Sverker Finnström

Short presentation

I am Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology. I have conducted extensive ethnographic fieldwork in wartime and postwar northern Uganda. In my research, I chart conjunctures of vulnerability, resourcefulness and war, in Africa and beyond. I am also interested in theoretical approaches to vulnerability that can help complement widespread yet one-dimensional and damaging stories of war, suffering and loss.


After studies and a PhD in cultural anthropology in 2003, Uppsala University, I worked at Gulu University and Stockholm University, before returning to Uppsala University and a research position in political violence and genocide studies at the Hugo Valentin Centre. I became an associate professor in 2009 and in 2012 I left the Hugo Valentin Centre for a tenured senior lectureship in anthropology. I was the chair of the Swedish Anthropological Association from 2013 to 2015.

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.

I am an advisory board member of the Engaging Vulnerability research program at Uppsala University. My research within this program has grown organically out of my previous work. It focuses on open-ended realities and stories that overrun the limits of time and space, real and imagined. Rather than any bounded ethnography, my aim is to present a critical anthropology that travels beyond fixed borders. I nurture openness, improvisation, and a kind of analytical vulnerability that acknowledges that significance and importance are aspects that seldom can be known in beforehand, acknowledging also that in beforehand one risks to discard irreversibly the possibility to know such aspects afterhand.


My kind of anthropology, a few open access examples:

Also, 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. Read/download here.

With Neil L. Whitehead I have edited Virtual War and Magical Death: Technologies and Imaginaries for Terror and Killing (Duke University Press, 2013). Read/download here.

For a complete list of my publications, go to the DiVA online database. You can also visit me at ResearchGate,, or Google Scholar. There you will find articles, and also interviews and talks, both print and recorded. Or check my ORCID iD.


This text is not available in English, therefore the Swedish version is shown.

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Sverker Finnström