At the interface of private law, anthropology and empiricism Two open PhD positions in the research group “Cultural Diversity in Private Law” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology

The “Law & Anthropology” department at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale) is offering two doctoral positions from April 2024. The positions are assigned to the newly founded Max Planck Research Group of Dr. Mareike Schmidt and will work on the topic of “Cultural Diversity in Private Law”. Further information on the research group can be found here.

The project in which the doctoral students will write their theses is entitled “Contract Law’s Cultural Embeddedness” and examines the role of cultural diversity in core areas of private law. In particular, the group aims to understand the cultural embeddedness of the application of law and the way in which lawyers deal with their own and “foreign” notions of normality. The overarching goal is to contribute to the improvement of legal science and practice with regard to the inclusive application of private law in culturally plural societies.

In this context, the main task of the doctoral students is to develop, write and submit a dissertation on a topic relevant to the research group’s project. The Max Planck Institute offers an ideal scientific working environment for this, with positions awarded for three years (with the possibility of a 12-month extension) and full-time employment. The doctoral candidates will also be part of the Institute’s Graduate School, where they will benefit from an extensive education and training program as well as opportunities for intensive exchange with anthropologists.

If you have an academic degree in law in hand at the time of taking up the position and would like to conduct empirical research and familiarize yourself with the necessary methods and social science, you can apply here until 11 February 2024.

Further information on the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, the job profile and the necessary application documents can be found in the official job vacancy.

Informal inquiries about the positions can be directed to Dr. Mareike Schmidt ( at any time.

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Mareike Schmidt holds an assistant professorship in private law and legal education at the University of Hamburg. Her current research interests focus on cultural plurality in civil law and the evolution of law in the face of societal transformations (digitalisation/climate change), including legal research methods. She is also co-editor of the Zeitschrift für die Didaktik der Rechtswissenschaft (Journal for Legal Education, ZDRW).
Suggested Citation
Schmidt, At the interface of private law, anthropology and empiricism, LAW’S|EMPIRICS, 01/22/24