Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

Managing and Lead Editor: Luisa Steur, University of Amsterdam

Editor-at-Large: Don Kalb, University of Bergen

Subjects: Anthropology

Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 2024 (2024): Issue 98 (Mar 2024): Affective regimes of care beyond humanitarian crisis. Guest editors: Heike Drotbohm and Hansjörg Dilger

Issue 99 (2024)
Table of Contents

Theme section: Navigating (im)mobility rules
Guest editors: Ignacio Fradejas-García and Noel B. Salazar

Mobility rules: An anthropological introduction
Ignacio Fradejas-García and Noel B. Salazar

The “system” as another sea: Contrasting mobility rules and migrant navigations
Dawit Tesfay Haile and Joris Schapendonk

Ruling out rescue at sea? Rohingya, maritime escapes, and the criminalization of smugglers-cum-rescuers in Indonesia
Antje Missbach

At the time of the “backway”: Mobility rules and moral breakdown from the standpoint of a rural Gambian community
Elia Vitturini and Alice Bellagamba

Infrapolitical mobilities: Precarious migrants and resistance to European rules of mobility
Ignacio Fradejas-García and Kristín Loftsdóttir

(Un)ruly relationalities: Navigating mobility rules in the Italian asylum system
Viola Castellano

General articles
Italian alliances between commoning and law: Framing new rules by challenging rules in Naples
Antonio Vesco and Alexandros Kioupkiolis

A mutable space: Identity in the ruins of a polyethnic town camp, Outback Australia
Alana Brekelmans

Acteon’s tears reversed
João Pina-Cabral

Volume 2024, 3 issues per volume (spring, summer, winter)

Aims & Scope

Focaal – Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology is a peer-reviewed journal advocating an approach that rests in the simultaneity of ethnography, processual analysis, local insights, and global vision. It is at the heart of debates on the ongoing conjunction of anthropology and history, as well as the incorporation of local research settings in the wider spatial networks of coercion, imagination, and exchange that are often glossed as "globalization" or "empire."

Seeking contributions on all world regions, Focaal is unique among anthropology journals for consistently rejecting the old separations between "at home" and "abroad," "center" and "periphery." The journal therefore strives for the resurrection of an "anthropology at large" that can accommodate issues of the global south, postsocialism, mobility, metropolitan experience, capitalist power, and popular resistance into integrated perspectives.


Focaal is indexed/abstracted in:

  • Abstracts in Anthropology (Baywood)
  • Anthropological Literature (Tozzer Library – Harvard University)
  • Anthropological Index (RAI)
  • Bibliometric Research Indicator List (BFI)  – Level 2
  • Biography Index (Ebsco)
  • Cabell's Directory
  • Current Bibliography on African Affairs (Baywood)
  • Current Contents/Social & Behaviorial Sciences (Web of Science)
  • Electronic Current Contents of Periodicals on the Middle East (Dayan Center)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH PLUS)
  • IBR – International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature on the Humanities and Social Sciences (De Gruyter)
  • IBZ – International Bibliography of Periodical Literature in the Humanities and Social Sciences (De Gruyter)
  • IBSS – International Bibliography of the Social Sciences (Proquest)
  • MLA Directory of Periodicals
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • National Library of Medicine (PubMed)
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers
  • Periodicals Acquisitions (Proquest)
  • Scopus (Elsevier)
  • Social Sciences Abstracts (Ebsco)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • Social Sciences Index (Ebsco)
  • Social Services Abstracts (Proquest)
  • Sociological Abstracts (Proquest)
  • Sustainability Science Abstracts (Proquest)
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (Proquest)

Focaal blog logoVisit FocaalBlog, a blog that seeks to serve as an intellectually vibrant, socially astute, and genuinely cosmopolitan platform for the discussion of anthropological research. In particular it seeks to strengthen a historical, relational, and world-anthropology of the big issues that confront humanity—in all of its situated differences and amid all of the interconnected inequalities and unevenness.

