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.

Call for Papers

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.  Prospective applicants should discuss their ideas with their main adviser(s) at the institution concerned  (supplementary supervision may be offered by other members of the Network). If the project is already under way, this should be made clear in a covering letter. The formal scholarship will be for 6 months. In addition it is assumed that most students will spend 12 months in the field collecting data. In addition to  a basic allowance, supplementary costs – including travel – during data collection will be met by the Max Planck Institute.  Significant additional support will also be available in the final, writing-up phase, e.g. to support further sojourns at the Max Planck Institute, or at other relevant institutions.

Location and themes

Applications should be focused on one or more of the V4 countries. For the purposes of this initiative the former East Germany (the neue Bundesländer), which has many commonalities with its postsocialist neighbours, is considered to be part of the V4.
Projects that engage with themes in the following broad categories are particularly encouraged: classification, state practices, local level solidarities; gender, sexuality, reproductive rights; migration; minorities; gender, sexuality, reproductive rights; political language, ideologies; religion and secularization; temporality,  history, memory, silences. Applications addressing other themes will also be considered.


Applicants should submit a summary of their proposal (2 pages maximum) along with a CV, a letter of support from the designated main supervisor, and the name of one further referee. Please submit to Chris Hann:

Deadline: 30th March 2018

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