The International Max Planck Research School on Retaliation, Mediation, Punishment (IMPRS-REMEP) is a cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg, the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, and the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle.

The latter is offering:

Openings for PhD positions
starting 1st of October 2017

The projects of this cohort of the IMPRS REMEP at the MPI for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale) will be devoted to the topic of

Technicisation of exclusionary practices in the context of migration

The EU is externalising its borders into the Mediterranean and far beyond by creating laws and regulations for military interventions, by providing for refugee camps in Sudan and elsewhere, and by regulating the activities of NGO ships engaged in saving mobile populations. With an African policy that focuses on incentives, and on financial and technological assistance to canalize migration patterns, the EU shifts questions of integration and identity from local negotiation processes within the member states to its expanded borders, and to the realm of laws, technologies and media.This call invites project proposals looking at topics such as the usage of technological securitisation, biometric data policies, and technologies of humanitarian intervention among refugee populations in relation to European law and EU politics in Africa and along its borders. Candidates’ projects should look empirically at exclusionary practices in the context of migration, focusing on the impact of technologies and on the criminalisation of migration and European legal provisions. This could include, for example, database development, technological securitisation of borders, or biometric registration in refugee camps; or maritime research in the Mediterranean on and about NGO, military and governmental ships, as well as boats used by human traffickers. The topics outlined above should be analysed from an anthropological, legal, discursive, and technological perspective. Applicants are expected to develop their research questions independently, and to specify those in their proposal. Proposals with a comparative perspective and/or an inter-disciplinary approach will be considered with priority.

Our Offer

The International Max Planck Research School Retaliation, Mediation and Punishment is accepting applications for PhD positions for a period of three years, with a possible extension of one year. The program supports language refinement, in case needed for data collection, and we expect our PhD students to complete a one year period of fieldwork as part of their studies. The workplace is Halle/Saale (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany).

They will participate in the training program offered by the IMPRS-REMEP. The interdisciplinary curriculum further requires participation in several joint seminars to be conducted together with the doctoral students who are affiliated with the IMPRS-REMEP partner institutes in Freiburg i.Br. and Frankfurt/Main. During these seminars, all students shall achieve cross-disciplinary knowledge in order to develop a common understanding of the overall REMEP research agenda and to be able to mutually understand and discuss their doctoral theses from the perspectives of all relevant disciplines. Working language of the training program and the dissertation is English. The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology and the Martin Luther University Halle/Wittenberg take responsibility for the scientific supervision of the doctoral students work. Cross-disciplinary dissertation projects may be co-supervised by a member of the academic staff from a partner institute.

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 offers the framework to discuss anthropological theory and political topicality.

The IMPRS-REMEP seeks to reach a composition of at least 50 percent foreign doctoral students. Thus, students trained abroad are explicitly encouraged to apply. Recognition of equivalence of degrees obtained outside of Germany is to be determined by the doctoral committee of the Faculty of Philosophy I of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg.

The Max Planck Society strives to employ more persons with disabilities and explicitly encourages applications. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society is committed to raising the proportion of women in underrepresented fields; we thus explicitly encourage applications by women.

Your Profile
  1. Completion of a university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) at a German university or completion at an equivalent university abroad in social anthropology; or sociology, law, or a similar social sciences’ discipline with a genuine interest in empirical research that draws on social anthropology
  2. Solid proficiency in the English language; and willingness to learn German and any languages necessary for the research project. Preference will be given to applicants with prior knowledge of their research languages.

Please submit your application electronically by September 1st, 2017 following the link for vacancies on our homepage (link also below).

Applicants should send the following documentation:

  1. Signed cover letter listing your aims and reasons for pursuing your doctorate at the IMPRS REMEP
  2. Curriculum vitae in the European Curriculum Vitae format (, including list of publications
  3. Proposal for a research topic (3-5 pages), preferably in English, which should demonstrate clear links both to the applicant’s previous work and qualifications as well as to the relevance of the proposed topic in the context of the cohort’s research agenda. It should include the state of preparation, probable links to other disciplines, methodology, and a proposed timeline.
  4. Copies of all relevant degree certificates and official transcripts of all academic records (B.A. and M.A.). If issued in a language other than English, or German, please include translations. Presentation of officially authenticated copies of the original certificates etc., is only necessary once a decision has been made to admission.
  5. Names and contact details of two referees, whom we may contact.

Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Personnel Administration
Nadine Wagenbrett (

Informal enquiries concerning the positions may be directed to the Coordinator Timm Sureau (

Have we awoken your interest?

We look forward to receiving your completed online application.