Research at the Department of Social Anthropology
Research at the Department of Social Anthropology (SAI) is globally oriented, systematically comparative, anchored in extensive field work and thematically quite varied.
To understand the lives of others
A methodological ideal central to the discipline is to enter worlds different from our own, to understand the lives of others and the surroundings with which they interact. Thus we seek to gain insight in how world-views, self-conceptions and social practices interrelate with the patterns of social relations in people's everyday life. From this approach anthropologists also direct their gaze towards their own society, seeking to understand it from a comparative perspective.
The Department of Social Anthropology has had a long term regional expertise in Africa, Latin America and Europe. Additionally, Oceania, South-East Asia, China and Japan are central to our research. During the latter decade, departmental fellows have taken a special interest in the processes of globalization. In 2008 the department chose "Globalization and Localization" as its overall thematic priority. Within this broader theme, research focuses on how economic, political, ideological and ecological processes impact and transform the conditions of local life in different places of the world. Such transformations are dynamic, always influenced and shaped by local processes – they become localized and negotiated in different ways. Today, a considerable part of this research at SAI deals with various aspects of the relation between nature and society.
Under this broad theme four core research areas are identified. They are: