PhD Position

The Department of Anthropology of Economic Experimentation at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is offering a PhD Position for an Urban Anthropology of the Nearby (100%, 3years). Deadline: 23. June 2024



The Department of Anthropology of Economic Experimentation at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is offering a position for

Doctoral Student for an Urban Anthropology of the Nearby

(starting as early as possible after 1 September 2024)


The Department of Economic Experimentation is highlighting “the nearby;” the physical and social space between the home and the intimately familiar, on the one hand, and the anonymous urban environment and larger world, on the other. We respond to concerns that this space, a crucial source of social experience, is increasingly under threat by processes including securitisation and the spread of electronic communications and delivery services. We seek to support ethnographic projects that address the ongoing significance of the nearby in contemporary urban experience, by studying both individual perceptions and engagements with the nearby, and collective efforts to resuscitate and reshape it, including projects focusing on neighbourhood sociality, economic revitalisation, ecological concerns, the built environment, the provision of care, and artistic expression, among other possibilities. The regional focus is open, although synergies with departmental members' research areas are welcome. The resulting research should contribute to both social anthropology and urban theory.

Your Tasks and Profile

The essential duty of the PhD student will be to develop, write and submit a PhD dissertation on a subject of relevance to this project. This should include a substantial period of ethnographic field research.
The candidate should have completed a master’s degree or equivalent at a German university or international university of similar standing, either in social anthropology or a closely related discipline. You should be proficient in English and speak, or be willing to learn, the languages required for their research project.

Our Offer

The PhD position is awarded for three years, with the possibility of an extension up to 12 months (pending a positive evaluation). Employment will be on a full-time, contractual basis, with sufficient additional funding for fieldwork. The workplace is Halle (Saale), a dynamic, historical town in central Germany (Sachsen-Anhalt) that is home to the renowned Martin Luther University and numerous scientific institutions.

The MPI offers a job ticket, company health management, and childcare services in cooperation with local day-care centres.The successful candidate will be integrated into the Institute’s International Max Planck Research School “Global Multiplicities” (, which offers comprehensive structured doctoral training and scientific exchange with doctoral students from our partner universities (MLU, Leipzig University and FAU).

The Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in science; we thus explicitly encourage applications from female researchers. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, assuming equal qualifications.


Please submit your application electronically by 23 June 2024 following the link for vacancies on our homepage (under ‘Career’), or by going directly to the online application form using the link below.

  • Signed cover letter explaining your interest in, and suitability for, the positions
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publications
  • Three-page proposal for a dissertation project, including details about the state of preparation, methodology, and a possible timeline
  • Writing sample (e.g., a publication or chapter from master’s thesis)
  • Copies of all relevant degree certificates and academic transcripts from both the bachelor’s and master’s level

Informal enquiries concerning the positions may be directed to Christoph Brumann (brumann[ at ]

online application

If you have any questions about the application, please contact:
Human resources management
Nadine Wagenbrett (wagenbrett[ at ]


More details

Christoph Brumann

brumann[ at ]