Elisabeth Schober

Associate Professor - Department of Social Anthropology
Image of Elisabeth Schober
Norwegian version of this page
Phone +47-22855396
Visiting address Sosialantrop. inst. Eilert Sundts Hus 6th floor Moltke Moes vei 31 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1091 Blindern 0317 OSLO

Academic Interests

Thematical: globalization, economic anthropology, energy studies, militarism and gender, nationalism studies, the anthropology of borders.

Regional: South Korea, the Philippines.


Elisabeth Schober is an economic anthropologist and globalisation studies scholar with research and teaching interests in maritime work, gender / sexuality, and the anthropology of energy. She holds a Magister degree in European Ethnology (2004, Karl-Franzens University, Graz), an MA in Nationalism Studies (2007, Central European University, Budapest) and a PhD in Sociology and Social Anthropology (2011, Central European University). She is part of the editorial collective of Focaal. Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology.

Her first research project explored changing border regimes between Slovenia and Austria and the (re-) construction of memories in the wake of the EU expansion of 2004. She published this work as a monograph ("Hinüberschauen und Wegsehen", Wissenschaftliche Schriftreihe des Pavelhauses, 2006). During her PhD, she conducted 21 months of ethnographic field research in South Korea, where US military bases have become a major source of discontent over the last few decades. A number of entertainment districts next to US-American installations in and near Seoul are at the center of her 2nd monograph (“Base Encounters. The US Armed Forces in South Korea”; Pluto Press, April 2016).

While a postdoctoral fellow at UiO (2012-2016), she was affiliated with Thomas Hylland Eriksen’s ERC-funded research project “Overheating: The Three Crises of Globalisation”. In her contribution to "Overheating", she has explored the economic, environmental, and social challenges emerging from the relocation of manufacturing processes from South Korea to the Philippines. In 2013 / 14, she spent seven months in Subic Bay - a site which was previously home to the largest US naval base overseas and is nowadays a center for the global shipbuilding industry. Major publications resulting from this work are an edited volume (“Identity destabilised. Living in an Overheated World”, co-edited with Thomas Hylland Eriksen) and a special issue of the journal Ethnos on “Economic Growth or Ecologies of Survival?” (also co-edited with T.H. Eriksen).

Schober is currently the Principal Investigator at "(Dis-) Assembling the Life Cycle of Container Ships" - a 3-year research project (2018-2021) funded with NOK 7 992 000 under the FRIPRO-"Young Research Talent"-Scheme of the Norwegian Research Council. Her third monograph (in preparation), building on this recent engagement, will focus on South Korea's shipbuilding industry and its responses to the current global crisis in the maritime world.

Teaching and Supervision 

Schober regularly teaches a BA course on kinship and gender, an MA course on theory and method, and is also involved in a regional ethnography course on East and Southeast Asia. Concerning supervision, she particularly welcomes expressions of interest from BA and MA students with research interests in Asia. She would also like to work more with students interested in global maritime issues, changing labour relations worldwide, and the U.S. presence in the Pacific region.



Tags: Economic anthropology, Labour, Gender, Asia, South Korea, Philippines











Base Encounters: The US Armed Forces in South Korea


Knowledge and Power in an Overheated World


2016. Base Encounters. The US Armed Forces in South Korea. London: Pluto Press.

2016. Identity Destabilised: Living in an overheated world (editor, together with Thomas Hylland Eriksen). London: Pluto Press.

2006. Hinüberschauen und Wegsehen. Bad Radkersburg: Wissenschaftliche Schriftreihe des Pavelhauses (Volume 10).

Journal Articles 

2018. “Working(wo)man’s suicide. South Korea’s ‘Hope-Bus’ Movement and its Repercussions for Labour in the Philippines.” Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, pp. 134-147. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1467-9655.12804  

2018. “Economies of Growth or Ecologies of Survival” (Introduction to Special Issue, with Thomas Hylland Eriksen). In Ethnos. Journal of Anthropology.83(3), pp. 415-422. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00141844.2016.1169201          

2018. “Between a Rock and a Stormy Place. Land and Labour in the Philippines.” In Ethnos. Journal of Anthropology. 83(3), pp. 473-488. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/00141844.2016.1169204

2017. "Waste and the Superfluous." (Introduction to Special Issue, with Thomas Hylland Eriksen). Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale 25(3), pp. 282- 287. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1469-8676.12422

