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)
- Bähre E. (2020), H. U. E. (Bonno) Thoden van Velzen (1933–2020), Focaal 2020(88): 125-126.
- Bähre E. & Moretti I. (20 October 2020), Dutch superiority the cause of so many Covid-19 infections?. Leiden Anthropology Blog: Leiden University [blog entry].
- Bähre E. & Diniz D. (2020), Women’s rights and misogyny in Brazil: an interview with Debora Diniz, Anthropology Today 36(2): 17-20.
- Moretti I. & Bähre E. (23 March 2020), Covid-19: a Conversation about Cultural Differences, Nationalism and Care. Covid-19: a Conversation about Cultural Differences, Nationalism and Care. Leiden: Leidenanthropologyblog.nl [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (2020), Ironies of solidarity: insurance and financialization of kinship in South Africa Politics and Development in Contemporary Africa. London: Zed Books.
- Bähre E. (2020), Financialization, Solidarity, and Conflict, Economic Anthropology 7(1): 159-161.
- Bähre E. (2020), Wealth-in-people and practical rationality: aspirations and decisions about money in South Africa, Economic Anthropology 7(2): 267-278.
- Bähre E. (7 October 2019), Greta Thunberg and Nongqawuse: Two sixteen-year-old women challenging the world.. Leidenanthropologyblog. Leidenanthropologyblog.nl: Leiden University [blog entry].
- Bähre E. & Gomes F. (2018), Humiliating the Brazilian poor: The iconoclasm of former president Lula, Anthropology Today 34(5): 10-15.
- Bähre E. (2018), O retorno da comparação etnográfica: a epistemologia em momentos de mudança política, REVISTA BRASILEIRA DE INFORMAÇÃO BIBLIOGRÁFICA EM CIÊNCIAS SOCIAIS 86: 98-115.
- Bähre E. & Gomes F. (23 May 2018), A Struggle for Care: Public Health and Private Insurance in Brasília. Leiden Anthropology Blog. Leiden: Leiden University [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (29 June 2017), Positioning science: Post-truth, back to the facts, or morality?. Positioning science: Post-truth, back to the facts, or morality?. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (25 October 2016), Towards a heterodox and reflexive economics. Towards a heterodox and reflexive economics. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (28 September 2016), De buitenwacht: Naar een heterodoxe economie en de reflexieve econoom. De buitenwacht: Naar een heterodoxe economie en de reflexieve econoom. Mejudice.nl: Me Judice [blog entry].
- Rana J. & Bähre E. (18 April 2016), Ethnography and the work of the ancestors. Ethnography and the work of the ancestors. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. & Otterloo S.A. (25 January 2016), 1.000.000 views! Blogging, sharing, and countering clichés. 1.000.000 views! Blogging, sharing, and countering clichés. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (5 January 2016), Moralising misfortune: The morality of life insurance. Moralising misfortune: The morality of life insurance. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (2016), Murder for Gain: Commercial Insurance and Moralities in South Africa. In: Wiegratz J., Whyte D. (Ed.) Neoliberalism and the Moral Economy of Fraud. London: Routledge. 142-154.
- Bähre E. (2015), Ethnography's blind spot: Intimacy, violence, and fieldwork relations in South Africa, Social Analysis: The international journal of social and cultural practice 59(3): 1-16.
- Bähre E. & Kripe Z. (27 May 2015), From Beyoncé to Markets – Anthropologists Studying Elites. From Beyoncé to Markets – Anthropologists Studying Elites. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. & Rodima-Taylor D. (12 November 2014), The Uncertainty of Help. The Uncertainty of Help. Cambridge: Cambridge Core Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (2014), A trickle-up economy: mutuality, freedom and violence in Cape Town's taxi associations, Africa 84(4): 576-594.
- Rodima-Taylor D. & Bähre E. (2014), Introduction: mutual help in an era of uncertainty, Africa 84(4): 507-509.
- Bähre E. (15 September 2014), Honorary jobs and working without getting paid. Honorary jobs and working without getting paid [blog entry].
- Bähre & Erik (15 September 2014), No Time, no money: Why do people work for free?. No time, no money: Why do people work for free?. Transformations-blog.com: Transformations blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (2014), The Politics of Mourning. In: Falola T. (Ed.) Mandela: Tributes to a Global Icon. Durham: Caroline University Press. 307-308.
- Bähre E. (23 April 2014), 3 crucial issues in the upcoming South African elections. 3 crucial issues in the upcoming South African elections. Leiden: Leiden Anthropology Blog [blog entry].
- Bähre E. (2014), Indianenverhalen: waarom wij zo veel schulden hebben. In: Verhagen S., Linders L., Ham M. (Ed.) Verlossing van schuld en boete: onorthodoxe oplossingen voor onbetaalde rekeningen. Amsterdam: Van Gennep. 17-31.
- Van Est D. & Bähre E. (2013), Cash for Care in The Netherlands: Markets, Bureaucracies, and Personal Relations in Post-Cold War Healthcare Reform, Etnofoor 25(2): 99-118.
- Bähre E. & Van den Broek G. (2013), Project X Haren: Morele Paniek over Jeugd, Technologie en Crisis. Leiden: Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie.
- Janssen S., Buskermolen N., Van Berkel T., Bähre E., Boer R. & Van Vlijmen J. (2013), Schuldencoöp: jongeren van hood naar Hoop. Leiden: Culturele Antropologie en Ontwikkelingssociologie.
- Bähre E. (2012), 2012 Multinationale Financiële Experimenten: Van 'Emerging Markets' naar Financiële Crisis, ICA - Instituut Culturele Antropologie zomer 2012: 24-27.
- Bähre E. (2012), The Janus Face of Insurance in South Africa: From Costs to Risk, from Networks to Bureaucracies, Africa 82(1): 150-167.
- Bähre E. & Est D.M.E. van (2012), Tussen Vrije Markt en Solidariteit: Het Persoonsgebonden Budget in Beleid en Praktijk.. In: Montfort C. van, Michels A., Dooren W. van (Eds.) Stille Ideologie: Onderstromen in Beleid en Bestuur. Den Haag: BoomLemma. 131-148.
- Bähre E. (2011), Liberation and redistribution: social grants, commercial insurance and religious riches in South Africa, Comparative Studies in Society and History 53(2): 371-392.
- Bähre E. (2011), Publieke dood in Zuid-Afrika, ICA - Instituut Culturele Antropologie zomer 2011: 32-33.
- Bähre E. (2010), Redes de inclusão e burocracias de exclusão: riscos e seguros de responsabilidade civil entre os mais pobres na África do Sul, Etnográfica 14(3): 465-485.
- Bähre E. (2010), Witchcraft and the Exchange of Sex, Blood and Money Among Africans in Cape Town, South Africa.. In: Hunt S. (Ed.) Indigenous Religions: The library of essays on sexuality and religion.. Farnham: Ashgate. 151-185.
- Bähre E. (2009), Documentaire: Fictive birthday and real debts. Leiden/ London: Leiden University/ London School of Economics and Political sciences. [other].
- Bähre E. (2009), New sources of wealth, new sources of conflict: A historical approach to burial societies and insurance among the Xhosa in South Africa: Dep. of Anthropology and Sociology, Stellenbosch University.
- Bähre E. (2007), Beyond legibility: violence, conflict and development in a South African township, African Studies 66(1): 79-102.
- Bähre E. (2007), Inspiratie en verbazing: promoveren bij Bram de Swaan. In: Mooij A., Bos D., Hof S. van 't (Ed.) Grenzeloos nieuwsgierig: opstellen voor en over Abram de Swaan. Amsterdam: Bert Bakker. 166-176.
- Bähre E. (2007), Money and Violence: financial self-help groups in a South African township Afrika-Studiecentrum series no. 8. Leiden/Boston: Brill Academic Publisher.
- Bähre E. (2007), Reluctant solidarity: Death, urban poverty and neighbourly assistance in South Africa, Ethnography 8(1): 33-59.
- Bähre E. & Lecocq B. (2007), The drama of development: The skirmishes behind high modernist schemes in Africa, African Studies 66(1): 1-8.
- Bähre E. (2005), "Housing the urban poor in Cape Town: A post-apartheid dream or nightmare?" In in T. Shakur (ed.) Cities in Transition: Transforming the Global Built Environment. Chesire: Open House Press, 2005.. [other]
- Smets P. & Bähre E. (2004), When coercion takes over: The limits of social capital in microfinance schemes. In: Lont H., Hospes O. (Ed.) Livelihood and Microfinance: Anthropological and Sociological Perspectives on Savings and Debt. Delft: Eburon. 215-236.
- Bähre E. (2003), Book Review of Witchcraft Dialogues: Anthropological and Philosophical Exchanges Review of: G.C. Bond and D. M. Chiekawy Witchcraft Dialogues: Anthropological and Philosophical Exchanges’, The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 9: 594-595.
- Bähre E. (2003), "Encountering the hidden: Witchcraft among the Xhosa in Cape Town, South Africa." In A. van der Kwaak, R. Spronk, and K. Willemse (eds.) From modern myths to global encounters; Belonging and the dynamics of change in postcolonial Africa, 97-103. Leiden: CNWS .
- Bähre E. (2002), Book review ‘Witchcraft, Power and Politics, Exploring the Occult in the South African Lowveld’ Review of: I. Niehaus (2001) Witchcraft, Power and Politics, Exploring the Occult in the South African Lowveld, Journal of Southern African Studies 28(3): 659-660.
- Bähre E. (2001), Housing for the urban poor in Cape Town, Global Built Environment Review .
- Bähre E. (2000), The price of a bed: Migrants and money in Cape Town, Etnofoor 13(2): 55-77.
- Bähre E. & Smets P. (1999), Book review "Counting on People; Trust and Social Control in ROSCAs." In in P. Smets, H. Wells & J. van Loon (eds.) Trust and Co-operation; Symbolic Economies in an Age of Cultural Differentiation, 51-66. Amsterdam: Spinhuis. Review of: P. Smets, H. Wells, J. van Loon Trust and Co-operation; Symbolic Economies in an Age of Cultural Differentiation, .
- Editorial Advisory Board 'Africa: Journal of the International African Institute'
- Editorial Board Critique of Anthropology
- Scientific Advisory Board project 'Europe's Un/Deserving' by Swiss Science Fund
- lid van de Wetenschappelijke Raad van Advies