Managing and Lead Editor
Luisa Steur, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands

Don Kalb, University of Bergen, Norway

Charlotte Bruckerman, University of Cologne, Germany
Natalia Buier, University of Barcelona, Spain
Geoffrey Aung, University of Vienna, Austria
Stephen Campbell, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Alina-Sandra Cucu, Institute of Cultural Inquiry, Berlin, Germany
Zoltan Glück, American University, Washington D.C., USA
Aaron Kappeler, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, UK
Dimitra Kofti, Panteion University, Athens, Greece
Christopher Krupa, University of Toronto, Canada
Patrick Neveling, Bournemouth University, UK
Elisabeth Schober, University of Oslo, Norway
Steve Striffler, University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA
Anne-Christine Trémon, EHESS (Centre Chine Corèe Japon) Paris, France
Theodora Vetta, University of Barcelona, Spain
Oane Visser, International Institute of Social Studies, The Hague, Netherlands

Deputy Managing Editor
Tilde Siglev, Central European University, Vienna, Austria
Editorial Board
Sharryn Kasmir, Hofstra University, New York, USA
Mao Mollona, University of Bologna, Italy
Mathijs Pelkmans, London School of Economics, UK
Oscar Salemink, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Alpa Shah, London School of Economics, UK
Gavin Smith, University of Toronto, Canada

Consulting Editors
George Baca, City University of New York (CUNY), USA, and Dong-A University, Busan, South Korea
Sarah Benabou, PaLoc - IRD-MNHN, Paris, France
Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
Leigh Binford, City University of New York (CUNY), USA
Anton Blok, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Glenn Bowman, University of Kent, UK
Ayse Çaglar, University of Vienna, Austria
Gus Carbonella, Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, Canada
Manuela Ciotti, University of Vienna, Austria
Ismael García Colón, Staten Island and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
Donald Donham, University of California at Davis, USA
Hastings Donnan, The Queen's University Belfast, UK
Ger Duijzings, University of Regensburg, Germany
Marc Edelman, Hunter College and City University of New York (CUNY), USA
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, Chappel Hill, USA
Jaume Franquesa, University at Buffalo, USA
Halleh Ghorashi, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
Lesley Gill, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, USA
Andre Gingrich, University of Vienna, Austria
Nina Glick Schiller, University of New Hampshire, USA, and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
Don Handelman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
Holly High, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge, UK
Willy Jansen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Nicolas Jaoul, IRIS-EHESS, Paris, France
Tobias Kelly, University of Edinburgh, UK
Orvar Löfgren, Lund University, Sweden
Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Jeremy MacClancy, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Carly Machado, Universidade Federal Rural do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Hans Marks, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Marek Mikuš, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
Birgit Müller, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris, France
Jan Newberry, University of Lethbridge, Canada
David Nugent, Emory University, Atlanta, USA
Wil G. Pansters, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Suren Pillay, University of the Western Cape, South Africa
Steve Reyna, University of New Hampshire, USA, and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle, Germany
Donald Robotham, The Graduate Center, City University of New York, USA
Roger Rouse, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, USA
Rosanne Rutten, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Irene Silverblatt, Duke University, Durham, USA
Valeria Siniscalchi, EHESS (Centre Norbert Elias), Marseille, France
Peter Skalnik, University of Pardubice, Czech Republic
Richard Staring, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands
Michael Stewart, University College London, UK
Maruska Svasek, The Queen's University of Belfast, UK
Kristóf Szombati, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary
Katherine Verdery, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), USA
Hadas Weiss, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany


General Submission Guidelines

Please review the submission and style guidelines carefully before submitting.

  • Use concise titles.
  • Do not use notes for referencing.
  • Provide acknowledgments under a separate heading.
  • Provide page numbers for all quotations.
  • Reference lists should include full names (not just initials) of authors.
  • Do not capitalize titles, subtitles, or referenced book titles.
  • Follow Focaal style of reference (see samples in Style Guide).

Theme Section Proposals

Proposals should include:

  • A 1-page introduction outlining original contribution/theoretical intervention of theme section
  • A list of abstracts of proposed articles
  • Short biographical notes of authors and theme section editor(s)

Theme Section

  • Will be 40,000 words maximum (all included -- i.e. including abstract, notes, references, author bios and acknowledgements). This means  3 to 5 articles plus an introduction, with each article itself being 8000 words max. Theme section articles should cohere in an obvious and interesting manner.
  • Will include an introduction that lays out substantively the intellectual program behind the theme section: how does the theme section intervene in existing debates in anthropology?
  • Will include a picture for the cover of the volume, referred to in the introduction. The picture should be:
    • of good technical quality (pixel density suitable for printing, well-composed)
    • reflect in an interesting and original manner the theme of the section as well as the general mission of the journal (as stated in the journal blurb)
    • available in terms of copyright
  • Theme section articles should include:
    • an abstract of 125 words (no verbatim sections from text)
    • list of 5 to 8 keywords
    • biographical note of 100 words
    • contact e-mail of author

General Articles

Articles should be 8,000 words maximum (all included -- i.e. including abstract, notes, references, author bios and acknowledgements) and include:

  • an abstract of 125 words (no verbatim sections from text)
  • a list of 5 to 8 keywords
  • a biographical note of 100 words
  • contact e-mail of author

Forum Articles

Articles should be 5,000 words maximum (all included -- i.e. including abstract, notes, references, author bios and acknowledgements) and include:

  • a biographical note of 100 words
  • contact e-mail of author

Style: few references, more free essayist and assertive, experimental writing, including much local detail in the narrative and presenting a more personal voice. Authors are encouraged to bring forward a strong intellectual/political statement, accompanied by reportage.

