Thematic research clusters:

(Im)mobility/migration and borders

Already in the late 1970s, Edward Said spoke of a “generalised condition of homelessness” referring primarily to refugee and diaspora communities. Since then, patterns of (forced) mobility kept proliferating and diversifying, on the one hand giving rise to new forms of livelihoods, communities, modes of belonging and ideas of “home”, and altered states of citizenship and (restrictive) migration regimes on the other. We are interested in how patterns of (forced) migration and “being stuck” are embedded in particular histories and configurations, making mobility and crossing borders a self-understood part of life for some and a matter of impossibility and necessity for others. In our research, we are especially interested in: the interrelation of (im)mobility and inequality; everyday cultural dimensions of (forced) migration and border(land)s in Europe (and beyond); as well as mobile (trans)cultural formations and practices in a comparative perspective (e.g. (Intangible) Cultural Heritage, Comic Art), with a special focus on dance (e.g. Tango).

Inequality and redistribution

Europe faces a paradox. In a time of over-accumulation and unprecedented wealth, its distribution becomes more selective. This selectiveness takes specific forms in the contemporary conjuncture of neo-nationalism, productivism, and gender conservatism. Central to our study of this process is the question of who deserves what and why. Deservingness becomes a crucial driver of the creation, maintenance, and contestation of inequalities, through their moralization and culturalization. We aim to understand un/deservingness registers in their varieties, similarities, and contrasts in highly contested socio-economic fields (citizenship, redistribution, and gender regimes). Our interest in deservingness combines critical theories with ethnographic, comparative and genealogical research on the transformations of European societies (and beyond).



Building on the expanding field of Educational Anthropology, we are interested in education as both a core cultural practice and an area of social reproduction of (in)equalities. We are especially interested in how knowledge about cultural and socio-economic processes and transformations can be translated into different educational spheres (schools, teacher education, Business Universities, etc.) through cooperation and co-production of knowledge with educational practitioners and students. The dimension of digitalisation represents a critical focus and medium of collaboration.


Methodological approaches

We use Ethnography, Qualitative Research, Comparison, Historical and Applied Anthropology Methods to understand cultural and socio-economic transformations from a diachronic perspective and produce knowledge of relevance to practitioners (e.g. pedagogues, social workers, policymakers).


Regional Focus

We focus on Europe (primarily: EU/Western Europe, Central Europe, Southeastern Europe and the Mediterranean) as a configuration of unequal regions and shifting borders and as an epistemological location of (self)critical knowledge production.

Jelena Tosic

Prof. Dr. PD

Assistant Professor

Büro 51-6038
Unterer Graben 21
9000 St. Gallen