Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale

Dimitra Kofti, Panteion University, Greece
Isabelle Rivoal, National Centre for Scientific Research, France

Book Reviews Editor
Arne Harms, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Assistant Editor
Ville Laakkonen, Tampere University, Finland

Subjects: Anthropology, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Ethnology, Ethnography

EASA logoJournal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, the major professional organization for anthropologists in Europe.

EASA Membership includes an online subscription to this journal. Members can access the journal online here.



Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 32 (2024): Issue 1 (Mar 2024): Vital Matter: Icy Liveliness in the Anthropocene

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Volume 32, Issue 2
Table of Contents



Suspicion and Evidence: On the Complexities of Online Truth-Seeking in Times of Uncertainty
Mathijs Pelkmans

The Hau of the Article and Dividual Authors: Reimagining Authorship in Anthropology
Luther Blissett

Blocking the Exit: Research Ethics and Bureaucratic Writing Practices
Brendan Whitty

The Ends of Consent: Professional Ethics in the Context of Xinjiang (2021)
James McMurray

Laziness and Stinginess: The Negative Efficacy of Care and the Dynamics of Kinship in the Orinoco Delta, Venezuela
Olivier Allard

Religence: Conceptualising Posthuman Religion
Michael W. Scott

Review Article
Anthropology against Borders
Stephen Campbell


Volume 32 / 2024, 4 issues per volume (spring, summer, autumn, winter)

Aims & Scope

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale is the acclaimed Journal of the European Association of Social Anthropologists, the major professional organization for anthropologists in Europe. While European in profile, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale has a global scope. It publishes key contributions by both established and up-and-coming anthropologists. As part of the intellectual vitality of the Journal, it also features exciting Forums and Debates, an annual Review Essay which discusses outstanding books in adjoining disciplines or in public debate from an anthropological point of view, and a thriving Book Reviews Section.

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale est la Revue-phare de l’Association Européenne des Anthropologues Sociaux, la principale organisation professionnelle pour anthropologues en Europe. De profil Européen, cette Revue parmi les meilleures dans le domaine a une portée mondiale. Elle publie des articles-clés dont les auteurs sont des anthropologues établis comme des talents prometteurs. La vitalité intellectuelle de la Revue est également assurée par des ‘Débats’ et Forums reguliers dédiés aux sujets contemporais, un ‘Article de Revue’ examinant des ouvrages exceptionnels de disciplines voisines ou d’intérêt public actuel d’un point de vue anthropologique, et une excellente section ‘Revue des Livres’.


Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale is indexed/abstracted in:

  • Anthropological Index (Royal Anthropological Institute)
  • Anthropological Literature (Harvard University)
  • BIAB: British & Irish Archaeological Bibliography (biab online)
  • Current Contents: Social & Behavioral Sciences (Clarivate Analytics)
  • Expanded Academic ASAP (GALE Cengage)
  • InfoTrac (GALE Cengage)
  • ProQuest Sociology Collection (ProQuest)
  • Psychology Collection (GALE Cengage)
  • PsycINFO/Psychological Abstracts (APA)
  • Social Science Premium Collection (ProQuest)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics)
  • SocINDEX (EBSCO Publishing)
  • Web of Science (Clarivate Analytics)


Dimitra Kofti, Panteion University, Greece
Isabelle Rivoal, National Centre for Scientific Research, France

Book Reviews Editor

Arne Harms, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany

Assistant Editor

Ville Laakkonen, Tampere University, Finland

EASA Editorial Board

Ana Ivasiuc, University of Maynooth, Ireland
Alexandra Oancă, KU Leuven, Belgium
Hege Høyer Leivestad, University of Oslo, Norway
Roger Sansi Roca, University of Barcelona, Spain
Dominic Bryan, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland
Hayal Akarsu, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Monica Heintz, University of Paris Nanterre, France
David Mills, University of Oxford, UK

