Department of
Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology

Sverker Finnström

associate professor, director of studies 2nd cycle

I am associate professor of cultural anthropology and the director of studies, advanced studies. I am also the chair of the Swedish Anthropological Association.

After studies and a PhD in cultural anthropology (2003, Uppsala University), and besides teaching at Uppsala University, I have worked at Gulu University (in periods, 2005-2007, teaching and research) and Stockholm University (2007-2009, mainly teaching and student supervision). From 2009 to 2012 I held a research position in political violence and genocide studies, the Hugo Valentin Centre, a multi-disciplinary centre of Uppsala University.

Starting from 1997, and with a focus on young adults coming of age in the shadows of civil war, I have conducted recurrent fieldwork in Acholiland, northern Uganda, where the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and other groups have been fighting the Ugandan government.

Yet my research is not restricted to this locality only. It is as global as the war it investigates. I currently investigate violent conflict in emerging global realities, with the aim to develop an analytical framework that can advance our understanding of the global travels of war, made manifest in life stories and lived experiences. Focusing on Africans (and Europeans) living in Europe and in Africa as well as in-between, I suggest that war is both global and embodied. This approach also indicates my more general interest in the possibilities and potentials for ethnographic writing, and hereby I reanalyze old questions about of victim and perpetrator; of impunity and justice; of centre vis-à-vis periphery and of peace and war in our times; and how peace and war are connected and even interdependent. The project, "Orientations between past and future: An anthropology of life threads, global war, and transnational (in-)justice", is financed by The Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation. Follow the link to read more.

I am the author of Living with Bad Surroundings: War, History, and Everyday Moments in Northern Uganda (Duke University Press, 2008), for which I received the distinguished Margaret Mead Award, offered jointly by the American Anthropological Association and the Society for Applied Anthropology. Click the book title to visit the publisher, or read direct, via eDuke, Google Books or Kindle (for your Kindle/PC/Android/iPhone/iPad/Mac).

With Neil L. Whitehead I have edited Virtual War and Magical Death: Technologies and Imaginaries for Terror and Killing (Duke University Press, 2013). Read or download our introduction via Scribd (open access).

For a complete list of my publications, go to the DiVA online database. Or, for my books, visit me on Amazon author.

For more information, including some of my publications in fulltext, and blog comments, updates, links, etc, please visit me on

Research keyterms: Displacement; globalisation; media, representation, and propaganda; war and peace; anthropology of violence; terror and counterinsurgency; international interventions; justice and injustice; cosmology and meaning.

Contact information
Sverker Finnström


Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology
Box 631
751 26 Uppsala

Visiting address

Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology
Engelska parken, Thunbergsv 3 H
751 26 Uppsala


+46 (0)18 4712248


+46 (0)18-471 7029


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