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Research project "Death and dying under military occupation: asserting sovereignty in Palestine, Georgia and Western Sahara" looking for interns

Internship at research project at the Department of Sociology in Lund. For students at Master programs within the Faculty of Social Sciences

The research project “Death and dying under military occupation: asserting sovereignty in Palestine, Georgia and Western Sahara” is looking for interns for the autumn semester 2024.

This project investigates death and dying in contexts affected by military occupations where sovereignty is contested. Since control over people is a key aspect of sovereignty, questions of the legitimate use of violence, the proper handling of dead bodies, and links between corpses and national soil become important. This includes the enactment of supremacy and oppression, subversion and resistance. Using an anthropological perspective, this research will analyse how different actors use control over death and dying to assert and contest sovereignty in three on-going situations of occupation: the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories, the Moroccan occupation of Western Sahara, and the Russian occupation of the Georgian territory of South Ossetia.

Previous research has shown that dead bodies can be powerful symbols in times of political instability. In these situations, dead bodies become sites of meaning-making and questions about proper burial, accountability, memorials etc. become important in novel ways. Moreover, when a person dies, the handling of the body becomes an arena for the performance of sovereignty – by states, but potentially various sub-, supra-, or trans-national actors as well. Consequently, death and dying are productive sites for an exploration of the contested nature of sovereignty under military occupation.


Successful applicants should have strong skills in qualitative methods and academic writing in English. It is an advantage if applicants can speak and understand Arabic and/or French.

What does the internship involve?

This internship is designed to provide the individual selected with the opportunity for hands-on experience with qualitative research. Internship tasks primarily include recruiting interviewees among Sahrawis in exile (either in refugee camps in Algeria or in Europe), conducting and transcribing interviews, doing participant observation, writing field notes and summarizing preliminary findings in a field report. If a fieldwork would not be possible, an alternative task could be to write a literature review on martyrs in different religious contexts and an literature overview of forensic anthropology.


20 weeks period.


The Department of Sociology in Lund

How to apply

Send a letter of introduction (max an A4 page) and your CV to Nina Gren (nina [dot] gren [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se). Your letter of introduction should describe who you are, your goals for the internship, and what you hope to gain from the internship.

Last application date

  • June 19, 2024.

Contact information

Person responsible for the research project: Nina Gren nina [dot] gren [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se (nina[dot]gren[at]soc[dot]lu[dot]se) 

If you have general questions about internships at the Department of Sociology, you are welcome to contact Britt-Marie Johansson, britt-marie [dot] johansson [at] soc [dot] lu [dot] se (britt-marie[dot]johansson[at]soc[dot]lu[dot]se).