Julia Eckert

Julia EckertNetwork Member

Julia Eckert is Professor for Social Anthropology at the University of Bern. In her current research she explores the emergence of transnational legal norms with a particular focus on changing institutions of responsibility and liability. She connects these with current contestations over democratic representation and participation, security and citizenship. Earlier she worked on the rise and practice of Hindu-nationalist movements in India, and on the police in Bombay focusing on everyday conflicts over norms of justice, citizenship and authority. Other than India, she has conducted research in Uzbekistan and Afghanistan, and Switzerland. Before joining the University of Bern, she was head of the research group ‘Law against the State’ at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale which examined the juridification of protest and the transnationalisation of legal norms. She was a researcher at the German Institute for International Pedagogical Research, Frankfurt am Main, and lecturer at the Humboldt University, Berlin and the Free University of Berlin from where she holds a PhD. She was fellow at the Department for Anthropology of the London School of Economics (2002-2003), the Robert Shuman Centre of the European University Institute (2007-2008) and the Kulturwissenschaftliches Kolleg Konstanz (2014-2015).

Current position
Professor for Political Anthropology
University affiliation
University of Bern


Responsibility in an Entangled World

In my current research I explore the temporal and spatial dimensions of conflicting narratives of responsibility. I focus on two fields: Firstly, I examine legal notions such as aiding and abetting, complicity or non-assistance in different legal fields, particularly anti-terrorism legislation on the one hand, and corporate criminal law on the other, exploring the diverse narratives of mediate and immediate causality mobilised therein; I thereby want to elucidate transformations of institutional recognitions of ‘connection’ and the evidentiary narratives that support these. Secondly, I explore how civic acts of helping articulating moral notions of responsibility transforms conceptualisations and institutions of a common weal. With these complementary approaches I explore the contestations of conceptualisations and delineations of our polities.


