Universiteit Leiden

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Erik Bähre

Associate Professor

Dr. E. Bähre
+31 71 527 3997

Dr. Erik Bähre is Associate Professor at the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology of Leiden University. In 2002 Erik Bähre completed his PhD at the ASSR (now AISSR) at the University of Amsterdam. He has worked at the University of Natal (now University of KwaZulu Natal) (1999-2000), University College Utrecht (2002-2005) and at the University of Amsterdam (2004-2007). He was researcher at the department of anthropology at the London School for Economics and Political Science, taking part in a Economic and Social Research Council funded research project on economic change in South Africa.

More information about Erik Bähre

Short CV

Erik Bähre specialises in economic anthropology. He examines how economic change affects inequality and violence; how people mobilize personal networks to get access to money and care; and how finance raises moral issues regarding solidarity and responsibility. He obtained his PhD in Social Science at the University of Amsterdam (2002), worked at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa (1999-2000), and at University College Utrecht (2002-2005). He was researcher at the Amsterdam Institute for Metropolitan and International Development Studies, University of Amsterdam (2004-2007), and was part of an ESRC funded research project at the Department of Anthropology at the LSE (2007-2010). He was visiting researcher to the anthropology departments at the University of the Western Cape, Stellenbosch University, and the University of Brasília.

Erik Bähre regularly contributes to media through film, blogs, radio, tv and newspaper articles.


Erik Bähre’s research is on how everyday live and personal relations are affected by economic change. He examines how economic ideologies and financial institutions change personal relations, especially kinship. His research in South Africa, Brazil, and The Netherlands shows how people mobilise social networks to gain access to care and money. His studies explain why some people are more successful in mobilising care than others. This approach offers insight into how money and care lead to particular conflicts over the boundaries of solidarity and hierarchies within solidarity.

His research concerns the nexus of bureaucracies and social networks that are crucial to accessing financial support as well as other forms of care. His research shows how bureaucratic classifications are established and how these classifications are experienced by those that depend on care offered through large-scale institutions. The reason for studying these experiences is to understand how finance and the economy shape people’s lives in particular ways. This research reveals people’s experience with and expectations of the market versus the state, how economic and political ideologies are part of everyday life, and people’s moral issues regarding solidarity, inequality, and freedom.

Erik Bähre works on research methods and its underlying epistemologies. He explores how methods are connected to specific theories, epistemologies, ethics, and writing styles and works on integrating ethnography with a mixed methods approach that facilitates a comparative anthropology.

ERC project

Erik Bähre has been awarded the ERC project ‘Moralising Misfortune: A comparative anthropology of commercial insurance’. What moral concerns do people have when they encounter the financial sector in their everyday life? How do people mobilise social networks to access care? Together with four PhD researchers and visiting researchers, these questions are studied in six countries: Brazil, Italy, India, The Netherlands, South Africa and the USA. The project aims to understand highly personal and intimate encounters with financial globalisation.


Relevant links

Associate Professor

  • Faculteit der Sociale Wetenschappen
  • Instituut CA/Ontwikkelingssociologie

Work address

Pieter de la Court
Wassenaarseweg 52
2333 AK Leiden
Room number 3A45



  • Afrika Studiecentrum lid van de Wetenschappelijke Raad van Advies

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