2016. "Building a City. Korean Capitalists and Navy Nostalgia in “Overheated” Subic Bay". In History and Anthropology. 25(5), pp. 488- 503. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/02757206.2016.1222525

2014. “Itaewon's suspense: masculinities, place-making and the US Armed Forces in a Seoul entertainment district” In Social Anthropology / Anthropologie Sociale, 22:1, pp. 36-51 https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/1469-8676.12060

2011. “Vil(l)e Encounters. The US Armed Forces in Korea and Entertainment Districts in and near Seoul.” In Korea. Politics, Economy and Society (Korea Yearbook, Vol. 5), pp. 207-232.

Book chapters

2018. "Destabilizing the European Austerity Debate via an Asian Detour. Lessons from Labour in Post-Crisis South Korea." In Austerity. The View from Anthropology. Edited by Theodoros Rakopoulos. London: Berghahn Press, pp. 115-129.

2018. “In/determined Labour. Boundary Dislocations around Waste, Value and Work in Subic Bay (Philippines).” In Indeterminacy: Essays on Waste, Value and the Imagination. Edited by Catherine Alexander and Andrew Sanchez. London: Berghahn, pp. 161-180.

2018. “The (Un-)Making of Labour. Capitalist Accelerations and their Human Toll at a South Korean shipyard in the Philippines.” In Industrial Labor on the Margins of Capitalism. Edited by Chris Hann and Jonathan Parry. London: Berghahn Press, pp. 197-217.

2016. “Introduction. The Art of Belonging to an Overheated World.” (together with Thomas Hylland Eriksen). In Identity Destabilised: Living in an overheated world. Edited by Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Elisabeth Schober. London: Pluto Press, pp. 1-19.

2016. “Indigenous Endurance amidst Accelerated Change? The U.S. Navy, South Korean Shipbuilders and the Aeta of Subic Bay (Philippines).” In Identity Destabilised: Living in an overheated world. Edited by Thomas Hylland Eriksen and Elisabeth Schober. London: Pluto Press, pp.135-152.

2014. “’The colonized bodies of our women…’ Imaginative and Material Terrains of U.S. Military Entertainment on the Fringes of South Korea.” In Gender and Conflict: Embodiments, Discourses and Symbolic Practices. Edited by Frerks, Georg; Reinhilde König, and Annelou Ypelj, Farnham: Ashgate (“Gender in a global / local world” series).

2007. "Worüber man (nicht) reden kann..." in Grenzen und Differenzen. Zur Macht sozialer und kultureller Grenzziehungen. Edited by Thomas Hengartner and Johannes Moser. Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag.

Non-Refereed Articles

2013. „Internationaler Tag der Migranten. Forderungen der Migrant Trade Union.“ In Korea Forum 1+2/2012, pp. 16-17.

2013. „Zum 1000. Mal – ehemalige „Trostfrauen“ geben nicht auf.“ In Korea Forum 1+2/2012, pp. 113-114.

„2013. „‚Massenentlassungen toeten!‘ Belegschaft des Automobilkonzerns SsangYong kaempft weiter.“ In Korea Forum 1+2/2012, pp. 115.

2013. „Südkoreanischer Twitter-User. Bis zu sieben Jahre Haft drohen wegen Kurzmeldungen ueber Nordkorea.“ Korea Forum 1+2/2012, pp. 119-121.

2012. “Ein Dorf im Belagerungszustand: Gewaltfreier Widerstand gegen U.S.-Militarisierung in Gangjeong, Südkorea“. In iz3w (Juli / August 2012), pp. 18-19.

2012. “Von Camptown in die City. Seoul und das US-Militärkontingent in Südkorea“. In Korea Info Nr. 16 (Januar), pp. 3-14.

2011. “Um die Grenze intakt zu halten… Der Kriegsdienstverweigerer Ahn Jeehwan”. In Koreaforum 1+2 / 2011, pp. 34-37.

2010. „Camptown-Frauen. U.S.-Militarismus, Migration und Prostitution in Südkorea.“ In Koreaforum 1+2 / 2010, pp. 55-58.

2010. „Entmilitarisierte Zone. Reflexionen über den Grenzraum Korea.“ [in German and Slovene] in Signal 2010/11, pp. 247-254.

