After a short stint studying biology, Teun Voeten started to study Cultural Anthropology, minor philosophy, at Leiden University. During his studies he carried out 3 months fieldwork in a remote gold digger community in the Ecuadorian Andes. He also researched Sandinista en opposition media in Nicaragua during the polarized 1990 elections. September 2018, he will defend his PhD thesis on the Mexican Drug Violence at his Alma Mater. Voeten anthropological background mirrors itself in his way of working, always looking for the human dimension in international global affairs.
Focus on the individual on a micro level
Typical for anthropology is the focus on the individual on a micro level. The favorite research method is participant observation, which basically is an expensive word for hanging out with your research subjects, talking to them and watching what they do! Anthropologist don’t want to present grand theories how the world works, but try to understand how people themselves view and interpret their world.
In the great, nearly a century old tradition of the Chicago School of Urban Anthropology, Teun Voeten stayed for 5 months with an underground homeless community in a tunnel on Manhattan’s West Side. Helping the homeless with their work collecting cans, he gained unprecedented acces to this underworld and wrote his findings in ‘Tunnel People’ that has become a classic in literature on the homeless.
As a war photographer, Voeten was shocked by the ferocity of the Mexican Drug Violence. Determined to go beyond the dramatic visual aspects, Voeten started in 2012 a PhD thesis as an independent candidate, supervised by Prof Dr Patricio Silva from Leiden University. September 2018 his dissertation titled ‘The Mexican Drug Violence: Hybrid Warfare, Predatory Capitalism and the Logic of Cruelty’ was accepted.
Research and Advice
On a regular base, Teun Voeten works as a consultant for companies, humanitarian organizations and government agencies. His specialties are organized crime, war and violence, international security. His journalistic skills and anthropological methods, his international network and experience in crisis zones are unique assets. For discretionary reason, we cannot mention his clients.