Prof. Dr. Alain Müller
Alain Müller
Philosophisch-Historische Fakultät
Departement Gesellschaftswissenschaften
Professur Müller


Rheinsprung 9/11
4051 Basel

Tel. +41 61 207 12 42

Alain Müller is Assistant Professor in Cultural Anthropology (Kulturanthropologie) at the University of Basel’s Seminar for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology. He shares a joint professorship in Cultural Anthropology and Gender Studies with Prof. Marion Schulze. His current research is situated at the intersections of the anthropology of knowledge, Science and Technology Studies, and environmental humanities.

Previously, Alain Müller held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for Ethnography, University of California, Irvine, and the University of Geneva, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Prior to this, he studied anthropology, sociology, and geography at the University of Neuchâtel, where he obtained his PhD at the Institute of Ethnology in 2010.

Müller’s work stems from an intense curiosity about how humans relate to things and, more generally, about how culture and nature, meaning and matter, mind and body, and global and local entangle in practice. He is currently developing the “Nature – Representations – Materialities” collaborative research project together with Magdalena Bucher and Julian Purrmann. This project seeks to trace ethnographically the multiple, situated practices that aim at re-presenting Nature and therefore participate in the invention of that which counts as Nature. It also explores avenues for the multiplication, diffraction, and re-articulation of what Nature can be. Within this framework, Müller is concerned in particular with ontologies that both emerge and, in turn, enact ‘mountains’ in concrete, situated practices. To this end, he currently conducts ethnographic research into different modes of re-presenting and modeling mountains in the domains of art, craft, and science, and examines how each posits its relation to reality and establish its specific truth. He also launched a research project that bridges infrastructure, repair and maintenance studies, and multi-species ethnography, to trace maintenance practices on farm roads and walking trails and explore how these intersect, collaborate, and/or conflict with non-human worlds.

Alain Müller’s current research draws upon his earlier work on the formation of collectives and their specific knowledges and modes of being-in-the-world, notably through the mediation of objects and their circulation. His first monograph explores how the hardcore (punk) music subculture is collectively formed, experienced, and shared through networks of circulation. In a second project on street workout, he took a closer look at the mediating agency of objects and digital technologies in the formation of this urban sport as both an imagined, translocal community—a movement—and a repertoire of skilled movements that shape and are shaped by the situated interplay of bodies and apparatuses.

  • Anthropology of knowledge
  • Anthropology of naturecultures
  • Science and Technology Studies
  • More-than-human anthropology and ethnography
  • Representations
  • Models and modeling
  • Practical ontologies
  • Materialities and objects
  • Circulations
  • Embodiment