Pernille Hohnen

Pernille Hohnen


Primary fields of research

I have been employed as Laurits Andersen professor in Business and Organizational Anthropology since March 2020. My research encompasses the broader fields of economic anthropology, political economy, work organization and digital finance. This research is interdisciplinary aiming to develop mainstream anthropology in collaboration with other disciplines. Through most of my career, I have worked with problem-based models in both research and teaching and I find it crucial that anthropology work to create concrete new understandings of and solutions to organizational and societal problems. I have published on welfare policies, labor market, Corporate Social Responsibility, work environment regulation, consumption and debt. I have done fieldwork around transnational markets in Lithuania, organizations, welfare policies and work places in Denmark and I have done comparative research across the EU.

Current research

My current research concerns digital finance, credit and social and theoretical issues related to problematic debt. This research combines a focus on the development of financial capitalism and the digitalization of money with credit consumption and debt among private households. I am interested in emerging organizational and regulatory forms emerging in digital finance and apply anthropological theories to create new understandings of credit, debt risk and default debt. My research has a particular focus on young adults, who have turned out to be vulnerable actors in the digital credit economy.  On the one hand they move with confidence in digital settings, on the other, they have a high risk of getting into debt.  Empirically, my focus is Denmark and the Scandinavian countries, and the regulatory role played by the welfare state. In continuation of this, I also look into changing credit markets. This research focuses on changing business models in credit evaluation, drawing on big data and algorithmic predictions. I look into the relationship between credit consumers and financial institutions and analyze how various business models shape this relationship. I am currently partner in a Norwegian research project: WellDebt, financed by the Norwegian Research Council. This project investigates the interrelationship between ill-health, payment problems and labour market marginalization with the aim of revealing the role of welfare policies and welfare schemes.


I teach and supervise in areas of economic anthropology, including consumption, finance, and organization(s), labour market and welfare.

Selected publications

Hohnen, P., Gram, M. and Böcker Jakobsen, T. (2019) ‘Debt as the new Credit or Credit as the new Debt? A Cultural Analysis of Credit Consumption among Danish Young Adults’, Journal of Youth Studies, vol 23, no. 3, pp. 356-370.

Hohnen, P. (2017) ‘Poverty, financing and social exclusion in consumption research’. Routledge Handbook on Consumption. Eds. Margit Keller et al. London: Routledge, pp. 259-270.

Hohnen, P. (2003) A Market out of Place? Remaking Economic, Social and Symbolic Boundaries in post-Communist Lithuania, Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hohnen, P. (2020) ‘Debt is what happens while…The emerging field of digital finance and precaritization in everyday lives of young Danes’, in Sen, A. Lindquist, J. and Kolling M. (eds.)Who's cashing in?: Contemporary perspectives on new monies and global cashlesness Berghahn Books, pp. 32-45. 

Hohnen, P., and Hasle P. (2011) ‘Making work environment auditable – a ‘critical case’ study of certified occupational health and safety management systems in Denmark’. Safety Science. Vol. 49, No. 7, 2011, pp. 1022-1029.

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