Esther Uzar, PhD-student

Esther Uzar is a Research Assistant and PhD-student in Sociology at the Centre for African Studies in Basel, Switzerland. She works on the project The role of authority in African political culture – a case study of Zambia, which is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG). She was born in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and received her B.A. and M.A. in African studies from the University of Bayreuth in Germany after majoring in Sociology, Social Anthropology, and Institutional Economics. Esther Uzar completed her Master’s with an empirical case study on entrepreneurs and business associations in the Zambian Copperbelt. She studied the circumstances in which entrepreneurs joined business associations in order to find out how they perceive and come to terms with uncertainty (Sociology of Risk, Economic Sociology). The research also addressed the role that religion and witchcraft play in business. Her Bachelor’s thesis analyzed the social distribution of knowledge in a development program in Mozambique (Sociology of Knowledge).


Her current research in Political Sociology, starting in June 2011, is part of a comparative study on political structures in Guinea-Bissau, Libya, South Africa, and Zambia. Esther Uzar is studying the role of authority in political communication in the trade union context of a Copperbelt town in Zambia. She wants to find out which forms of authority are present in this context and how they structure political debate, in order to clarify how the concept of authority can contribute to the analysis of the development of the political sphere. Her further interests include qualitative research methods, and science studies. She is a member of the Section Political Sociology of the German Sociological Association (DGS).