Research Interests

Political and legal anthropology (anthropology of bureaucracy and the state, dispute resolution and judicial decision-making), comparative public administration, administrative law, state (trans)formation and violence in historical and contemporary societies, post-socialism.

Research Area(s)
Southeastern Europe (Greece, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Germany.


Larissa Vetters studied Social and Cultural Anthropology, Eastern European History, and Administrative Sciences in Tuebingen, Athens and Speyer. From 2009 to 2012 she served as assistant research coordinator for the project ‘Local State and Social Security in Rural Hungary, Romania and Serbia’, which was carried out in the framework of the Legal Pluralism Project Group at the MPI. In 2014 she participated in the project ‘Judicial Practice and Cultural Diversity in Europe’, which was based at the MPI and led by Prof. Marie-Claire Foblets. She held an appointment as full-time lecturer at the Institute for Social Anthropology of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (2011-2013), and was the research coordinator of the Law & Society Institute in the Law Faculty of Humboldt University in Berlin (2015-2018). In 2018 she rejoined the 'Law & Anthropology' Department.

Her PhD research focused on processes of (external) state-building in post-conflict Bosnia and Herzegovina, where she conducted fieldwork in 2006, 2007 and 2008. More recently she has conducted research on migrants’ encounters with German administrative law. This latter interest has resulted in an ongoing research project on migration and the transformation of German administrative law, which is being carried out jointly by the Department of Law & Anthropology and the Law and Society Institute in Berlin as well as another collaborative research project (together with Olaf Zenker, MLU Halle) on bureaucratic sentiments and the digitalization of German immigration management in the framework of the Collaborative Research Center (Sonderforschungsbereich) 1171 –Affective Societies.

Why Law & Anthropology?

“In my work, I combine an interest in empirically-grounded investigations of state transformation with a more theoretically oriented exploration of the function(s) of law in the realm of executive state power. My understanding of law is shaped by my training in the German tradition of administrative sciences with its law focused understanding of public administration and it is this interdisciplinary, yet distinctively continental perspective that I aim to bring to current anthropological debates about transformations of state, citizenship and law at the intersection of legal and political anthropology.”

Go to Editor View