Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen

Astrid Oberborbeck Andersen is a postdoctoral researcher with the AURA project. She received her PhD in Anthropology in 2014 from University of Copenhagen. Her research centers on human-environment relations, focusing mainly on urban ecology and water politics in Peru, and hunting livelihoods, and environmental politics and management in Northwest Greenland. In her research, Andersen is interested in the ways that expertise, ways of knowing and politics tangle up in particular ways in different environments, and the role materiality and technology play in such processes. She has a strong interest in how cross-disciplinary collaborations (also beyond academia) can provide new insights and generate change in the status quo of knowing and doing environmental politics (in postcolonial contexts).

Selected publications

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    At kortlægge og at bruge kort: Synliggørelse af forskelle og relationer

    Co-author: Anders Kristian Munk.

    Find the publication here

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    Water citizenship: Negotiating water rights and contesting water culture in the Peruvian Andes

    This article examines the implementation of Peru’s new water law and discusses how it produces new forms of water citizenship. Inspired by the global paradigm of “integrated water resources management,” the law aims to include all citizens in the management of the country’s water resources by embracing a “new water culture.” We ask what forms of water citizenship emerge from the new water law and how they engage with local water practices and affect existing relations of inequality. We answer these questions ethnographically by comparing previous water legislation and how the new law currently is negotiated and contested in three localities in Peru’s southern highlands. We argue that the law creates a new water culture that views water as a substance that is measurable, quantifiable, and taxable, but that it neglects other ways of valuing water. We conclude that water citizenship emerges from the particular ways water authorities and water users define rights to access and use water, on the one hand, and obligations to contribute to the construction and maintenance of water infrastructure and pay for the use of water, on the other.

    Co-authors: Karsten Paerregaard and Astrid Bredholt Stensrud.

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    Taking note: a kaleidoscopic view on two, or three, modes of fieldnoting

    In this article we examine what can be captured, recorded, remembered, and shared through different note-taking modalities. The case narrated is one of a simultaneous fieldwork experience carried out as part of a larger interdisciplinary project in Greenland. It reveals how the same situation is recorded differently in our respective notebooks; and that the way we write fieldnotes is not just determined by the anthropologists, but also by the field. We present three kinds of fieldnotes from the same day, produced partly by writing/not writing in notebooks, and by using handheld GPS devices that map activities related to hunting and travel. We suggest that our fieldnotes may best be understood as fragments, details and contexts. Although our fieldnotes may add up an entirety, they cannot represent a complete whole. Together, these fragments are mosaic configurations rather than complete or coherent sets of registered events and situations that come together kaleidoscopically.

    Co-author: Flora, Janne.

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Associated organisations


The Techno-Anthropology Research Group

The Techno-Anthropology (TANT) group researches key processes of social and technical innovation that are critical to the challenges facing contemporary and future societies. Complicated societal issues are unlikely to be solved by technical fixes. We therefore believe that workable solutions and a responsible development of technology must build on the active consideration of social relations, the engagement of users, and an in-depth understanding of the complexities of technology-in-use.


Aalborg University's Centre for Arctic-related research is a cross-faculty platform for cooperation between researchers at Aalborg University, who has an interest in the Arctic. The geographical area of interest for AAU Arctic is the Circumpolar North (incl. Greenland, the Faroe Islands, the northern parts of Scandinavia, Canada, Alaska and Russia, the North Atlantic and the Polar Sea).

Department of Learning and Philosophy

The Department of Learning and Philosophy operates on an interdisciplinary, cross-faculty basis. The mission of the Department is to do research, development and teaching in the areas of education, learning and philosophy, within the educational system as well as in public and private organisations.

The Faculty of Humanities 

Aalborg University Copenhagen


Department 10 (VIP Hum) 
Kroghstræde 3 
Room: 4-249 
9220 Aalborg Ø, DK

Phone: 9940 7440