1 PhD position | The Ethics of Exchange



July 1, 2021


The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the leading centres for research in social anthropology. Common to all research projects at the 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.

Department ‘Law & Anthropology' at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is offering 1 PhD position (September 2021 – to be confirmed).

The position is offered within the Minerva Research Group The Ethics of Exchange which will focus on how the law's boundaries are shaped in decision-making processes in organ donation and transplantation.

Project Description

The Ethics of Exchange: the regulation of Organ Donation and Transplantation is an exciting new research project led by Dr. Farrah Raza. The project will fill in a gap in the scholarship by conducting a novel study of decision- making processes by carrying out an investigation of the ‘middle layers' of decision-making. It will do this by combining two key workstreams. The first workstream will assess the regulation and decision-making processes in Organ Donation and Transplantation in the relevant case study countries. The notion of decision-making is understood broadly to include a range of practices, forums and actors. The second workstream is concerned with religion and culture, and in particular, the existence of pluralism in practice.

Essential Duties & Responsibilities

The essential duty of the PhD student will be to develop, write and submit a PhD dissertation on a subject of relevance to the Research Group. This should include a doctrinal comparison of the legal frameworks on organ donation and transplantation in select case study countries. The selection of case study countries should include between three to five jurisdictions and at least either the UK and/or Germany. The PhD student will be encouraged to develop his/her own project in collaboration with the Project Leader in order to achieve a coherent and comparative approach to the research questions. The PhD student will be expected to contribute to project outputs such as publications and conferences.

Your Profile

Applicants should hold an advanced degree in Law. Excellent academic writing and communication skills in English are essential. Prior experience in the designated region and knowledge of additional relevant local languages are desirable. Brief research proposals (maximum 2 pages) should be attached; successful applicants are expected to be ready to modify details of their proposal when the research group is consolidated. The research proposal should outline how the proposed topic fits within either one or both of the workstreams.

Our Offer

The PhD positions are awarded for three years, with the possibility of two six-month extensions. Employment will be on a full-time contractual basis. The workplace is Halle/Saale (Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany).

The Max-Planck Society is committed to increasing the number of individuals with disabilities in its workforce and therefore encourages applications from such qualified individuals. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society strives to ensure gender equality and diversity. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society seeks to increase the number of women in those areas where they are underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourages women to apply.


Please submit your application electronically by 1 July 2021 following the link for vacancies on our homepage (under ‘Career'), or by going directly to the online application form using the link below.

Applicants should send the following documentation:

  • cover letter
  • CV including a list of publications
  • two-page summary of the proposed research, which should demonstrate clear links to the applicant's previous work and qualifications and to the respective research field
  • copies of university degrees
  • names of two or three referees whom we may contact
  • Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology Personnel Administration Janka Diallo (jdiallo@eth.mpg.de)

    Informal enquiries concerning the position may be directed to Dr. Farrah Raza.

    We look forward to receiving your completed online application.

    Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute is available on our website.

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