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.
Leiden Anthropology Blog
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 an Economic and Social Research Council funded research project on economic change in South Africa.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. 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. 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.
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.
- ERC Consolidator Grant for his research project ‘Moralising Misfortune: A Comparative Anthropology of Commercial Insurance to examine the morality of life insurance’ (2016-2021);
- KNAW NIAS fellowship (2011-2012)
- Wenner-Gren grant for ‘Ethnografeast IV: Intimacies and Knowledges’ (2009);
- NWO individual postdoc grant (2004-2007).
In the media
- Interview for BNR news radio about the Dutch trade mission to South Africa (November 17, 2015)
- Interview in OneWorld magazine on ‘slum tourism’ in South Africa (January 6, 2014)
- Interview on FunX about research project into the ‘Slut Mars’, feminism and abortion in Brazil (August 2, 2013)
- Interview on FunX about greetings and culture (July 25, 2013)
- Interview with Student Association Itiwana on economic anthropology and debt
- Interview in Mail and Guardian special 'God edition' on funerals in South Africa: ‘Buried in debt: High costs live on’ (March 28, 2013)
- Interview in Mare on bloody taxi war in Cape Town (May 24, 2012)
- NRC newspaper column: ‘It’s the financial interests, stupid’ (February 7, 2012)
- Scientific Advisory Board project 'Europe's Un/Deserving' by Swiss Science Fund