Prof. Dr. Markus Verne

Professor in Anthropology with a Focus on Aesthetics

Research interests
Aesthetics and aesthetic experience, anthropology of popular music, African popular music, anthropological theories in historical perspective, economic anthropology (focus: poverty and lack, consumption)

Research Areas
Indian Ocean (in particular Madagascar), Westafrica (in particular Niger)


Anthropology, Music, and Aesthetics Working Group



I am a professor in anthropology with a focus on aesthetics.  I studied cultural anthropology, philosophy and psychology at the universities of Tübingen and Mainz, then did my PhD on consumption and scarcity in rural Niger. Since 2006, I stronly engage in research on popular music, with Madagascar being my main fieldwork site.

In my ongoing research, I try to understand aesthetic dimensions of music experience within the framework of “existential anthropology”, asking how what is experienced in music is rendered meaningful in relation to everyday life. With this, I am striving to better understand how music and aesthetic experience more generally interrelate with individual as well as social practices. The regional foci of my work are Africa and the Indian Ocean, with a special focus on Madagascar.

Recent Publications (selection)

(2022): ‘On Standby’: Malagasy Social Relatedness between ‘On’ and ‚Off’; Journal of Southern African Studies, 48 (4), 639–652.

(2021): Die Handlungsmacht ästhetischer Objekte; Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter (ed., mit Annika Schlitte und Gregor Wedekind)

(2021): Die Handlungsmacht ästhetischer Objekte: Ein Aufriss; in: Annika Schlitte, Markus Verne und Gregor Wedekind (Hg.): Die Handlungsmacht ästhetischer Objekte; Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, vii-xxiv (mit Annika Schlitte und Gregor Wedekind).

(2021): Musikerfahrung und Kulturrelativismus: Heavy Metal in Madagaskar; in Annika Schlitte, Markus Verne und Gregor Wedekind (Hg.): Die Handlungsmacht ästhetischer Objekte; Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 167-196.

(2020): ‘Heavy Conditions. Power Metal in Madagascar’, in Andy Brown and Kevin Fellezs (eds): Heavy Metal Generations; Leiden: Brill, 37-47.

(2019): Madagascar: Modern and Contemporary Performance Practice; in Janet Sturman (ed.): The SAGE International Encyclopedia of Music and Culture; Thousand Oaks: SAGE Publications, Inc., 1365-1366.

(2019) Heavy Metal in Madagascar (Metaly Gasy); in David Horn, John Sheperd, Gabrielle Kielich and Heidi Feldman (eds.): Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Popular Music of the World, Volume 12. Genres: Sub-Saharan Africa; New York and London: Bloomsbury,  190-194.

(2019) Ist Kultur ästhetisch? Arbeitspapiere des Instituts für Ethnologie und Afrikastudien der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 182.