Erik Bähre, born in Geleen, the Netherlands, in 1969. Ph.D. from the University of Amsterdam. Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology at Leiden University.
Fellow (1 September 2011 – 30 June 2012)
RECONFIGURING SOCIALITY: COMMERCIAL INSURANCE, POVERTY, AND INTIMACY IN SOUTH AFRICA
The NIAS fellowship enabled me to make significant progress in my research on commercial insurance in South Africa. I was able to organize and analyze data (fieldwork notes, open interviews, survey material); carry out an online survey among South African actuaries; and make vital progress on the manuscript. It was very valuable to have the time to read on relevant theoretical approaches, particularly studies on bureaucracy, auditing processes, economic change, and risks. In addition, I worked on several papers and organized, together with the Institute of Cultural Anthropology and Development Sociology and Studium Generale at Leiden University a public seminar series entitled ‘The Financial Crisis in Historical and Global Perspective.’
The many conversations with the other NIAS Fellows could contribute to a more nuanced understanding of what anthropology is about, broadened my academic horizon, and allowed me to perceive my own work through the eyes of people working in very distinct scholarly fields.