Legal and political anthropology, mobilities, Muslim societies in Europe, feminist theory, reflexive anthropology
Turkey, Germany, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Bulgaria
Harika Dauth holds an MA in Social Anthropology, Religious Studies and Journalism. Her MA thesis investigated relations and identifications among and between Roma, Kurds and Turks, and their various places within the Turkish state and within everyday life in Turkey. The work also reflected on the practice of anthropological writing and attempted a non-linear, rhizomatic ethnography.
Her current doctoral research investigates the legal experiences of immigrants and the practice of citizenship within an emerging European migration regime. Compiling testimonies of immigrants – predominantly Roma and Ashkali who have emigrated from Kosovo, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to Germany – her multi-sited research focuses on their everyday life experiences, and the ways in which they cope and engage with immigration law. These testimonies will be the primary source of data for her ethnographic analysis. The research involves migrants from EU member states as well as Europeans who are third country nationals (TCNs), and thereby provides the opportunity for a comparative analysis of the experiences of immigrants coming from quite different legal regimes.
In order to get a broader understanding of the European Union as a legal and political body governing human mobility, Dauth is further conducting semi-structured interviews with lawyers, human rights activists, travel agents and border patrol officers. The study empirically explores transitory moments between migrants’ residential status and ʻstatusless-ness’, thus centres on cases of asylum, deportation and repatriation. A special focus is put on structural discrimination practices related to borders and mobility control, including racial profiling.
Dauth has been a tutor for several courses in the Department of Ethnology at the University of Leipzig. In the field of civil rights she has worked as a volunteer in an LGBT association in Istanbul, Turkey and as a peace worker among Zapatista communities in Chiapas, Mexico. Currently she is a volunteer counsellor offering free legal advice to refugees in Saxony, Germany.
Why Law and Anthropology?
It is conflict and not consensus that are enduring aspects of any legal order. While conflicts need to be resolved on a local level, they are at the same time embedded in larger, often dialectic, conflicts between the interests of classes and people. In order to show that no legal order is neutral because it creates asymmetrical power relations, class interests, and antagonisms, it is of utmost importance to understand history, power struggles, and local meanings, hence to explore ‘law as discourse’. As numerous social anthropologists have informed us, legal texts are not necessarily the richest source of exegesis, nor are written laws the only effective legal form. Law is orally narrated and negotiated, too; it is happening and being actively created every day through people’s lived experience. That is to say, as fixed as law appears on paper, it is just as flexible in its everyday application. Dimensions of law multiply, especially in times of crisis and conflict, not only with regard to state and international law, but also through the application of customary and religious law. In fact, plural webs of coexisting legal systems and their situational deployment give rise to simultaneously existing legal orders and ‘legal syncretisms’. In sum, there are at least three arguments why anthropology and law need to tie the knot: to represent law as discourse, to ‘glocalize’ legal systems, and finally to become aware of legal pluralism and its associated practices.