What is CAEE

Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology (CAEE) is a discipline that employs the approaches of the social sciences as well as the humanities in order to study everyday forms of life in European societies. It asks about the workings of these forms of life, their histories and the conditions of their institutionalization, how they are changing, and how they relate to the symbolic orders, conflicts, politics and development of the future. A central question is how people engage with processes of transformation, including globalization, digitalization, and migration, and how people contribute to the reshaping of these processes – in the present as well as the past. Our department in Goettingen, with its wide teaching and research scope, presents one of the largest university centres for cultural anthropology in the German-speaking area.

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CAEE researches cultural forms and practices, as well as institutions, groups, milieus and scenes as dynamic phenomena which continually change. In contrast to many other fields, CAEE approaches its research subjects as partners on an equal footing, particularly through its research methods such as participant observation, qualitative interviews, and micro-historical archival study. It continually reflects the effects that arise as the result of social proximity and/or distance between the researchers and their research fields. Our discipline defines ‘culture’ in a broad, overarching sense rather than focussing on so-called ‘elite’ or ‘high’ culture.

The everyday worlds that surround us are the primary topic of concern for CAEE. They are always locally situated, but also shaped by transnational and global processes. The adjective “European” in the name of the discipline points to an interest in different European regions – and in Europeanization processes. However, it should be noted that we do not offer a comparative study of European cultures. Our discipline is closely related to history, sociology, literary and media studies, cultural musicology, religious studies, gender studies, and ethnology.


In addition to the introductory courses (Introduction to CAEE, Theories of Culture, Fieldwork Methods, Cultural-Historical Methods), the focus of our teaching is primarily in the following fields:

  • Forms and rituals of everyday life – looking at work, leisure, housing, mobility, clothes, body, health and illness, among other things
  • Communication and narration
  • Pop-culture / popular culture
  • Migration and border regimes
  • Racism and postcolonial perspectives
  • Cultural-social inequality
  • Gender studies
  • Ethnographic film and visual culture
  • Digital cultures
  • Material cultures and techniques
  • Forms of politics and the political
  • Europeanization
  • Valorization of culture and cultural property
  • Urban and spatial research
  • Museology and museums

    Employment prospects

    A degree in cultural anthropology/European ethnology qualifies graduates for work in different areas, rather than for a specific type of a job.
    Studying CAEE is characterized by a combination of empirical (i.e. based on research in the field) and theoretical approaches and qualifications. This prepares students to analyse cultural and political aspects of everyday processes, and encourages critical reflection of their own positionality. Learning about diverse thematic fields during the course of studies offers a strong foundation for different subsequent occupations.
    Practical work experience in Germany and abroad is an integral part of the B.A program. It offers a possibility to obtain first professional experiences in accordance with students’ personal interests in the form of a practicum/internship and also includes exposure in course work to different practitioners in diverse employment settings.
    Graduates of CAEE work in museums, print and online media, documentary filmmaking, universities and research institutes, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), foundations, public relations firms, the publishing industry, cultural management, policy and administration institutions, market research and advertising, as well as in film, theatre, and literature.

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    For future students

    Screenshot_VSOHere you can find the multimedia virtual study-orientation in which our faculty, students, and graduates present the CAEE degree course.