Scientific career

Melanie Brand is a PhD candidate at the Department for Social and Cultural Anthropology. She holds an MA degree in sociology from the University of Konstanz with a focus on cultural sociology.

In her PhD project The Truth of Violence. Domestic Violence against Women and Identity Politics in the Context of Counselling Practices in Urban South Africa she investigates institutionalized counselling and support services targeting mostly female victims but also male perpetrators of domestic violence. Research Blog

Since June 2017, she works as a researcher in the ERC-funded transfer project 'DNR - Death Notification with Responsibility'. Project Website


  • “When Stories Seem Fake. Tacit Mistrust in Domestic Violence Counselling in South Africa”. In: Mühlfried, Florian, (ed.) Mistrust. Ethnographic Approximations. Bielefeld: Transcript, pp.71-92. Open access publication:
  • Brand Melanie, Mahlke Kirsten: "DNR and the Use of Blended Learning Methodology in German Police Education". In: Xie H., Popescu E., Hancke G., Fernández Manjón B. (eds.) Advances in Web-Based Learning – ICWL 2017. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol 10473. Cham: Springer, 2017
  • „Die symbolische Repräsentation des Nationalgefühls durch die Flag-Raising Fotografien von Iwo Jima und Ground Zero“, in: Jochen Dreher (Hg.), Angewandte  Phänomenologie. Zum Spannungsverhältnis von Konstruktion und Konstitution. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag, S. 371-400, 2013.


  • Summer 2017 

“How to deliver the worst message possible well. Developing Training material preparing police officers for death notifications", together with Prof. Kirsten Mahlke. Interdisciplinary service learning seminar, University of Konstanz.

  • March 2017

University of Pretoria, Department of Archaeology and Anthropology. ErasmusPlus financed stay as visiting researcher. Individual seminars (Honours Students, Anthropology) and talks on domestic violence counselling in urban South Africa and research methods in Anthropology.

  • Summer 2016

'Ethics in Qualitative Social Research', together with Dr. Diana Schmidt-Pfister, University of Konstanz.

  • Summer 2015

'Ethical Dimensions of (Social) Scientific Research', University of Konstanz.

Workshops and Conference Organization

Presentations (selected)

  • May 2018: "What to know? What to do? - Awareness Raising as Imposed Thematic Relevance". Conference: Knowledge, Nescience and the (New) Media, IV. Conference of The International Alfred Schutz Circle for Phenomenology and Interpretive Social Science, 3.-5. May, 2018, University of Konstanz.
  • April 2018: "Vulnerabilities at Work. Insights from Trauma Trainings and Domestic Violence Counselling". Conference: Vulnerabilities, SANT/FAS, Uppsala. Together with Pia Maier.
  • October 2017: “Providing Knowledge, Changing Behaviour? Unintended Consequences of Domestic Violence Prevention”. Workshop: Things you Really Need to Know. Awareness-Raising as Sociocultural Practice, University of Konstanz.
  • July 2016: "Questioning Victimhood. Institutionalized Mistrust and Truth-Telling Practices in South Africa", panel: The Anthropology of Mistrust, European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) Anthropological Legacies and Human Futures, Milan, Italy.
  • November 2015: "On Becoming Responsible. Negotiating Masculine Identities in Rehabilitation Programs for Domestic Violence Offenders in South Africa", Black Box Identität. Über die Grenzen konstruktivistischer Erklärungsmodelle, University of Konstanz.
  • October 2013: “Making the Person Whole Again. Phenomenological Reflections on Identity Constructions in Counseling Services Related to Domestic Violence", Annual Conference The Society for Phenomenology and the Human Sciences (SPHS), University of Oregon, Eugene, USA.

Further research insights

Research interests

  • Ethnography of Counselling
  • Life Skills Trainings, responsibilization and therapeutic interventions
  • Institutionalized domestic violence support services in urban South Africa
  • Truth (Claims), Subjectivization and Identity Politics in counselling
  • Mistrust in therapeutic settings