The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in socio-cultural anthropology. It was established in 1999 by Chris Hann and Günther Schlee, and moved to its permanent buildings on Advokatenweg 36 in Halle/Saale in 2001. Marie-Claire Foblets joined the Institute as its third Director in 2012.
Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programmes also have applied significance and political topicality. Fieldwork is an essential part of almost all projects.
More than 175 researchers work at the Institute, the great majority in one of its three Departments: ‘Law & Anthropology’ (Foblets); ‘Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia’ (Hann); ‘Integration and Conflict’ (Schlee).
The Institute’s Library, the Research Coordination Unit, the IT Department and administrative staff assist the researchers in their work. The Institute has its own Guesthouse, and organises regular seminars and international conferences. It cooperates closely with anthropologists and other colleagues at the Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, and at the University of Leipzig: