extraction (Arbitrex): Arbitral Reasoning in the Legal Topographies of Global Extraction,

4. Concluded Supervision of Junior Scholars: 

Kiri Santer, M.A. Indirect Rule in the Central Mediterranean: the contested governance of the EU’s external maritime border" Kiri Santer, M.A.

Dr. David LoherCreeping Death. Asbestos Victims and the Allocation of Moral and Legal Responsibility in the Aftermath of an Industrial Disaster. 

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

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

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

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

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