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Nikolas Schall

Nikolas Schall
Address IRTG Diversity
University of Trier
DM 249
Phone +49 651 201 3320
E-Mail schall@uni-trier.de


Cosmopolitan Solidarity in Transnational Activist Networks: An Ethnography of the Production of Global Relations

(Supervisor: Michael Schönhuth, Trier)

My project explores the question of how collaborations or alliances in transnational social movements are produced. More specifically it asks how solidarity becomes possible despite historically constructed particular identities and different positions in the social space.

Situated in political anthropological transnational research, my dissertation investigates the production of cosmopolitan solidarity, i.e. solidarity which is not based on kinship, shared living space or living situations (Karakayali 2013). Following David Featherstone, I understand solidarity as a “transformative relationship” that constructs relations between places, activists and diverse social groups, and which also exists in unequal relationships and between differently positioned actors (Featherstone 2012).

My project focuses on the question of how difference - concerning culture, gender, religion, race etc. - is enacted and mediated in the process of producing solidarity.

Following Paul Rabinow’s approach of an “anthropology of the contemporary”, (collaborative) ethnographic methods will be used, concentrating on social practices. With Science and Technology Studies as well as Practice theory, I understand social practices as always embodied and entangled in the materiality of the world (Beck 2015). Therefore, I will combine two different research sites: The World Social Forum as well as a transnational virtual network, thereby analyzing solidarity produced in face-to-face interactions as well as mediated by digital virtual tools.


BECK, S., 2015. Von Praxistheorie 1.0 zu 3.0 – oder: wie analoge und digitale Praxen relationiert werden sollten. In Frankfurt am Main, pp. 1–16.

FEATHERSTONE, D., 2012. Solidarity: Hidden Histories and Geographies of Internationalism, London, New York: Zed Books.

KARAKAYALI, S., 2013. Kosmopolitische Solidarität. Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte 13-14/2013, 63(13-14), pp.21–26.

Current Activities

01/2019 - 08/2019
Parental leave (Elternzeit)


2010 - 2014
Master Studies of European Ethnology at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Master Thesis: Verflochtene Stoffe - Ethnographie einer globalen Assemblage (Supervisors: Prof. Dr. Regina Römhild, Dr. Manuela Bojadžijev)
2006 - 2010
Undergraduate Studies of Social and Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Literatur at Freie Universität Berlin
Bachelor Thesis: Diskursanalytische Reflexionen im entwicklungspolitischen Schulaustauschprogramm (Supervisor: Dr. Jeanne Berrenberg)
2008 - 2009
Erasmus Student at Université de la Réunion

Work Experience

04/2015 - 10/2015
Graduate teaching assistant/ Lecturer at Institute of European Ethnology, at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin for the course Introduction to cultural theory
2012 - 2013
Fieldwork in the North of Cameroon for Master Thesis
2011 - 2012
Participation in the M.A.-Project Berliner Routen der Migration Conception of the Public Exhibition at Oranienplatz: Zurückgeschaut und hingehört - Portraitfotos aus dem Archiv des Kreuzberg Museums
since 2011
Tutor and lead facilitator in Global Education Network of Young Europeans (GLEN), Facilitator of European workshops in global education / critical development policy
since 2011
Certified outdoor trainer / teamtrainer / ropes course instructor
06/2010 - 09/2010
Internship at Centre de Développement Endogène Saare in Maroua, Cameroon, Collaboration in the research project Les impacts des ONG dans la ville de Maroua

Awards and Fellowships

DAAD-Scholarship (PROMOS) for Master Thesis fieldwork
GIZ-Scholarship for internship at Centre de Développement Endogène Saare


a) Publications in refereed journals and book publications
(co-authored with Carminda Mac Lorin): "Acknowledging Strength in Plurality: The World Social Forum 2016 Through the Prism of Assemblage Thinking", in: Studies in Social Justice, 12(1), 56–74. https://doi.org/10.26522/ssj.v12i1.1583

Verflochtene Stoffe. Ethnographie einer globalen Assemblage (Berliner Abschlussarbeiten der europäischen Ethnologie, Band 1), 30.08.2017. https://doi.org/10.18452/17805

(co‐authored with Jonna Josties and Gabriel Stolz): “Die (Wieder‐)Entdeckung eines Fotoarchivs im Kontext von Migrationsgeschichte(n)”, in: Omer Adigüzel/Ute Handwerg/Gerd Koch (eds.), Theater und community ‐ kreativ gestalten! Deutsch‐Türkische Kooperationen in der Kulturellen Bildung (München: kopaed), 335‐344.

Conference Presentations

Entangled Cotton _ Informal Cotton Trade in the Chad-Bassin
Global Ethnography. Marketization in Everyday Life: Concepts, Methods, Ideas, Workshop at Universität Bremen, Bremen, 15-16/06/2018
Temporalities of the Political in the Context of the WSF 2016 and Canada 150
Europäisierung_Globalisierung: Ethnographien des Politischen, Workshop of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Volkskunde at Humboldt Universität, Berlin, 22-23/02/2018
The World Social Forum in Montreal as an Illustration of a Utopian Space - Understanding Social Complexity by Using the Concept of a "Global Assemblage"
Space, Mediation and Diversity Under the Global Condition, Collaborative Workshop (IRTG Diversity, Collaborative Research Centre (SFB 1199) “Processes of Spatialization Under the Global Condition”), Leipzig, 14-15/12/2016.
Creating Cosmopolitan Solidarity – An Ethnography of the Production of Global Collaborations
13th Graduate Student Conference of the Young Scholars' Forum of the Association for Canadian Studies in German-Speaking Countries, Wien, Österreich, 24-26/06/2016.
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