International Editorial Advisory Board

Adam Yet Chau, University of Cambridge, UK
Ammara Maqsood, University College London, UK
Andrew Dawson, University of Melbourne, Australia
Andrew Shryok, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA
Caitlin Zaloom, New York University, USA
Chris Gregory, Australian National University
Der-Ruey Yang, Nanjing University, China
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro, Museu Nacional, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Gabriella Coleman, McGill University, Canada
Gisela Welz, Goethe University, Germany
Hanna Cervinkova, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Hastings Donnan, Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland
Helena Wulff, Stockholm University, Sweden
Hugh Gusterson, George Washington University, USA
Jean-Sébastien Marcoux, HEC Montréal, Canada
Josiah Heyman, University of Texas at El Paso, USA
Mark Maguire, National University of Ireland, Maynooth
Martin Lamotte, L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales, France
Morten Axel Pedersen, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Nicholas de Genova, University of Houston, USA
Niko Besnier, Universiteit van Amsterdam, Netherlands
Nitzan Shoshan, Colegio de México, Mexico
Olivier Allard, L'École des hautes études en sciences sociales, France
Paolo Favero, University of Antwerp, Belgium
Paul Wenzel Geissler, University of Oslo, Norway
Peter Geschiere, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Sarah Green, University of Helsinki, Finland
Segei Abashin, European University at St Petersburg, Russia
Sophie Chevalier, Universite de Franche-Comte, France
Stephen Campbell, University of Bergen, Germany
Susana Narotzky, University of Barcelona, Spain
Todd Sanders, University of Toronto, Canada
Victor Buchli, University College, London, UK
Yael Navaro, University of Cambridge, UK

For a list of previous editors, click here.

Please review the submission and style guidelines carefully before submitting. 

Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale is a refereed journal. Articles, which may be in English or French, should be original and should not be under consideration elsewhere. Authors should submit their papers to Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale through Open Journals Systems (OJS).

To make an online manuscript submission, please visit

If for any reason you cannot use the online system, please contact the journal editors at

Articles should be no longer than 7000 words, including references and notes, but excluding the abstract. Articles may include an abstract in the language spoken in the main fieldsite.
Special Issue proposals will be considered twice a year. The first round will consider proposals submitted until January 1st, the second will consider proposals submitted unitil July 1st.
Preprints: Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale will consider for review articles available as preprints. We request that authors update any pre-publication versions with a link to the final published article.

How to contact us

Technical questions? Contact the Assistant Editor at

Editors’ Questions? Please contact either:

Dimitra Kofti, or
Isabelle Rivoal,

Book Reviews questions? Please contact

Books for review can be sent to:
Arne Harms
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology 
04116 Halle/Saale

Publication Ethics Statement

Authors published in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale 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 it 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 Social Anthropology/Anthropology sociale publication ethics statement.

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In 2022 Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale joined 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.

Worlds of sense and sensing the world

A response to Sarah Pink and David Howes


In a recent debate with Sarah Pink in the pages of , concerning the prospects for an anthropology that would highlight the work of the senses in human experience, David Howes objects to what I have myself written on this topic, specifically in my book (Ingold 2000). In doing so, he distorts my arguments on six counts. In this brief response, I set the record straight on each count, and argue for a regrounding of the virtual worlds of sense, to which Howes directs our attention, in the practicalities of sensing the world.


