Lecturer and postdoctoral researcher at the GSOSES, Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies, University of Regensburg, Germany

Email: carna.brkovic[at]ur.de

Office: Landshuter Str. 4, 93047 Regensburg, Germany



I hold a PhD in Social Anthropology from the University of Manchester. My research has been published in Anthropological Theory, Social Anthropology, and Ethnos, among other journals.


I have published two books: an ethnographic monograph Managing Ambiguity (2017, Berghahn) and an edited volume Negotiating Social Relations in Bosnia and Herzegovina (2016, Routledge, with Stef Jansen and Vanja Celebicic).


My work looks at the emerging modalities of power in contemporary politics of survival and wellbeing in southeastern Europe, ethnographically focusing on three dimensions.

I explore how people help one another – in what way, on what grounds, and to what socio-political effect. I am particularly interested in the intersections between social justice and humanitarianism, as well as in links between solidarity, morality, and publics. I have published extensively on the grassroots, small-scale, vernacular forms of humanitarianism in former Yugoslav countries.

I also research how ambiguity becomes productive of certain forms of power, especially when it is entangled with the new policies about national and European citizenship, and with clientelist practices.

Finally, I trace epistemological possibilities, differences, and similarities that have opened up in knowledge production on the Balkans in Eastern European ethnologies and Anglo-Saxon anthropologies.


In my work, (South) Eastern Europe figures as a region that poses unexpected theoretical challenges to conventional directions of anthropological analysis. I am deeply critical of hegemonic visions of the region as a poor copyist of theory produced elsewhere – in the former colonial centres, or peripheries. To counteract such visions, I strive to test and develop new concepts that reflect ethnographic realities of the region, but also help understand socio-political entanglements throughout the globe.


Research Interests:

  • anthropology of humanitarianism, borders, refugee camps
  • clientelism, favors, the gift
  • nationalism, the state, policy
  • activism, engagement, citizenship
  • histories of ethnology and anthropology
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Europe