Visegrád Anthropologists’ Network (V4 Net)

Visegrád Anthropologists’ Network (V4 Net)

SUMMARY: The Visegrád Anthropologists’ Network (V4 Net) was launched on 9th October 2017 at the Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology on the initiative of Chris Hann. Its main purpose is to contribute to a better understanding of contemporary social phenomena in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia (the V4) by applying the theories and methods of anthropology, broadly defined. A second goal, especially important when many educational institutions in the V4 face severe pressures, is to consolidate the standing of the discipline of anthropology in this region, in fruitful conversations with adjacent fields of the social sciences and the humanities.

The Visegrád countries – Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary, also known as the V4 – have had a bad reputation of late in the Western media. These countries came together in 1991 on the basis of historical affinities dating back to the Middle Ages. In the postsocialist decades, they display similarities in their economies, political institutions and social structures. Since 2004 the Visegrád states have enjoyed all the benefits of EU membership, yet they have been reluctant to share the burden of the "migrant crisis" that erupted in 2015. It is not just political solidarity with the EU that is judged to be lacking: Western politicians and journalists bemoan nationalism and Islamophobia in East-Central Europe, when humanitarian sympathy with refugees is called for. According to some observers, pluralism and the rule of law have been under threat for years, especially in Hungary and Poland.

There has been relatively little comparative anthropological research into contemporary developments in the V4 (a club in which we include former East Germany as an honorary member, since many of the same phenomena are all too evident here, not least in voting patterns). V4Net aims to fill this gap. With a mix of empirical projects exploring both political economy and changing social relations and notions of personhood, the aim in the years 2017-2021 is to create a solid foundation to address larger conceptual questions concerning trust and social cohesion in states that used to be on the periphery of the Soviet empire and now find themselves structurally marginalised by the EU and global capitalism.

This initiative will support increased collaboration between researchers – doctoral candidates and post-docs as well as established scholars – at leading centres of anthropological research in the region. In addition to arranging regular conferences and workshops, the network will facilitate the mobility of individual schoalrs between all the participating institutes. Senior and junior members alike will be encouraged to spend time at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, to work on their own projects as well as to provide stimulus and guidance to the research community in Halle.

The Network was launched in Halle on 9th October 2017 with the following participants:
Broz, Ludek (Czech Academy of Sciences, Prague)
Buchowski, Michał (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)
Buzalka, Juraj (Comenius University, Bratislava)
Feischmidt, Margit (Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest)
Halemba, Agnieszka (University of Warszawa)
Hann, Chris (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale)
Henig, David (University of Kent at Canterbury)
Kürti, László (University of Miskolc)
Lis, Aleksandra (Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań)
Lubaś, Marcin (Jagiellonian University Kraków)
Malewska-Szałygin, Anna (University of Warszawa)
Mikuš, Marek (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale)
Pine, Frances (Goldsmiths, University of London)
Pusztai, Bertalan (University of Szeged)
Soler, Elena (Charles University Prague)
Sosna, Daniel (University of West Bohemia, Plzeň)
Stewart, Michael (University College London)
Thelen, Tatjana (University of Vienna)

For a summary of the inaugural meeting see.

The following joined the Network at the Conference "Visegrád Belongings: Freedoms, Responsibilities and Everyday Dilemmas" held on 7-8 June 2018:

Brocki, Marcin (Jagiellonian Univerity, Cracow)
Fosztó, László (The Romanian Institute for Research on National Minorities, Cluj-Napoca)
Greeson, Emma (University of California, San Diego)
Kalb, Don (University of Bergen)
Mroczkowska, Joanna (Polish Academy of Science, Warsaw)
Pasieka, Agnieszka (Charles University, Prague)
Pulay, Gergely (Central European University, Budapest)
Robbins, Jessica (Wayne State University, Detroit)
Sárkány, Mihály (MTA Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest)
Sipos, Michal (The Czech Academy of Science, Prague)
Skalnik, Petr (University of Hradec Králové)
Yalçın-Heckmann, Lale (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale)

For information concerning this Conference please refer to the following:

Call for Papers

Conference Programme

Conference Publicity

Much of the Network's business meeting on 8th June was taken up with the discussion of further Workshops and Conferences. Daniel Sosna is organizing a Workshop on "Thrift in Anthropology: Between Thriftiness and Wasting" at the University of West Bohemia on 18th-19th October 2018 (funded primarily by the Wenner-Gren Foundation). Michał Buchowski will take the lead in organizing a Conference concerning migration-related issues, probably in Poznań in early summer 2019. On the initiative of Peter Skalnik, Network members unanimously endorsed a statement expressing concern over the predicament of our colleague David Scheffel, currently being held in custody in Slovakia, see

Participants at the "Visegrád Belongings" Conference, 7-8 June 2018. Zoom Image
Participants at the "Visegrád Belongings" Conference, 7-8 June 2018.

Postdoctoral positions within the frame of V4Net

Following a competitive selection process, four postdoctoral scholarships have been awarded. Emma P. Greeson, Joanna Mroczkowska, Gergő Pulay and Michal Sipos will take up their positions in September-October 2018. Details of their projects will be posted here in due course.

Doctoral-level support within the frame of V4Net

Scholarships and supplementary sources of aid are available to support doctoral projects undertaken by students registered at one of the cooperating institutions of the Network. A first cohort of students was recruited in Summer 2018 (details to follow shortly). Applications are now invited for a second round. The deadline for submitting applications is 31st October 2018. We expect to reach decisions within two months, enabling projects to commence as early as possible in 2019. The two primary instruments of support are:

a) a scholarship for 6 months, most of which is generally spent at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (for pre-fieldwork library research and/or writing up)

b) reimbursement of field research expenses

This support can be used to co-finance new doctoral projects or to facilitate the completion of a PhD that is already well advanced. Full details should be supplied by the applicant in a covering letter, along with a CV and a one-page project Summary. The letter should also give the coordinates of two referees, one of whom should be the applicant's main adviser/supervisor.

Applications should be submitted by 31/10/2018 to Chris Hann at

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