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Prof Dr. Max Matter



Former executive director of the Institute of Folklore, after retiring in March 2010, continues to conduct research and teaching

Telephon: 0761-203-3306


  • March 8, 1945 Born in Zurich
  • 1968-1974 study of folklore, social and economic history, communication science
  • 1974-1975 scholarship holder of the DAAD in Münster / Westf.
  • 1975 Doctorate, University of Zurich - 1975-1979 Wiss. Assistant, Friedrich-Wilhelm University Bonn
  • 1980-1984 Wiss. Employee, University of Mainz
  • 1983 Habilitation at the University of Mainz - 1984 Representation of a professor of European Ethnology, University of Marburg
  • 1985-1996 Professor of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology, University of Frankfurt am Main
  • 1996 Professor of Folklore, University of Freiburg
  • 1997 Director of the Institute of Folklore and the German Volkliederarchiv
  • 1990-1998 chairman of the Hessian Association for Folklore; Co-editor of several scientific journals
  • Since 1997 Wiss. Advisory Council and Member of the Council for Migration. Advisory Board of the Otto Benecke Foundation Head of various research projects, i.a. on the reintegration problem of returnees (Ankara 1986/1987), on German and German images of Turks (1990-1993), on contemporary Turkish life in Germany (from 1995)

Research interests

  • Culture and lifestyles of individual ethnic groups (in Europe);
  • Interethnic relations;
  • Contact culture / culture conflict;
  • Migration Research;
  • Strangers in Germany (esp. Turks);
  • Dealing with strangeness;
  • Ethnological nutrition research;
  • Age studies:
  • Childhood to death;
  • Human-animal relations;
  • General European Ethnology.


Selected publications

  • Value system and innovation behavior. Studies on the evaluation of innovation-theoretical approaches carried out in Lötschental / Switzerland. Hohenschäftlarn near Munich. 1978. (= Cultural Anthropological Studies, Vol. 3)
  • Village house building and home ownership today. A rural culture pattern its historical and ideological origin. Building and living in a construction community in the eastern Hocheifel. Habilitation Mainz 1983 \ [masch.-schriftl. \]. (Ed.);
  • together with Siegfried Becker: Gesindewesen in Hessen. Studies on the historical development and social-cultural characteristics of rural work organization. Marburg 1987.
  • Aspects of the revitalization of traditional food. In: Nutrition Review (Supplement) 37 (1990). Pp. 22-28.
  • Switzerland seen from the outside. Thoughts on the influence of a European, especially German enthusiasm for Switzerland and the Alps at the end of the 18th and 19th centuries on the Swiss national feeling, on the stabilization, revitalization and creation of alpine customs. In: Rück, Peter (ed.): Grenzerfahrungen.
  • Swiss scientists, journalists and artists in Germany. Marburg 1991. pp. 115-129. (Ed.)
  • Foreign neighbors. Aspects of Turkish culture in Turkey and the Federal Republic of Germany. Marburg 1992. (= Hessian Journal of Folk and Cultural Research, NF 29)
  • Living and working in Germany from a Turkish perspective. In: Kuntz, Andreas (ed.): Worker cultures. Gone the misery from the dream? Dusseldorf 1993, pp. 241-251.
  • Longings and contradictions. Pictures of the home and pictures of the stranger. In: Greverus, Ina-Maria et al. (Ed.): Cultural texts. Twenty Years Institute of Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology. Frankfurt am Main 1994. (= Notes. Series of the Institute for Cultural Anthropology and European Ethnology of the University of Frankfurt am Main, vol. 46) pp. 201-214.
  • (Ed.): Body understanding experience. Marburg 1996. (= Hessian Leaflets for Folk and Cultural Research, NF 31)
  • Social change and spatial changes as a consequence of migration, using the example of a central Anatolian district (Ilce Sereflikochisar). In: Frieß-Reimann, Hildegard and Schellack, Fritz (ed.): Cultures Spaces - Borders. (= Festschrift for Herbert Schwedt's 60th birthday) Mainz 1996.
  • German-speaking in East Central Europe with examples of the coexistence of ethnic groups in Slovakia. In: Yearbook for German and Eastern European folklore 42 (1999), pp. 44-57.