Review Articles

Review articles are expected to provide a balanced discussion of the works reviewed, taking into account their intrinsic value. Although the editors welcome critical contributions to ongoing debates, we discourage inappropriate remarks, such as gratuitous or personal attacks, and reserve the right to reject reviews deemed unfitting or unsubstantial. Fairness is a paramount criterion in Focaal reviews.

Reviews should be submitted electronically to Focaal's book review editor, Christopher Krupa, at We ask reviewers to check for acknowledgment of receipt within two weeks. The book review editor, sometimes assisted by other members of Focaal or experts on the topic, will go through the submitted reviews and ask the reviewer for revision of the article where necessary.

Focaal's policy is to commission review articles to specialists on a given topic. In some cases, authors of the works reviewed may also be invited to send in a response for publication in Focaal. We do welcome spontaneous offers of reviews/responses that are relevant to Focaal. We ask contributors, however, to coordinate such initiatives with the book review editor.

When writing your review article, please follow the following guidelines:

  • A review article should be 3,000 words max (all included -- i.e. including abstract, notes, references, author bios and acknowledgements).
  • At least two books should be discussed. We encourage the review of works with contrasting approaches to a given topic.
  • For reasons of fairness, articles should first offer a sensitive commentary on the main argument of the different books before engaging in critical, comparative debate with the authors on their theoretical or ethnographic conclusions.
  • Rather than simply summarizing or listing each chapter of the books or edited volumes, we expect the reviewer to offer substantive reflections on, for example, the soundness of the theory and methodology, the style of argumentation, the possible impact of the work on ongoing debates, the ethical/political implications of the chosen approach, or the relevance of the work for particular research agendas. When reviewing an edited volume, do not feel that you must write about, or even mention, every chapter. Instead please describe the overall focus of the volume, pick a few significant contributions, and discuss those in detail.
  • We ask reviewers to avoid lengthy direct quotations.
  • For correct referencing, placement of notes, and other style guidelines please see the Style Guide for samples.
  • Though we welcome the review of books from any social science discipline, we do ask authors to be explicit about the relevance of works from outside the discipline of anthropology to ongoing debates within anthropology broadly defined.

Please submit manuscripts and address all editorial correspondence to:

Tilde Siglev, Deputy Managing Editor

Have other questions? Please refer to the Berghahn Info for Authors page for general information and guidelines including topics such as article usage and permissions for Berghahn journal article authors.

License Agreement

As part of the Berghahn Open Anthro initiative, articles in Focaal are published open access under a Creative Commons license.

Authors must visit our License Options page to select and download their preferred license agreement. Completed and signed forms should be sent to

Ethics Statement

Authors published in Focaal certify that their works are original and their own. The editors certify that all materials, with the possible exception of editorial introductions, book reviews, and some types of commentary, have been subjected to double-blind peer review by qualified scholars in the field. While the publishers and the editorial board make every effort to see that no inaccurate or misleading data, opinions, or statements appear in this journal, they wish to make clear that the data and opinions appearing in the articles herein are the sole responsibility of the contributor concerned. For a more detailed explanation concerning these qualifications and responsibilities, please see the complete Focaal ethics statement.

Annual Subscriptions

Volume 2024, 3 issues p.a. (spring, summer, winter)
ISSN 0920-1297 (Print) • ISSN 1558-5263 (Online)
(rates include handling & surface postage)

Free Sample Issue
Recommend to Your Library


Contact Berghahn or your subscription agent to subscribe/renew:

2024 Pricing

Institutional Rate (Print & Online)*
$431.00 / £231.00 / €294.00

Institutional Rate (Online Only)*
$359.00 / £210.00 / €267.00

*Tier 1 pricing. In 2024, we have introduced a new tiered pricing system. We aim to provide smaller institutions and cultural institutions with fair pricing that correlates to their size and/or number of patrons served. The tier breakdowns and explanations are noted here. To view all 2024 tier rates, please click here. Please email for questions about your institution's tier classification.

Individual Rate (Print & Online)
$59.95 / £39.95 / €49.95 / Purchase here

Individual Rate (Online Only)
$34.95 / £22.95 / €30.00 / Purchase here

Student Rate (Online Only)
$19.95 / £13.95 / €15.95 / Purchase here*
*must include valid student ID

Single issues:
Contact Berghahn for pricing and availability.