2009. “Militarizált férfiasság-játék - Itaewon szórakozónegyed, Dél-Korea” [in Hungarian; “Militarized Masculinities at Play – the Itaewon Entertainment District of Seoul, South Korea”]. In anBlokk. 3.

2007. “Über das redet kein Mensch“ – Die Ausgesiedelten aus dem Apaško polje / Abstaller Feld.” in Blätter für Heimatkunde. 81:4, pp. 122-130.

2005. "Scheinbar entgrenzt. Grenz-Erinnerungen anlässlich der EU-Erweiterung 2004 an der südoststeirischen / nordslowenischen Grenze" in Kuckuck 1/ 2005, Jg. 20, pp. 10-16.

2005. "'Man sieht schön hinüber.' Erinnern und Vergessen an der slowenischsteirischen Grenze anlässlich der EU-Erweiterung" [In German and Slovene], in: Signal 2005/06, pp.165-183.

Review Articles and Reviews

2016. "Of dispossessions and reclamations: Anthropology in the time of crisis". (on James G. Carrier and Don Kalb's "Anthropologies of class", and Sharryn Kasmir and August Carbonella's "Blood and fire."). In Focaal.  

2014. „Getting Rid of Ourselves?“ (on Saskia Sassen’s “Expulsions. Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy“). In European Journal of Sociology, 55:3, pp. 413 – 418.

2010. “Subverting the Military Normal” (On The Bases of Empire. Edited by Catherine Lutz, 2009; and The Counter-Counterinsurgency Manual, 2009) in Focaal Nr. 58/2010, pp. 109-114.

2007. "Trafficking - What is that?" (On Trafficking and Prostitution Reconsidered, edited by Kamala Kempadoo, 2005; and Sex Trafficking by Katherine Farr, 2005) In Focaal Nr. 49/2007, pp. 124-128.

2007. “Comparing Europe’s Neo-Nationalists”. (On Gingrich, Andre and Marcus Banks (eds.). 2006. Neo-Nationalism in Europe & Beyond. Perspectives from Anthropology. New York; Oxford: Berghahn Books; and Gingrich, Andre and Richard G. Fox (eds.). 2002. Anthropology, by Comparison. London and New York: Routledge.) In Focaal Nr. 50/2007, pp. 170-173.


  • Schober, Elisabeth (2018). Working (wo)man's suicide: transnational relocations of capital ? repercussions for labour in South Korea and the Philippines. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute.  ISSN 1359-0987.  24, s 134- 147 . doi: 10.1111/1467-9655.12804
  • Schober, Elisabeth & Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (2017). Waste and the superfluous: an introduction. Social Anthropology.  ISSN 0964-0282.  25(3), s 282- 287 . doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12422
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). Between a Rock and a Stormy Place: from Overheating to Expulsion in Subic Bay (Philippines). Ethnos.  ISSN 0014-1844.  81(4), s 1- 15 . doi: 10.1080/00141844.2016.1169204 Show summary
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). Building a city: Korean capitalists and navy nostalgia in “overheated” Subic Bay. History and Anthropology.  ISSN 0275-7206.  27(5), s 488- 503 . doi: 10.1080/02757206.2016.1222525
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). Indigenous Endurance amidst Accelerated Change? The US Military, South Korean Shipbuilders and the Aeta of Subic Bay, the Philippines, In Elisabeth Schober & Thomas Hylland Eriksen (ed.),  Identity Destabilised. Living in an overheated world..  Pluto Press.  ISBN 9780745399126.  chapter number 8.  s 135 - 152
  • Schober, Elisabeth & Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (2016). Economies of Growth or Ecologies of Survival?. Ethnos.  ISSN 0014-1844. . doi: 10.1080/00141844.2016.1169201
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). Itaewon's suspense: masculinities, place-making and the US Armed Forces in a Seoul entertainment district. Social Anthropology.  ISSN 0964-0282.  22(1), s 36- 51 . doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12060
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). 'The Colonized Bodies of Our Women...': Imaginative and Material Terrains of US Military Entertainment on the Fringes of South Korea, In Georg Frerks; Annelou Ypeij & Reinhild Koenig (ed.),  Gender and Conflict. Embodiment, Discourses and Symbolic Practices.  Ashgate.  ISBN 9781409464853.  Chapter Number 7.  s 133 - 150

View all works in Cristin

  • Eriksen, Thomas Hylland & Schober, Elisabeth (ed.) (2017). Knowledge and power in an overheated world. Department of Social Anthropology.  ISBN 978-82-7720-200-6.  140 s. Full text in Research Archive.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). Base Encounters. The US Armed Forces in South Korea. Pluto Press.  ISBN 9780745336053.  240 s.
  • Schober, Elisabeth & Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (ed.) (2016). Identity Destabilised. Living in an overheated world.. Pluto Press.  ISBN 9780745399126.  260 s.