The anthropology of neoliberalism has become polarised between a hegemonic economic model anchored by variants of and an insurgent approach fuelled by derivations of the Foucaultian notion of . Both conceptions obscure what is ‘neo’ about neoliberalism: the reengineering and redeployment of the state as the core agency that sets the rules and fabricates the subjectivities, social relations and collective representations suited to realising markets. Drawing on two decades of field‐based inquiries into the structure, experience and political treatment of urban marginality in advanced society, I propose a between these two approaches that construes neoliberalism as an that harnesses the first to impose the stamp of the second onto the third. Bourdieu's concept of bureaucratic field offers a powerful tool for dissecting the revamping of the state as stratification and classification machine driving the neoliberal revolution from above and serves to put forth three theses: (1) neoliberalism is not an economic regime but a political project of state‐crafting that puts disciplinary ‘workfare’, neutralising ‘prisonfare’ and the trope of individual responsibility at the service of commodification; (2) neoliberalism entails a rightward tilting of the space of bureaucratic agencies that define and distribute public goods and spawns a Centaur‐state that practises liberalism at the top of the class structure and punitive paternalism at the bottom; (3) the growth and glorification of the penal wing of the state is an integral component of the neoliberal Leviathan, such that the police, courts and prison need to be brought into the political anthropology of neoliberal rule.

Beyond Failure

Bureaucratic Labour and the Will to Improve in Kenya's Experiments with Universal Health Care



In a radical move that recalled the egalitarian promises of Kenya's post-independence years, the Kenyan government recently made all public health care free, for residents in four counties, for a period of one year. Drawing on ethnographic research on these ambitions for ‘universal health coverage’, this article follows civil servants tasked with the delivery of public services as they attempt to translate an experimental policy into practice and encounter repeated and ongoing failure. These officials had long experiences of health system failures and did not expect success this time either. Yet, they planned and delivered interventions in a hopeful mood, maintaining a sense of purpose and bracketing a sense of doubt and cynicism. Utopian projects like universal health care offer interesting sites for ethnographic research – not only because of what they set out to achieve, but because of what they generate along the way, including hopeful engagements. I study how bureaucracy may be a site of hope and optimism in the post-colonial state's capacity to improve lives, even while bureaucrats have ample experience of its failures. I explore how bureaucrats sought to engage failure and success as partial and productive, allowing a space in which they could deliver some form of public good.

Dans un geste radical qui rappelle les promesses égalitaires des années post-indépendance du Kenya, le gouvernement kenyan a récemment rendu tous les soins de santé publics gratuits pour les résidents de quatre comtés, pendant un an. S'inspirant d'une recherche ethnographique sur ces expériences ambitieuses de « couverture sanitaire universelle », cet article suit des fonctionnaires chargés de fournir des services publics alors qu'ils tentent de mettre en pratique une politique expérimentale et se heurtent à des échecs répétés et constants. Ces fonctionnaires ne s'attendaient pas à la réussite et avaient une longue expérience des échecs du système de santé ; pourtant, ils ont planifié et réalisé des interventions dans un état d'esprit marqué par l'espoir, en maintenant un sens de l'objectif et en mettant entre parenthèses leurs doute ou leur cynisme. Les projets utopiques comme les soins de santé universels offrent des sites intéressants pour la recherche ethnographique, non seulement en raison de ce qu'ils visent à réaliser, mais aussi en raison de ce qu'ils génèrent en cours de route, y compris des engagements pleins d'espoir. J'étudie comment la bureaucratie peut être un lieu d'optimisme dans la capacité de l'État post-colonial à améliorer les vies, même si les bureaucrates ont une longue expérience de ses échecs. J'explore comment les bureaucrates ont cherché à engager l'échec et le succès comme partiels et productifs, permettant un espace dans lequel ils pourraient fournir une certaine forme de bien public.


The mountain or shore‐side cabin () represents a common leisure form for a significant proportion of the Norwegian population. Its roots can be traced to the decline of farming society, growing urbanisation and an emphasis on the outdoor life as part of 20th‐century state modernising projects. Throughout this modern history, and through periods of accelerated social change, the cabin has represented an ‘other’ form of domesticity. This paper makes the argument that far from representing an escape from post‐industrial consumer society, the prompts evaluation, comparison or negation of normative domesticity for its occupants. Many priorities such as getting back‐to‐nature and living the simple life are achieved best, paradoxically, through their material manifestation. Routine and rupture, and discourse surrounding farming culture artefacts are central in evoking contrast.