moralising misfortune

a comparative anthropology of commercial insurance

About us

What moral concerns do people have when they encounter the financial sector in their everyday life? This question will be studied in five countries: Brazil, France, India, The Netherlands, and the USA. The project explicitly deals with highly personal and intimate encounters with financial globalisation.


This project examines commercial life insurance within the context of broader transactional systems. It examines commercial insurance as a form of solidarity that is connected with other solidarities, for example among family members or within voluntary associations that play a role after someone’s death.

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ERC funding

Moralising misfortune is an ERC consolidator project.

The ERC's mission is to encourage the highest quality research in Europe through competitive funding and to support investigator-driven frontier research across all fields, on the basis of scientific excellence. The ERC complements other funding activities in Europe such as those of the national research funding agencies, and is a flagship component of Horizon 2020, the European Union's Research Framework Programme for 2014 to 2020.

Being 'investigator-driven', or 'bottom-up', in nature, the ERC approach allows researchers to identify new opportunities and directions in any field of research, rather than being led by priorities set by politicians. This ensures that funds are channelled into new and promising areas of research with a greater degree of flexibility.

ERC grants are awarded through open competition to projects headed by starting and established researchers, irrespective of their origins, who are working or moving to work in Europe. The sole criterion for selection is scientific excellence. The aim here is to recognise the best ideas, and confer status and visibility on the best brains in Europe, while also attracting talent from abroad.

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