Mag. Dr. Franz Graf

Lecturer and postdoc researcher

Contact Details

Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology
Universitätsstraße 7, 1010 Vienna
NIG, 4th floor
Room: A0404


Office Hours

On appointment via email:


Current Courses: u:find

Past Courses: u:find

Research Focus Areas

  • Environmental anthropology (human-environment relations, political ecology, perception)
  • Anthropology of religion (movements, neo-paganism, meaning making)
  • Medical anthropology (shamanism/neo-shamanism, embodiment, affect)
  • Research methods (ethnography, participant observation, visual methods)

  • Regional: Mexico, New Zealand, England, Austria

Short Biography

Franz Graf studied Social and Cultural Anthropology and Medical Anthropology at University of Vienna and Brunel University London. During his doctoral research, with the aim of developing an ethnographically sound understanding of British neo-paganism, the entanglement of values, meanings and the environment has emerged as a focus in his work. Through the analysis of affective encounters in specific environments (human and non-human), Franz Graf was able to show that the striving for a "good life" is to be understood against the background of current ecological challenges. Scrutinizing and going beyond the analytical distinction between "nature" and "culture" (and its associated dichotomies) his doctoral dissertation contributed to the anthropological exploration of human-environment relations in general (marked with distinction in 2017).

Broadening the scope of his doctoral work, Franz Graf is currently designing a research project on the performance of human-nonhuman relations, which is ethnographically located in the field of environmentalism in Austria. The aim of this project is to illuminate the making and unmaking of "nature" and "culture" in its entanglement with identity politics. He turns his attention explicitly from phenomenological and praxeological concerns to questions of power and social differentiation. Thereby analysing how the situated and embodied performance of place sustains and impedes accounts about who (or what) belongs to it and who does not.

In addition, Franz Graf collaborates with the department of cultural education at the World Museum Vienna to develop and implement visitor programs for the ethnographic collection.

Selected Publications

  • forthcoming. Die Suche nach dem „Guten Leben“: Mensch-Umwelt-Beziehungen bei "Pagans" und "earth lovers" in Südwestengland. Reimer: Berlin. Manuscript in preparation.
  • 2019, in press. Ritualisierung - Mediatisierung - Performance. Vienna: Vienna University Press (with Martin Luger und Philipp Budka).
  • 2019, in press. „Ein Leben scannen“: Fragmentarische Retrospektive von und auf Manfred Kremser. In M. Luger, P. Budka, & F. Graf (Eds.), Ritualisierung - Mediatisierung - Performance.Vienna: Vienna University Press (with Manfred Kremser and Gertraud Seiser).
  • 2018. Stereotype und Perturbationen: Ansätze systemisch-ökologischer Kritik in der späten Moderne. Systemische Notizen, 18(2), 14-18. (with Martin Luger).
  • 2017. Emerging animistic socialities? An example of transnational appropriation of curanderismo. In A. Hardon & B. Hadolt (Eds.), New Socialities in 21st Century Health Care. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 25-41.
  • 2013. „Ich bin keine Mexikanerin, aber ich bin Mexica“: Über die Aneignung einer mexikanischen Heilpraxis im Umfeld von Revitalisierung und internationaler Verbreitung. In V. Futterknecht, M. Noseck-Licul & M. Kremser (Eds.), Heilung in den Religionen: Religiöse, spirituelle und leibliche Dimensionen. Vienna: Lit-Verlag, 467-483.

Conference papers (selection)

  • „‘What we know of aliveness‘: Modern Paganism, Environmental Illness and More-than-Human Subjectivity“. Medical Anthropology at Home (MAAH) conference „Subjectivities and afflictions: Agency, health systems and the politics of/for life“, organized by Àngel Martínez-Hernáez, Lina Masana and Josep M. Comelles, Universita Rovirai Virgili (URV), Tarragona, Spain, 20.10.2018.
  • „Ecological Subjectivity and the Search for Truth in a More-than-Human World“. Conference of The International Society for Religion, Literature and Culture (ISRLC) „The place of truth“, Panel „Ecotheologies: Culture, Nature and Religion“, organized by Anna Fisk, Uppsala University, Sweden, 29.09.2018.
  • „‘Loving the Earth‘: Britische Pagans und die Schaffung von Zugehörigkeit in einer mehr-als-menschlichen Welt“. Conference of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (DGV) „Zugehörigkeiten: Affektive, moralische und politische Praxen in einer vernetzen Welt“, Panel „Mensch-Umwelt Beziehungen in einer heterodox-vernetzten Welt“, organized by Carsten Wergin and Rebecca Hoffmann, FU Berlin, Germany, 7.10.2017.
  • „Earth based spiritualities as a resource for sustainable human-environment relations? An example of neo-Pagans in and around Bristol/UK“. Summer School Workshop „Religion as Resource: Local and Global Discourses“, Panel „Sacred landscape reconsidered“, organized by Jonathan Miles-Watson and Pamela Klassen, Eberhard Karls University Tübingen, Germany, 20.07.2014.
  • „‘It is an illusion that you are separated from everything that is around you‘: Animistic rhetoric or dwelling in a living environment?“ Conference of Sociology of Religion Study Group (SocRel) „Material Religion“, Panel „Nature and Landscape“, organized by Marion Bowman, Durham University, UK, 9.04.2013.
  • „Engaging with a More-than-Human World: Contemporary Animic Practices as Critique of Modernity?“ Conference of the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) „Uncertainty and disquiet“, Panel „Challenging religiosity in an uncertain Europe: the role of ‚New Spirituality‘“, organized by Eugenia Roussou and Katerina Ferkov, Université Paris Ouest Nanterre La Défense, France, 11.07.2012.
  • „Engaging with a More-than-Human World: Curandersimo and ,New‘ Animism“. Medical Anthropology at Home (MAAH) Conference „New Socialities and Subjectivities in Health Care in the 21st Century“, organized by Bernhard Hadolt and Anita Hardon, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, 23.06.2012.
  • „Tradition ist Medizin: Lernen und Weitergabe von therapeutischen Praktiken in der mexikanischen Heilkunde“. Conference of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Völkerkunde (DGV) „Kulturelle Aneignungen: Anpassung – Anverwandlung – Camouflage”, Panel „Rituale als kulturelle Ressource“, organized by Karin Polit, Goethe-Univeristy Frankfurt, Germany, 2.10.2009.