Nachricht vom

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the leading centres for research in social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality.
Our newly founded International Max Planck Research School “Global Multiplicity: A Social Anthropology for the Now”, a cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Leipzig University, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, and FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, is offering 2 Positions for PhD students.

Engaging with multiplicity is essential for understanding 21st-century social worlds, which are invariably constituted through the interaction of multiple social realities, lifeworlds, world views, approaches to future-making, and forms of knowledge (making). All the major problems that the world faces today have multiple dimensions, intersect with other problems, and have to be addressed through multifaceted measures, thus necessitating the development of appropriate conceptual tools. This graduate school will train the next generation of researchers to deal with such multiplicity. By bringing together scholars working in anthropology, or with anthropological methods and approaches, the school will provide much-needed synergy in the study of key contemporary challenges, including climate change, the digital revolution, the crises of modernities, and questions of justice and equality. Each position will be based at one of the participating institutions:
MPI for Social Anthropology, Leipzig University, MLU Halle-Wittenberg, and FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities
In this round, the MPI would like to fill the following positions:

2 positions, Constructing Urban Futures in Asia (supervisor: Christoph Brumann): South, Southeast and East Asian cities are currently being swept by an unprecedented building boom that is remaking their political economies and social fabric. The research group will put an ethnographic focus on the professional experience of architects, planners, engineers, real estate agents, conservationists, and other specialists involved in this momentous transformation (For more details, see:

Your Profile
You have completed a master’s degree or equivalent at a German university or an equivalent international university, either in social anthropology or a closely related discipline. You have a genuine interest in empirical research that draws on the theories and methods of social anthropology.
You are proficient in English and speak, or are willing to learn, the languages required for your research project.

Our Offer

The PhD positions are to start between October and December 2023. They are awarded for three years, with the possibility of a one-year extension. Employment will be on a full-time contractual basis. The IMPRS offers ideal conditions for PhD supervision and training with experienced professors. Moreover, it offers a rich curriculum of seminars, workshops, training courses and summer schools in a stimulating academic environment, involving a broad range of international partners. Prolonged periods of ethnographic fieldwork and/or archival research are expected and will be supported by adequate funds.
The workplace is Halle (Saale). The MPI offers a job ticket, company health management and childcare services in cooperation with local daycare centers.
The Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in science; we thus explicitly encourage applications from female researchers. Individuals with disabilities will be given priority, assuming equal qualifications.

Please submit your application electronically by 15 September 2023 following the link for vacancies on the MPI homepage (, or by going directly to the online application form using the link below.
Your application should include the following documents:

  • Signed cover letter explaining your interest in and suitability for the IMPRS, identifying the specific position(s) you are interested in
  • If you have no prior training in anthropology, please submit an additional statement (max. 500 words) addressing your interest in the research school
  • Curriculum vitae including a list of publications
  • Three-page proposal for a dissertation project, including details about the state of preparation, methodology, and a possible timeline 
  • Writing sample (publication or chapter from your MA thesis)
  • Copies of all relevant degree certificates and academic transcripts from both the bachelor’s and master’s level
  • Names and contact details of two referees

For any questions, please contact Dr. Patrick Desplat (desplat(at) and the aforementioned supervisor.

If you have further questions regarding the application procedure, please contact:
MPI, Ms. Carolin Klevenow (Human Resources Officer), Email: klevenow(at)

We look forward to receiving your completed online application.