Anthropology, University of Bayreuth, Germany

Fellowship : October 2017 to June 2018

Discipline(s) : Anthropology

Pays : Germany

Research project 1: Material culture of Kel Ewey Tuaregs

A Kel Ewey Tuareg owns 120 objects. What does this mean: poverty and drudgery or simple life and happiness? The aim is to write a book on the material culture of the Kel Ewey whilst at the IAS-Nantes.

Research project 2: A French translation of Anthropologie der Arbeit. Ein ethnographischer Vergleich (Springer, 2016)

Based on ethnographic case studies, this book aims at describing basic elements of work. Work should not be considered identical to industrial and post-industrial labour. It includes the work of hunters and gatherers, peasants and herders, as well as the work of housewives and children. In comparing all these forms of work with capitalistic labour, we should not characterise them as deficient or as dichotomies but as variants of work which can help us to understand better our own work forms.


Gerd Spittler was Professor of sociology in Fribourg (1980-88) before becoming Professor of anthropology in Bayreuth (1988-2004) where he founded and directed a doctoral school (Intercultural relations in Africa) and a centre for collaborative research, “Local action in Africa in the context of global influences”. Since 2014, he has been associate professor in the department of sociology and anthropology at Abdou Moumouni University in Niamey. He was a fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg and Wissenschaftszentrum in Berlin, at the international centre “Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History” (Humboldt University Berlin) and visiting professor under the Paul-Lazarsfeld program at the University of Vienna.

Major publications

SPITTLER, Gerd. Anthropologie der Arbeit. Ein ethnographischer Vergleich, Wiesbaden : Springer VS, 2016, 301p.

SPITTLER, Gerd. Founders of the Anthropology of Work. German Social Scientists of the 19th and Early 20th Centuries and the First Ethnographers, Berlin: Lit, 2008, 316p.

SPITTLER, Gerd. Hirtenarbeit. Die Welt der Kamelhirten und Ziegenhirtinnen von Timia, Köln: Rüdiger Köppe, 1998, 453p.

SPITTLER, Gerd. Les Touaregs face aux sécheresses et aux famines. Les Kel Ewey de l’Aïr (Niger), Paris: Karthala, 1993, 420p.

 SPITTLER, Gerd. Verwaltung in einem afrikanischen Bauernstaat. Das koloniale Französisch-Westafrika 1919-1939, Wiesbaden: Franz Steiner, 1981, 208p.