RESA: Research School for Swedish Anthropology
PhD course open to: PhD students in anthropology and neighboring disciplines
Course title: Doing Anthropology on Democracy and Public Engagement
Dates: April 13; April 20; May 2-4; May 31 2016
Location: Uppsala University
Course coordinator/Teaching: Professor Sten Hagberg, Department of Cultural Anthropology & Ethnology; Forum for Africa Studies Uppsala University
ECTS: 7.5 credits

A PhD course of the Research School for Swedish Anthropology (RESA) in collaboration with Uppsala University’s Forum for Africa Studies and Swedish Society for Anthropology and Geography.

Even though anthropologists have, for long time, been conducting research on the politics of almost any societal phenomena, more limited scholarly interest has been concerned with the actual workings of democracy in elections, political parties, democratic assemblies, and formal decision‐making. It is as if the legitimate focus on the subaltern and the marginalized has led to anthropologists to pay little attention to formal political processes. Another reason that may explain the limited anthropological work on democratic processes is that it involves public engagement in new and to some extent challenging ways to the discipline's basic principles: the non‐normative cornerstone of the anthropological project.

The purpose of this RESA PhD course is to explore the various ways by which anthropology may do research on democracy and public engagement. It addresses the intersection between the scholarly focus on contemporary democratic practice as articulated in elections, party politics and civil society, on the one hand, and the researcher’s public participation and civic engagement to the betterment of society, on the other. The anthropologists’ epistemological, methodological and practical positioning will be problematized through the exploration of, inter alia, practical norms, democratic elections, municipal politics, public presence, and popular struggle and resistance.

The PhD course builds on a combination of the reading of contemporary anthropological works on democracy and public engagement, and the presentation of case studies developed by lecturers. Case studies will draw upon research carried out in Burkina Faso, Mali, Bolivia, Uganda, and Sweden. The course combines three different learning modules: seminar, symposium, and workshop.

It requires the active participation of all PhD students enrolled. The course is open to PhD students in anthropology and neighboring disciplines.

Candidates should submit a declaration of interest including a short CV (two pages) and a PhD project summary no later than 15 March 2016 to:


Wednesday 13 April, 9.30‐12.00

Seminar at Uppsala University with video conference.
Introduction: Doing Anthropology on Democratic Practice and Public Engagement
Sten Hagberg

Wednesday 20 April, 9.00‐12.30

The Vega Day at Royal Academy of Science, Stockholm, with web‐TV available afterwards.
The Public Presence of Anthropology
Didier Fassin, Saba Mahmood, Margareth Lock and Thomas Hylland Eriksen
Chair: Sten Hagberg

Monday 2 May‐Wednesday 4 May

Workshop with two nights in Uppsala.
Case studies on Democracy and Public Engagement
Sten Hagberg and other Uppsala colleagues

Tuesday 31 May, 13.00‐17.00

Final seminar at Uppsala University with video conference.
Presentation and Discussion of Student Papers
Sten Hagberg