Short Portrait: Ivo Strecker

Ivo Strecker
Ivo Strecker

Prof. Dr. em Ivo Strecker was born in Magdeburg in 1940. After being bombed out at the end of World War II, his family resettled in Lower Saxony, where some of their relatives were living. Strecker grew up in a liberal and artistic household. He developed an early interest in traveling and literature as well as in foreign cultures. Strecker finished school in 1961.

After moving to Hamburg and working on a boat, Strecker took up his studies in 1962. He first visited lectures in Philosophy, Psychology and Sociology and eventually developed an interest in Anthropology. At the Hamburg Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology Erhard Schlesier was among his teachers.

Strecker also studied at the London School of Economics (LSE), where Raymond Firth and Karl Popper were among his teachers. After his return to Germany in 1964, he began to write his PhD thesis about british Social Anthropology and continued his studies in Göttingen. He graduated in 1969.

Between 1970 and 1974 Strecker and his wife Jean Lydall did their first long-term field researches in South Ethiopia, namely on the Hamar. During this period they not only collected data on the history, the social structure and the rituals of the Hamar but also began to work with audio and visual media. Between 1975 and 1977 they analyzed their ethnographic material and did further researches.

Based on their field work on the Hamar, Strecker and Lydall gradually published a large number of books, films and recordings since the mid-seventies. Moreover, Strecker developed a growing interest in Symbol Theory and Rhetoric Culture.

In 1983 Strecker completed his habilitation thesis. Since 1984 he held a professorship at the Department of Anthropology and African Studies in Mainz. There he not only gave lectures but regularly did field researches in South Ethiopia.

Between 1989 and 1993 Strecker was visiting professor at the University in Addis Ababa. Furthermore, he initiated the Rhetoric Culture Project in 1998 ( and became head of the South Omo Center in 2004. Strecker retired in 2005, he campaigns agains loudspeaker misuse and still edits the series Studies in Rhetoric and Culture.