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Dr. Lukas Ley

Profilbild Ley

Lukas Ley’s research is focused on advancing an analysis of the governance of disaster through the complex but systematic ways in which environmental change, institutional structures, discourses, and urban infrastructures give rise to specific forms of eventfulness. He takes an interest in how these forms enable and limit human action in the wake of climate change and in the face of social inequality. In urban Indonesia, where he has conducted his doctoral research, the phenomenon of tidal flooding (“rob”) especially attracted his attention, as this regular disaster destabilizes notions of a sublime, purgative catastrophe and elicits a governance that manages recurrent crisis. He has further integrated perceptions, agencies, and states of urban water into his reflections on governance and social structure.

In Indonesia, he has done ethnographic field research among a range of groups: riverside kampung dwellers in Semarang, NGOs based in Jakarta, civil engineers, and environmental activists.

Lukas Ley is editor of the independent Journal of Urban Life, which he co-founded as a member of an international collective of urban ethnographers. Today, the journal brings together anthropologists, designers, and artists from numerous countries to offer innovative ways of (re)presenting the city.



Recent Publications


"On the margins of the hydrosocial: Quasi-events along a stagnant river," Geoforum, (for special issue by Luisa Cortesi and Alejandro Camargo).

Jacobs, Jane.” The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, Bryan S. Turner (ed.), Blackwell Pub.

“Dry feet for all”: Flood management and chronic time in Semarang, Indonesia. ASEAS –
Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies
, 9(1), 107-126.

“Science knows the future while magic just guesses? Why we need to believe in order to know.” 360˚, 15, 102-108.  



"Owners of the Sidewalk" (D. M. Goldstein), Anthropos, April/Mai 2018 Ausgabe.



"The Years of Living Precariously - The 'Rob' Phenomenon in Semarang", Voices, Special Issue: Social Water.

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