School of Social and Political Science

Lotte Segal

Job Title

Lecturer in Social Anthropology

Lotte Segal photo
Mobile telephone number
07306 505666

Room number


Building (Address)

Chrystal Macmillan Building

Street (Address)

George Square

City (Address)


Country (Address)


Post code (Address)



Regional: Occupied Palestinian Territories, torture survivors from the Middle East living in Denmark.

Thematic Orientation: Violence, kinship, subjectivity, affect, trauma, methodological challenges in doing ethnography in zones of conflict.

Empirically my focus is, first, occupied Palestine. I am particularly concerned with how those not so spectacular figures and relations in a conflict experience violent events as well as live with the uneventfulness of ongoing violence. Concretely I study family members to current and former political detainees in Israeli studies and how they try to steer clear of the social stigma occurring with confinement.

Secondly, my current work focuses on developing and anthropological vocabulary to speak about secondary trauma among kin as well as staff working with ameliorating the psychological effects of torture. The ethnographic work informing this aspiration rests on fieldwork in rehabilitation clinic for traumatised refugees in Denmark.

Between 2014 and 2017 I was the PI of a comparative study on the Scandinavian Welfare states and how they encounter Middle Eastern survivors of Violence. The project was termed ‘Slippery Suffering’. Emphasis is placed on the affective responses to stories of violence among representatives of the welfare states (funded by NOS-HS). Currently, the international team behind the project are working towards publishing the collective output from the project in a special issue of an international, peer-reviewed journal. THe working title is 'Overwhelming Knowlegde-Knowing and Writing Violence in Contemporary Anthropology'.

In sum, my research is animated by questions of violence, relatedness, everyday life, knowledge, as well as issues pertaining to gender and voice. My first book ‘No Place for Grief: Martyrs, Prisoners and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine’ (, is an ethnographic monograph about the porous boundary between endurance and exhaustion and, importantly, how kinship is the site par se in which such exhaustion is felt. Methodological questions of how to do ethnography among people in precarious situations informs the ethical sensibility with which I approach ethnography and collaboration more broadly. Through my research I have worked closely with NGOs and academic colleagues in Palestine, about research projects as well as consultancy work. In Denmark, I have co-operated with Dignity- Danish Institute against Torture for more than 15 years. Relocating from the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark to the Department of Social Anthropology at University of Edinburgh early in 2019 I hope to continue with different modes of engaged anthropology in and beyond my current research areas.

International Cooperation

Between 2016 and 2019 I am part of the French -American research endeavor IPEV- International Panel on Exiting Violence. I am a member of the working group Reconstruction of the Self headed by Professor Richard Rechtmann, EHESS.

Throughout 2017 and 2019 I am part of a conversation among an international group of anthropologists and philosophers, investigating the relationship between concept and life. The group is led by professor Sandra Laugier (EHESS), research fellows Andrew Brandel (Harvard) and Marco Motta (McGill). The investigation as well as the resulting publication takes its point of departure in the work of ordinary language philosophers like Sandra Laugier, Cora Diamond and Stanley Cavell.

Since 2014 I have served on the editorial board of the international journal Conflict and Society (Advances in Research, Berghahn) and Tidsskrift for Antropologi.

Selected publications

Segal, L. B. (2018). Tattered Textures of Kinship: Living with Torture in Iraqi Families in Denmark. Medical Anthropology.

Segal, L. B. (2016). No Place For Grief: Martyrs, Prisoners and Mourning in Contemporary Palestine. University of Pennsylvania Press. (Ethnography of Political Violence).

Segal, L. B. (2015). The burden of being exemplary: national sentiments, awkward witnessing, and womanhood in occupied Palestine. Royal Anthropological Institute. Journal, 21( Nr. Supplement S1).

Sega, L.B.: (2015)"Mourning, Grief, and the Loss of Politics in Palestine: The Unvoiced Effects of Military Occupation in the West Bank" In: Living and Dying in the Contemporary World: A Compendium. Eds. Veena Das and Clara Han. Berkeley: University of California Press


In Edinburgh I teach Kinship: Structure and Process and Anthropology 1B Anthropology Matters. In the Department of Anthropology, University of Copenhagen I taught the history of anthropology, medical anthropology, psychological anthropology and the MA course Anthropological Analyses

Research interests

Research interests

Ethnography, Political violence, Israel-Palestine, Anthropology of the Middle East, gender, Kinship and relatedness, Trauma, Anthropology of ethics, Ethnic and Religious Minorities in Scandinavia

Topics interested in supervising

Occupied Palestine, The Middle East, Trauma, Refugees, Violence, Subjectivity, Kinship, Knowledge, Ethics

If you are interested in being supervised by Lotte Buch Segal, please see the links below for more information:

Works within

Staff Hours and Guidance

Tuesday 12.30 -2.00 pm