Ethnographic research

2022 ethnographic fieldwork for the research project "Separation and Annulment of Marriages and the Transformation of Kin Networks in the Philippines" in the context of the research project "De-Kinning and Re-kinning? Estrangement, Divorce, Adoption and the Transformation of Kin Networks" funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), research team: Bettina Beer, Nora Lipp, Laura Preissler.

Recently Published

Bettina Beer und Tobias Schwoerer (Hg.), 2022:
Capital and Inequality in Rural Papua New Guinea.
(Asia-Pacific Environment Monograph 16). Canberra: ANU Press.

That large-scale capital drives inequality in states like Papua New Guinea is clear enough; how it does so is less clear. This edited collection presents studies of the local contexts of capital-intensive projects in the mining, oil and gas, and agro-industry sectors in rural and semi-rural parts of Papua New Guinea; it asks what is involved when large-scale capital and its agents begin to become significant nodes in hitherto more local social networks. Its contributors describe the processes initiated by the (planned) presence of extractive industries that tend to reinforce already existing inequalities, or to create and socially entrench novel inequalities.
The studies largely focus on the beginnings of such transformations, when hopes for social improvement are highest and economic inequalities still incipient. They show how those hopes, and the encompassing socio-political transformations characteristic of this phase, act to produce far-reaching impacts on ways of life, setting precedents for and embedding the social distribution of gains and losses. The chapters address a range of settings: the PNG Liquid Natural Gas pipeline; newly established eucalyptus and oil palm plantations; a planned copper-gold mine; and one in which rumours of development diffuse through a rural social network as yet unaffected by any actual or planned capital investments. The analyses all demonstrate that questions around land, leadership and information are central to the current and future social profile of local inequality in all its facets.

Recently Published

Hans Fischer und Bettina Beer, 2021:
Wampar–English Dictionary
With an English–Wampar finder list.
Asia-Pacific Linguistics. ANU Press, Canberra.

This ethnographic dictionary is the result of Hans Fischer’s long-term fieldwork among the Wampar, who occupy the middle Markham Valley in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Their language, Dzob Wampar, belongs to the Markham family of the Austronesian languages. Today most Wampar speak not only Wampar but also PNG’s lingua franca, Tok Pisin. Six decades of Wampar research has documented the extent and speed of change in the region. Today, mining, migration and the commodification of land are accelerating the pace of change in Wampar communities, resulting in great individual differences in knowledge of the vernacular. This dictionary covers largely forgotten Wampar expressions as well as loanwords from German and Jabêm that have become part of everyday language. Most entries contain example sentences from original Wampar texts. The dictionary is complemented by an overview of ethnographic research among Wampar, a sketch of Wampar grammar, a bibliography and an English-to-Wampar finder list.

Recently Published

Bettina Beer und Anika König (Hg.), 2020:
Methoden ethnologischer Feldforschung.
3. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Reimer Verlag, Berlin.

Field Research

2017 Fieldwork for the research project "International capital and local inequality: A longitudinal ethnography of the Wampar (Papua New Guinea) under the impact of two large projects (a copper-gold mine and a timber biomass energy plant)" starts, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), research team: Doris Bacalzo, Bettina Beer, Willem Church.

Recently Published

Bettina Beer, Hans Fischer und Julia Pauli (Hg.), 2017:
Ethnologie. Einführung in die Erforschung kultureller Vielfalt.
9. erweiterte und aktualisierte Auflage. Reimer Verlag, Berlin.

University Research Priority

The University of Lucerne has established a new University Research Priority: Under the direction of Prof. Dr. Bettina Beer, Prof. Dr. Martina Caroni and Prof. Dr. Stephanie Klein changes to forms of the family will be at the centre of research from 1st of August 2016 onwards.

Research Project

2015 The research project "International capital and local inequality: A longitudinal ethnography of the Wampar (Papua New Guinea) under the impact of two large projects (a copper-gold mine and a timber biomass energy plant)" starts, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNF), research team: Doris Bacalzo, Bettina Beer, Willem Church.

Field Research

January to March 2015: field excursion with Lucerne students to the Philippines.

Research Project

2014: The Swiss Network for International Studies (SNIS) grants the research project: "Understanding Rights Practices in the World Heritage System: Lessons from the Asia Pacific" including a case study of the City of Vigan, Philippines, 2014-2016, project coordinator: Peter Bille Larsen, research team Philippines: Doris Bacalzo, Bettina Beer, Sara Dürr, Malot Ingel.


Since 2014 co-editor of Sociologus. Journal for Social Anthropology. The journal is dedicated to empirical research on cultural diversity, social processes and their transformations and the contrasting forms of social relations. It has no fixed topical or regional focus, but concerns itself with the comparative interpretation and explanation of human behaviour.

Field Research

February to July 2013: field research in Papua New Guinea on mining and social transformations among the Wampar in Morobe Province (Papua New Guinea), see new photos under 'Papua New Guinea 2013'.

January and February 2012: field excursion with Lucerne students to the Philippines.


In November 2011, at a public ceremony in Bremen, the first honorary "Leibniz Chair" at the Leibniz Center for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT, Bremen) was conferred on Prof. Dr. Bettina Beer. This award marks the beginning of close cooperation between ZMT and the Institute of Socio-cultural Anthropology at the University of Lucerne.

Research Group

2011/12 Member of the ZiF research group "The Cultural Constitution of Causal Cognition. Re-Integrating Anthropology into the Cognitive Sciences", Center for Interdisciplinary Research, Bielefeld University.

Recently Published

Bettina Beer and Hans Fischer (eds.), 2013:
Ethnologie. Einführung und Überblick.
8. Auflage. Reimer Verlag, Berlin.

Gabriele Alex, Bettina Beer und Bernhard Hadolt (Hg.), 2012:
Wa(h)re Medizin. Zur Authentizität und Kommodifizierung von Gesundheit und Heilung.
Special Issue: Curare 35,3.

Bettina Beer und Hans Fischer (Hg.), 2012:
Ethnologie. Einführung und Überblick.
7. überarbeitete und erweiterte Auflage. Reimer Verlag, Berlin.

Erdmute Alber, Bettina Beer, Julia Pauli und Michael Schnegg (Hg.), 2010:
Verwandtschaft Heute. Positionen, Ergebnisse und Perspektiven.
Reimer Verlag, Berlin.

Bettina Beer, Sabine Klocke-Daffa und Christiana Lütkes (Hg.), 2009:
Berufsorientierung für Kulturwissenschaftler. Erfahrungsberichte und Zukunftsperspektiven.
Reimer Kulturwissenschaften.

Bettina Beer und Hans Fischer, 2009:
Wissenschaftliche Arbeitstechniken in der Ethnologie.
3. Auflage. Reimer Kulturwissenschaften.