DPhil, Social and Cultural Anthropology
St Hugh's College
Thesis: Homo Europaeus: European identities and imaginaries in the EU civil service
Research: My current research concerns the varieties of institutional life within the European Commission and the life histories, identities, and belongings of those who work within it. Drawing upon ethnographic fieldwork among EU civil servants in Brussels, it seeks to shed light upon identity formation and understandings of culture and nationality within the institution, as well as how the interplay between its political and administrative dimensions are negotiated on a daily basis. How do EU officials understand their roles? What can be said of a prevailing institutional ethos? How does European-ness manifest itself in the lives of civil servants at work and at home?
The project aims to contribute an empirical focus to the study of individual civil servants in order to understand how they perceive their roles as EU officials and what these insights reveal about what it might mean to be a 'European' in the twenty-first century. In doing so, it hopes to answer the call for more contributions from the social sciences in confronting the difficult questions concerning the institutions of the European Union and the future of the EU project.
Other research interests: modernity, identity, bureaucracy, nationalism, migration, the history of anthropology, theories of culture in the social sciences.