Please direct all inquiries regarding subscription to

Berghahn Journals Subscriptions
c/o Berghahn Books
20 Jay Street, Suite 502
Brooklyn, NY 11201
Phone: 212-233-6004

Don't have a subscription? Find other ways to access the journal here, or recommend the journal to your library.


General Editors:

August Carbonella, Memorial University of Newfoundland
Don Kalb, University of Bergen & Utrecht University
Linda Green, University of Arizona

The immense dislocations and suffering caused by neo-liberal globalization, the retreat of the welfare state in the last decades of the twentieth-century and the heightened military imperialism at the turn of the 21st century have raised urgent questions about the temporal and spatial dimensions of power. Through stimulating critical perspectives and new and cross-disciplinary frameworks, which reflect recent innovations in the social and human sciences, this series provides a forum for politically engaged, ethnographically informed, and theoretically incisive responses.

  • Collapse
  • Expand

Focaal is a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-open initiative. Launched in 2020, BOA-S2O has successfully converted a collection of 16 anthropology journals to full Open Access using S2O as its equitable and sustainable model of choice.


This article explores some concerns about the concept of neo-liberalism, suggesting that it has been stretched too far to be productive as a critical analytical tool. Neo-liberalism suffers from promiscuity (hanging out with various theoretical perspectives), omnipresence (treated as a universal or global phenomenon), and omnipotence (identified as the cause of a wide variety of social, political and economic changes). Alternative ways of treating neo-liberalism as more contingent and contested are considered. These emphasize its mobile and flexible character, stressing processes of contextual assemblage, articulation, and translation. The article concludes by wondering whether the concept of neo-liberalism is now so overused that it should be retired.

Nonrecording the “European refugee crisis” in Greece

Navigating through irregular bureaucracy


This article explores nonrecording on the borders of Europe during the “European refugee crisis” in 2015. It examines the ambiguous practices of border control and the diverse actors involved. Taking the island of Lesvos as its starting point, the article interrogates how state functionaries manage an “irregular” bureaucracy. Irregular bureaucracy is approached as an essential element of statecraft, rather than an indication of state failure. Nonrecording is thus a crucial site of contestation between the state, nonstate agents, and the government, as well as between Greece and “Europe.” Nevertheless, despite the prevalence of irregularity, the imagery associated with ideal bureaucracy—a system of absolute knowledge, control, and governance of populations—is powerful; and yet, the actors are fully aware that it is a fantasy.

The Greek economic crisis resonates across Europe as synonymous with corruption, poor government, austerity, financial bailouts, civil unrest, and social turmoil. The search for accountability on the local level is entangled with competing rhetorics of persuasion, fear, and complex historical consciousness. Internationally, the Greek crisis is employed as a trope to call for collective mobilization and political change. Drawing on ethnographic research conducted in Trikala, central Greece, this article outlines how accountability for the Greek economic crisis is understood in local and international arenas. Trikala can be considered a microcosm for the study of the pan-European economic turmoil as the “Greek crisis“ is heralded as a warning on national stages throughout the continent.

Immaterial and industrial labor

On false binaries in Hardt and Negri's trilogy

At the core of Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri's thesis that a new global form of sovereignty has replaced a previous imperialist geography is their claim that the capitalist mode of production has undergone a shift from a modern era in which “industrial labor“ was hegemonic to a postmodern era in which “immaterial labor“ has become hegemonic. In this article, I argue that capitalism in Europe (let alone other areas of the world) does not conform to this model. I draw on the history of Italian manufacturing and on my ethnographic research on the silk industry of northern Italy to question the analytic usefulness of their distinction between “industrial“ and “immaterial“ labor and to show that the latter has always been crucial to industrial production. I conclude that Hardt and Negri's attempt to expand the definition of productive labor to include the “multitude“ unwittingly parallels an emerging discourse that serves to legitimate transnational hierarchies of labor.

Social security and care after socialism

Reconfigurations of public and private

State frameworks for welfare and social security have been subject to processes of privatization, decentralization, and neoliberal reform in many parts of the world. This article explores how these developments might be theorized using anthropological understandings of social security in combination with feminist perspectives on care. In its application to post-1989 socioeconomic transformation in the former socialist region, this perspective overcomes the conceptual inadequacies of the "state withdrawal" model. It also illuminates the nuanced ways in which public and private (as spaces, subjectivities, institutions, moralities, and practices) re-emerge and change in the socialist era as well as today, continually shaping the trajectories and outcomes of reforms to care and social security.