  • Eckert, Julia (ed.) (2020) "The Bureaucratic Production of Difference: Ethos and Ethics in Migration Administrations." Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Eckert, Julia and Laura Knöpfel (eds.) (2020) "Corporate Responsibility (Special Issue)." in Journal of Legal Anthropology 4 (2).
  • Eckert, Julia and Laura Knöpfel (2020) "Legal responsibility in an entangled world." in Journal of Legal anthropology 4 (2): 1-16.
  • Eckert, Julia (2020) "Beihilfe: Mittelbare Verantwortung in einer Verflochtenen Welt." in Entgrenzte Verantwortung: Zur Reichweite und Regulierung von Verantwortung in Wirtschaft, Medien, Technik und Umwelt , edited by Anja Seibert-Fohr, 73-89. Berlin: Springer.
  • Eckert, Julia (2020) "The Office: Ethos and Ethics in Migration Bureaucracies." in The Bureaucratic Production of Difference: Ethos and Ethics in Migration Administrations , edited by Julia Eckert, 7-26. Bielefeld: Transcript.
  • Eckert, Julia (2019) "Durkheim in World Society: Roger Cotterrell’s Concept of Transnational Law." in Ratio Juris 32 (4): 498-508.
  • Eckert, Julia (2019) "The Solidarity of Concern." in Anthropological Theory Commons.http://www.at-commons.com/2019/12/17/the-solidarity-of-concern/
  • Stoica, Georgeta, Julia Eckert, Katharina Bodirsky and Dan V. Hirslund (2019) "Precarity without borders: Visions of hope, shared responsibilities and possible responses." in Social Anthropology, Special Issue on Politics of precarity: Neoliberal academia under austerity measures and authoritarian threat 27 (S2): 78-96 , edited by Sabine Strasser, Georgeta Stoica and David Loher.
  • Eckert, Julia (2018) "The Morals of Liability: Some Thoughts on 'Humanitarians in Court'." in The Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 50 (3): 375-378.
  • Eckert, Julia (2016) "Does Evidence matter?" in Allegra Lab: Anthropology for Radical Optimism.https://allegralaboratory.net/does-evidence-matter/
  • Eckert, Julia (2016) "Tugend, Recht und Moral: Tendenzen der Verantwortungszuschreibung." in Deutsche Zeitschrift für Philosophie 64 (2): 246-257. → https://doi.org/10.1515/dzph-2016-0018
  • Eckert, Julia (2016) "Beyond Agatha Christie: Relationality and critique in anthropological theory." in Anthropological Theory 16 (2-3): 241-248. → https://doi.org/10.1177/1463499616662574
  • Eckert, Julia (2015) "Tugendethik und Verantwortung: Eine Sozialanthropologische Perspektive." in Anthropologie und Ethik , edited by Jan-Christoph Heilinger and Julian Nida-Rümelin. Berlin: De Gruyter.
  • Eckert, Julia (2015) "Gerüchte vom Recht." in Gerüchte vom Recht , edited by Dieter Grimm, Alexandra Kemmerer and Christoph Möllers, 227-246. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft.
  • Eckert, Julia (2014) "Practice Movements: The Politics of Non-sovereign Power." in The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements , edited by Donatella Della Porta and Mario Diani, 567-577. Oxford; London: Oxford University Press. → http://www.oxfordhandbooks.com/view/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199678402.001.0001/oxfordhb-9780199678402-e-46
  • Eckert, Julia (2014) "What is the Context in Law in Context?" in Concepts of law: Comparative, jurisprudential, and social science perspectives , edited by Sean Donlan and Lukas Heckendorn, 225-236. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Eckert, Julia (2014) "Preventive laws and the policing of the urban poor." in The persistence of poverty in India , edited by Nandini Gooptu and Jonathan Parry, 291-316. New Delhi: Social Science Press.
  • Eckert, Julia (2014) "Die Geburt der Ethnologie aus dem Geist der Tragödie." in Allegra Lab: Anthropology for Radical Optimism.https://allegralaboratory.net/die-geburt-der-ethnologie-aus-dem-geist-der-tragodie/
  • Eckert, Julia (2013) "Who is Afraid of Legal Transfers?" in Order from Transfer: Comparative Constitutional Design and Legal Culture , edited by Günter Frankenberg, 171-188. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Eckert, Julia, Brian Donahoe, Christian Strümpell, and Zerrin Ozlem Biner (eds.) (2012) "Law against the State: Ethnographic Forays into Law's Transformations." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Eckert, Julia (2012) "Theories of Militancy in Practice: Explanations of Muslim Terrorism in India." in Social Science History, Special Section: Cultures of Radicalization: Discourses and Practices of Political Violence and Terrorism 36 (3): 321-345.
  • Eckert, Julia, Zerrin Özlem Biner, Brian Donahoe, and Christian Strümpell (2012) "Introduction: Law’s Travels and Transformations." in Law against the State: Ethnographic Forays into Law's Transformations , edited by Julia Eckert, Brian Donahoe, Christian Strümpell, Zerrin Özlem Biner, 1-22. Cambridge
  • Eckert, Julia (2012) "Rumours of Rights." in Law against the State Ethnographic Forays into Law's Transformations , edited by Julia Eckert, Brian Donahoe, Christian Strümpell, Zerrin Özlem Biner, 147-170. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Eckert, Julia, Andrea Behrends, and Andreas Dafinger. (2012) "Governance - and the State: An Anthropological Approach." in Ethnoscripts 14 (1): 14-34.
  • Eckert, Julia (ed.) (2011) "Subjects of Citizenship." in Citizenship Studies (Special Issue) 15 (3).
  • Eckert, Julia (2011) "Subjects of Citizenship." in Citizenship Studies 15 (3-4): 309-317.
  • Benda-Beckmann, Franz von, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann and Julia Eckert (eds.) (2009) "Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling: On the governance of law." Aldershot: Ashgate.
  • Benda-Beckmann, Franz von, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann and Julia Eckert (2009) "Introduction: Law and governance between past and future." in Rules of Law and Laws of Ruling: On the governance of law , edited by Franz von Benda-Beckmann, Keebet von Benda-Beckmann and Julia Eckert, 1-30. Aldershot: Ashgate.