Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology University of Zurich


Judith Beyer, Prof. Dr.

Juniorprofessor for Ethnology and Political Anthropology (tenure track), Department of History and Sociology, University of Konstanz


Politik- und Rechtsethnologie, Rechtspluralismus, Ethnologie des Staates, Verfassungspolitik. Religionsethnologie, Ethnomethodologie, oral history


Kirgistan, Myanmar (Südostasien)

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C. V.

Since October 2014, Judith Beyer is Juniorprofessor of Anthropology at the University of Konstanz, Germany. Before, she held a lecturer position at the Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg. Until 2010 she was a research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology at the Department ‘Law & Anthropology’. In her doctoral dissertation, which she defended in December 2009 at the Martin Luther University Halle/Wittenberg, she investigates the phenomenon of legal ‘customization’. Customization allows people in Kyrgyzstan to order their own and others’ lives by perceiving novel cultural forms as their own. Through practices of customization, they manage to position their customary law (Kyrgyz. salt) as the dominant legal order against state law, Islamic law and transnational legal norms in the context of post-socialist transformation.  

Judith Beyer has published on constitutional politics, the state, authority, conceptions of descent and place as well as social security. Her articles have appeared in Ethnos: Journal of AnthropologyCentral Asian Survey, and the Journal of Legal Pluralism. Her monograph According to customary law. Legal pluralism and the ordering of everyday life in Kyrgyzstan is currently under external review for the University of Pittsburgh Press. She is co-editor of the newly published Ethnographies of the state in Central Asia. Performing politics (together with Madeleine Reeves and Johan Rasanayagam), Indiana University Press. Judith Beyer is a member of the Board of the European Society of Central Asian Studies (ESCAS) and International Scholar (Mentor) within the Central Asia and Caucasus Research and Training Initiative (CARTI) of the Open Society Foundations.


Tel.: +49 (7531) 88 50 36