View all works in Cristin

  • Eriksen, Thomas Hylland & Schober, Elisabeth (2017). A brief response. Social Anthropology.  ISSN 0964-0282.  25(3), s 351- 352 . doi: 10.1111/1469-8676.12432
  • Eriksen, Thomas Hylland & Schober, Elisabeth (2017). Introduction: Knowledge regimes in an overheated world, In Thomas Hylland Eriksen & Elisabeth Schober (ed.),  Knowledge and power in an overheated world.  Department of Social Anthropology.  ISBN 978-82-7720-200-6.  Introduction.  s 7 - 19
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). “Destabilizing the European Austerity Debate. Lessons from Labour in Post-Crisis South Korea”..
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). “From Violent Imaginaries to Base Encounters. Gender-Based Violence and the Anti-US Base Struggle in South Korea and the Philippines”..
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). "Infrastructures of Globalization. Subic Bay (Philippines) and the global shipbuilding industry.”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). “Of Livelihoods and Dispossession. Economic Overheating and the Squeeze on Land and Water in Subic Bay (Philippines).”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2016). “Of seismic shifts and the reclaiming of ‘power’. Current Disputes over Fossil Fuel-based Energy Generation and Climate Change in the Philippines”..
  • Schober, Elisabeth & Eriksen, Thomas Hylland (2016). Introduction. The art of belonging in an overheated world., In Elisabeth Schober & Thomas Hylland Eriksen (ed.),  Identity Destabilised. Living in an overheated world..  Pluto Press.  ISBN 9780745399126.  chapter number 1.  s 1 - 19
  • Gjengedal, Kjerstin & Schober, Elisabeth (2015, 01. mars). Endringane i verda akselererer: Heng du med på karusellen?. [Tidsskrift].  Apollon.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). “Infrastructures of Globalization. Labour and Timespace Contradictions at a South Korean Shipyard in the Philippines.”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). Making a Living, Making Life Worth Living. Scavengers and Shipbuilders in Subic Bay (Philippines)..
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). On "Everyday Occupations: Experiencing Militarism in South Asia and the Middle East" by Kamala Visweswaran. American Ethnologist.  ISSN 0094-0496.  42(2), s 394- 395
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). On Samantha Majic’s „Sex Work Politics. From Protest to Service Provision.“. Social Anthropology.  ISSN 0964-0282.  23(1), s 103- 104
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). "The (Un-)Making of Labour. Capitalist Accelerations and Shattered Bodies at a South Korean shipyard in the Philippines.”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). The Frailty of Power. Three Energy Disputes in Central Luzon, Philippines”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2015). “Working(wo)man’s suicide. South Korea’s ‘Hope-Bus’ Movement and its Repercussions for Labour in the Philippines.”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). “Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Land and Labor in Subic Bay (Philippines)”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). From U.S. sailors to global manufacturers: rapid economic growth and its environmental costs in Subic Bay (Philippines).
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). Getting Rid of Ourselves?. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology.  ISSN 2325-4823.  55(3), s 413- 418
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). “Indigenous Endurance amidst Accelerated Change? The U.S. Military, South Korean Investors and the Aeta of Subic Bay (Philippines)”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2014). Kangnam style and the Korean spirit of capitalism: exercising bodies at a South Korean shipyard in Subic Bay (Philippines).
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2013). “Lost in Mediation. On situating women's voices from the field within antagonistic debates on sex work and trafficking.”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2013). “Our Nation’s Daughter? U.S. Camp Town Spaces as Imaginative and Lived-In Spaces on the Fringes of South Korea”.
  • Schober, Elisabeth (2013). “South Korea’s ‘Hope Bus’-Movement and its Repercussions in the Philippines.”.

View all works in Cristin

Published Apr. 10, 2018 5:35 PM - Last modified July 8, 2018 4:33 PM