Julia Eckert

Julia Eckert

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
Professorfor Political Anthropology
University affiliation
University of Bern


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 (2016) "Does Evidence matter?" in Allegra Lab: Anthropology, Law, Art, World.
  • 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 (2014) "Practice Movements: The Politics of Non-sovereign Power." in The Oxford Handbook of Social Movements, 567-577 , edited by Donatella Della Porta and Mario Diani. 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, 225-236 , edited by Sean Donlan and Lukas Heckendorn. Farnham: Ashgate.
  • Eckert, Julia (2014) "Preventive laws and the policing of the urban poor." in The persistence of poverty in India, 291-316 , edited by Nandini Gooptu and Jonathan Parry. New Delhi: Social Science Press.
  • Eckert, Julia, Brian Donahoe, Christian Strümpell, and Zerrin Ozlem Biner (2012) "Law against the State: Ethnographic Foray’s into Law’s Transformations." Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.