Dr Deema Kaneff

Dr Deema Kaneff

Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies
Reader in Social Anthropology

Contact details

Centre for Russian, European and Eurasian Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
Edgbaston, Birmingham,
B15 2TT, United Kingdom


  • PhD in Social Anthropology (Adelaide, Australia)
  • BA with Honours in Anthropology (Adelaide, Australia)


Dr Kaneff gained her PhD from Adelaide University in Social Anthropology, Australia, before taking up a postdoctoral position at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Cambridge, England.  In 1999 she became a founding member of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany, as a Senior Research Fellow.

She continues her affiliation with the Max Planck Institute as an Associate, as well as holding her present position (since August 2007) as Reader in European Studies, Birmingham University.

Dr Kaneff has carried out long term fieldwork in Bulgaria, in both rural and urban areas and during the socialist and postsocialist periods, and, since 2000, also in Ukraine.  She specialises in: local politics and state building, property relations, emerging inequalities and neoliberal reforms, and most recently also on transnational migration between east and west Europe. She is the author of: Who Owns the Past: The Politics of Time in a ‘Model’ Bulgarian Village (Berghahn, 2004) and a number of edited volumes (see publications below).

Dr Kaneff is a founding member of the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA).  She has organised a number of international conferences and workshops (see appropriate section below for further details)


Programme Director:

  • Development and Emerging Inequalities in Europe (G8)
  • European Societies: A Cross Cultural Perspective

Also contribute to the modules:

  • Researching Russia and Eastern Europe (G1)
  • Readings in Russian and East European Studies (G7)

I am also supervising (at Masters and PhD level) students at Birmingham University and Max Planck Institute, Germany.

Previous teaching experience:

I have wide ranging teaching experience in a number of countries  including:

  •  University of Adelaide, Australia
  • Cambridge University,  England
  • Martin Luther University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany 
  • also Greece, where I have taught a couple of summers at a summer school, organized by University of Ioannina and the Border Crossing Network (group of Universities from Greece and Macedonia). 


Research Interests

My research is based on carrying out ethnographic fieldwork which has involved living in particular rural and urban sites in Bulgaria and Ukraine for protracted periods of time (amounting to a number of years).

Field Research in Bulgaria

Topics researched: local-national politics; postsocialist reforms -  especially land privatisation, emerging market relations, rebuilding the state and new political elites; migration – rural-urban and transnational; exclusion/inclusion of socially disadvantaged.

Research in Ukraine

Topics researched: postsocialist reforms – especially local politics, privatisation and emerging tensions; migration; role of western development agencies; local state rebuilding; cultural property.

Current and Recent Projects

Political, Economic and Social Inclusion and Exclusion in Bulgaria and Poland (Co-director of Volkswagen Foundation sponsored project)

Global Integration of Marginal Places

British Migration to Bulgari

Other activities

Other Professional Appointments

  • Associate Member of Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
  • Founding member of the International Association for Southeast European Anthropology (InASEA)
  • Member of European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
  • Member of the editorial board of Ethnologia Balkanica, Journal for Southeast European Anthropology.
  • Member of editorial board of the Bulgarian journal, Bulgarska Ethnologia.



Kaneff, D (Forthcoming) Global Connections and Emerging Inequalities in Europe: Perspectives on Poverty and Transnational Migration, co-edited with F Pine, London: Anthem Press.

Kaneff, D (2004) Who Owns the Past? The Politics of Time in a 'Model' Bulgarian Village, Oxford: Berghahn.

Kaneff, D (2004) Politics, Religion and Memory: the present meets the past in Europe, co-edited with F Pine and H Haukanes, Halle studies in the Anthropology of Eurasia No 4,  Münster: Lit Verlang.

Kaneff, D (2002) Post-Socialist Peasant? Rural and Urban Constructions of Identity in Eastern Europe, East Asia and the Former Soviet Union, co-edited with P Leonard, Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave.

Special Journal Editions

Kaneff, D (2004)  ‘Owning Culture’, Focaal,European Journal of Anthropology, special section editor, no 44.

Kaneff, D (2006) ‘State borders and local boundaries: the case of Bessarabia (Moldova and Ukraine)’, Anthropology of East European Review, special edition, co-editor Monica Heintz. Vol 24, Issue 1.

Journal Publications

Kaneff, D (2008) 'Market activity and EU expansion: British involvement in the Bulgarian property market', Slovak Sociological Review, Vol 40(6), pp 530-547.

Kaneff, D (2006) ‘Holiday location or agricultural village?  British property owners in rural Bulgaria’ in Eastern European Countryside, Vol 12, pp 79-92.

Kaneff, D (2006), ‘Introduction: Bessarabian Borderlands: one region, two states, multiple ethnicities’, in Anthropology of East European Review, co-authored with M Heintz, Vol 24/1, pp 6-16.

Kaneff, D (2004) ‘Introduction: Owning Culture’, co-authored with A King, in Owning Culture, Focaal, European Journal of Anthropology, no 44, pp 3-19.

Kaneff, D (2002) ‘Why People Don’t Die ‘‘Naturally’’ Anymore’: Changing Relations Between ‘the Individual’ and ‘the State’ in Post-Socialist Bulgaria, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Vol 8, no 1 (March): pp 89-105