Research Interests
Digitization, digitalization, state, state formation, technicisation, assemblage theory, refugee studies, migration management, Artificial Intelligence, administrative law

Research Area(s)
Sudan, South Sudan, Germany


Timm Sureau is a post-doc at the Law and Anthropology Department of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle and the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg. Timm Sureau has been doing research since 2006, first in Sudan, then in South Sudan, and now in Germany. His first research focused on political narratives of marginalization in northern Sudan, highlighting the dissonance between the media discourse, personal and family experiences. For his PhD, he examined state formation processes in South Sudan from an anthropological viewpoint, allowing him to enquire into the mechanisms of legitimation and negotiation in state formation. The low degree of institutionalization with its low barriers of access during the emergence of South Sudanese statehood allowed him to analyze the scope and influence of manifold individual and collective actors. More recently, he concentrates on the digital processes by which state stability and legitimation is supported, and how knowledge, ‘truth’ and evidence are shaped through the control of information flow.

He received his magister’s degree in Social Anthropology, Human Geography and Computer Science from the Free University of Berlin in 2010, and defended his dissertation in 2017 at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. He then coordinated the International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment from 2017-2019, and in 2019, he joined the SFB 1171 Affective Societies in the project “Sentiments of Bureaucracies: Affective Dynamics in the Digital Transformation of German Immigration Management”. Therein he focusses on the digitalization and its multiple consequences of the German migration management.

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