Maja Petrović-Šteger

Social Anthropology, Ljubljana
Fellowship: 01.09.2015–29.02.2016



Social Anthropologist with a long term research experience in the former Yugoslavia, Tasmania, Switzerland, specialising in the issues pertaining to anthropology of conflict, anthropology of body, medical anthropology and anthropology of law.

Over the past 12 years I have been exploring various contexts where bodies – whether living, dead, or in the form of medically usable remains – become the sites of political, legal, scientific and artistic attention. Currently I examine military and psychological concerns with mental hygiene and neuro-security in contemporary Serbia. At present I am a Research Fellow the Research Centre of Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts. I have lectured and taught various subjects (the Anthropology of Europe, Anthropology of Law, Symbolic Anthropology, the Anthropology of Death, Medical Anthropology) at the University of Cambridge and University of Ljubljana.


Fields of Research

  • Anthropology of death
  • Anthropology of the body
  • Medical anthropology
  • Anthropology of postconflict
  • Neuroanthropology
  • Mental health
  • Water
  • Paths
  • Serbia
  • Tasmania


Project outline

Intimate Figurations: Mind, Body and Soul in Contemporary Serbia


This proposal is rooted in my longstanding anthropological projects to create a detailed, meaningful and alternative portrait of contemporary Serbia – through paying attention to the modes how contemporary Serbs think about their bodily and mind health. Based on ethnographic fieldwork conducted from 2003 onwards I am proposing to image through writing a portrait of a society ridden with images of death, wars, exhaustion, hopes, witnessing, denial, creativity, desires, fears. The book that would come out of this writing project would explore the scenes and processes, narratives and practices in which subjects desire conditions, political and intimate futures that would help them deal with their past and expected future. My analytical attention will be given over to the moral and political discourses that discuss in what particular ways do certain ideas and imaginaries of the self and society align people to the world. It would also be given to the intimate and everyday dimension of various autopoetical and compositional practices of self-making and self-understanding. The work will cleave to people’s self-conceptions in their intimate, everyday dimension. My anthropological representation would amount then to a reconceptualising of personal and social biographies and portraits as vehicles of communication—that is, as cultural and theoretical practice.


Publications (Selection)


  • 2013: Claiming the Aboriginal Body in Tasmania. An Anthropological Study of Repatriation and Redress. Ljubljana: ZRC.
  • 2011: Recasting Anthropological Knowledge: Inspiration and Social Science.  Edited by Edwards Jeanette and Maja Petrović-Šteger. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.


Book Chapters

  • 2015: »Passing and Healing in Contemporary Serbia: Understanding Self-care in a Postconflict Society.« In Materiality of Death and Time. Eds. Anders Emil Rassmusen, Tim Flohr Sørensen and Peter Bjerregaard. Ashgate.
  • 2013: »Marilyn Strathern,« In SAGE Encyclopeadia, Theory in Social and Cultural Anthropology. Eds. R. Jon McGee in Richard L. Warms. SAGE.
  • 2013: »Parasecurity and Paratime in Serbia: Neocortical Defence and National Consciousness,« In Times of Security: Ethnographies of Fear, Protest and the Future. Eds. Pedersen Morten Axel and Martin Holbraad, 141–162. London: Routledge.
  • 2011: »Spools, loops and traces: on etoy encapsulation and three portraits of Marilyn Strathern,« In Recasting Anthropological Knowledge: Inspiration and Social Science. Eds. Edwards Jeanette and Maja Petrović-Šteger, 145–164. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • 2011: »Introduction: On recombinant knowledge and debts that inspire,« with Edwards J., In Recasting Anthropological Knowledge: Inspiration and Social Science. Eds. Edwards Jeanette and Maja Petrović-Šteger, 1–18. Cambridge: CUP.
  • 2009: »Anatomising Conflict – Accommodating Human Remains,« In Social Bodies. Eds. Maryon McDonald and Lambert Helen, 47–76. London: Berghahn.        


Journal articles

  • 2012: »Mobile Sepulchre and Interactive Formats of Memorialisation: On Funeral and Mourning Practices in Digital Art,« In Journeys, 13(2): 71–89.
  • 2005: »Producing Bodies - Reproducing Persons: Thinking Human Remains in Postconflict Serbia,« In Cambridge Anthropology 2005/2006, XXV(3): 61–71.
  • 2003: »The Practices of Justice and Understandings of Truth: Truth and Reconciliation Commissions,« In Eurozine. Available at: