Social Analysis

The International Journal of Anthropology

Penny Harvey,
University of Manchester
Martin Holbraad, University College London
Hans Steinmüller, London School of Economics

Subjects: Anthropology, Political and Social Theory, Social Sciences

 Available on JSTOR 

Call for Editors

Call for Special Issues

Thanks to Reviewers

Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 67 (2023): Issue 3 (Sep 2023)

Volume 67 / 2023, 4 issues per volume (spring, summer, autumn, winter)

Aims & Scope

Social Analysis is an international peer-reviewed journal devoted to exploring the analytical potentials of anthropological research. It encourages contributions grounded in original empirical research that critically probe established paradigms of social and cultural analysis. The journal expresses the best that anthropology has to offer by exploring in original ways the relationship between ethnographic materials and theoretical insight. By forging creative and critical engagements with cultural, political, and social processes, it also opens new avenues of communication between anthropology and the humanities as well as other social sciences.

The journal publishes four issues per year, including regular Special Issues on particular themes. The Editors welcome individual articles that focus on diverse topics and regions, reflect varied theoretical approaches and methods, and aim to appeal widely within anthropology and beyond. Proposals for Special Issues are selected by the Editorial Board through an annual competitive call.

Before submitting articles to Social Analysis, authors are advised to read the Editor’s detailed advice as to what makes a good submission.


Social Analysis is indexed/abstracted in:

  • Anthropological Literature (Ebsco)
  • Anthropological Literature (Tozzer Library – Harvard University)
  • Bibliography of Asian Studies (Association for Asian Studies)
  • Bibliometric Research Indicator List (BFI) – Level 2
  • Biography Index (Ebsco)
  • British Humanities Index (ProQuest)
  • Current Abstracts (Ebsco)
  • Current Bibliography on African Affairs (Baywood)
  • European Reference Index for the Humanities and the Social Sciences (ERIH)
  • International Bibliography of Social Sciences (IBSS)
  • International Political Science Abstracts Database (Ebsco)
  • IBR – International Bibliography of Book Reviews of Scholarly Literature on the Humanities and Social Sciences (De Gruyter)
  • IBZ – International Bibliography of Periodical Literature (De Gruyter)
  • Left Index (Ebsco)
  • MLA Directory of Periodicals
  • MLA International Bibliography
  • Norwegian Register for Scientific Journals, Series and Publishers – Level 2
  • Periodicals Index Online (ProQuest)
  • Scopus (Elsevier)
  • Social Services Abstracts (ProQuest)
  • Social Sciences Abstracts (Ebsco)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Clarivate Analytics)
  • Social Sciences Citation Index (Web of Science)
  • Social Sciences Index (Ebsco)
  • SocINDEX (Ebsco)
  • Sociological Abstracts (ProQuest)
  • South Pacific Periodicals Index
  • Worldwide Political Science Abstracts (ProQuest) 

Penny Harvey, University of Manchester, UK
Martin Holbraad, University College London, UK
Hans Steinmüller, London School of Economics, UK

Editorial Assistant: 
Fred Hoacheng LAI, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK

Editoral Board:
Omolade Adunbi, University of Michigan, USA
Andrea Bandak, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Christobal Bonelli, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Matthew Carey, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Michael Cepek, University of Texas at San Antonio, USA
Allen Chun, Academia Sinica, Taiwan
Nélia Dias, ISCTE - Lisbon University Institute, Portugal
Carlos Fausto, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Caterina Guenzi, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, France
Andrea-Luz Gutierrez-Choquevilca, École Pratique des Hautes Études, France
Ghassan Hage, University of Melbourne, Australia
Laurie Hart, University of California, USA
Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University, USA
Holly High, Deakin University, Australia
Hannah Knox, University College London, UK
Yongjia Liang, Zhejiang University, China
Atsuro Morita, Osaka University, Japan
Erik Mueggler, University of Michigan, USA
Johannes Neurath, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de México, México
Patrick Neveling, Bournemouth University, UK
Esra Ozyurek, University of Cambridge, UK
Maja Petrovic-Steger, Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, Slovenia
Alessandro Rippa, University of Oslo, Norway
Knut Rio, University of Bergen, Norway
Todd Sanders, University of Toronto, Canada
Rupert Stasch, University of Cambridge, UK
Olga Ulturgasheva, University of Manchester, UK
Soumhya Venkatesan, University of Manchester, UK
Chika Watanabe, University of Manchester, UK

Founding Editor: 
Bruce Kapferer, University of Bergen, Norway

Manuscript Submission

Before submitting articles to Social Analysis, authors are advised to read the editors' detailed advice as to what makes a good submission, as well as the journal’s submission and style guide.

Articles should be submitted via our online platform: OJS Submissions Platform.

All contributions are externally refereed by scholars of international repute. We place a premium on the rapid processing of manuscripts, and contributors can expect to be appraised of their manuscript’s progress at every stage. For further information, please contact the editors.

When considering whether to submit an article to Social Analysis, authors should take into account the journal's Aims and Scope.

General Guidelines

Articles should be submitted as word attachments, formatted as Microsoft Word or Rich Text Format files. Submissions should be 6,000 to 8,000 words (including endnotes and references) and include an abstract of not more than 125 words and 5 to 8 keywords.

The journal's style guide is available in PDF format: Social Analysis Style Guide. This includes submission requirements of artwork (illustrations, maps, tables, and figures). The guide is based on The Chicago Manual of Style (CMS), 16th edition, and uses US punctuation and spelling, following Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Manuscripts accepted for publication that do not conform to the Social Analysis style guide will be returned to the author for amendment.

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.

Special Issues

Social Analysis publishes up to two Special Issues per year. These are selected through an annual Call for Special Issue Proposals.

Our current call for proposals is available above. The shortlisting of proposals will be conducted in consultation with the journal's new Editorial Board. The guest editors of shortlisted proposals will be invited to submit the complete manuscript of the Special Issue. The manuscripts will then go to peer review, and the final selection will be announced.

Special Issue proposals should be up to 2,000 words and include (a) a brief description of the theme and focus, including an explanation of the rationale for its selection of articles; (b) an account of its contribution to the existing literature; (c) an explanation of how the Special Issue addresses the journal's Aims and Scope; (d) abstracts of no longer than 125 words for each article, indicating expected word length (including endnotes and references); (e) an indication of the state of the manuscript at the time of proposal (e.g., whether drafts of the articles are already available, whether the introduction has been written, whether an afterword is pending).

Please note that Special Issues can have a total word count of no more than 66,000 words (including endnotes and references). So, including the introduction, this would typically include 8 articles of up to 8,000 words each, or 9 to 10 substantially shorter articles.

License Agreement

As part of the Berghahn Open Anthro initiative, articles in Social Analysis 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 Social Analysis 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 every effort is made by the publishers and the editorial board 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 Analysis ethics statement.

Annual Subscriptions

Volume 68/2024, 4 issues p.a. (spring, summer, autumn, winter)
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Studies in Social Analysis

General Editors:

Judith Bovensiepen, University of Kent, UK
Martin Holbraad, University College London, UK
Hans Steinmüller, London School of Economics, UK

By forging creative and critical engagements with cultural, political, and social processes, anthropology explores the potential of social analysis to open new paths for thinking about human phenomena.

The focus of this series is on ‘analysis’, understood not as a synonym of 'theory', but as the fertile meeting-ground of the empirical and the conceptual. It provides a platform for exploring anthropological approaches to social analysis in all of their variety, and in doing so seeks also to open new avenues of communication between anthropology and the humanities as well as other social sciences.

Critical Interventions: A Forum for Social Analysis

General Editor:

Bruce Kapferer, University of Bergen

Short and succinct, the essays presented in these volumes excite debate on issues of global moment that impact on everyday lives in diverse regional areas and expose readers to information that is not widely available in the media.

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Social Analysis 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.

Active Waiting and Changing Hopes

Toward a Time Perspective on Protracted Displacement


This article introduces a time perspective on 'protracted displacement' and seeks to theorize 'agency-in-waiting' through a focus on the ways in which people simultaneously carry on during displacement, feel trapped in the present, and actively relate to alternative notions of the future. The article analyzes the protracted case of internally displaced Georgians from Abkhazia and the dominant discourse of return that characterizes their lives in displacement. Changing notions of hope are analyzed in order to understand the role that an uncertain future plays and the potential for agency that people develop during displacement. Agency-in-waiting and future perspectives, it is suggested, contribute valuable conceptual and political dimensions to the ways in which protracted displacement can be understood and addressed.

Pentecostal Networks and the Spirit of Globalization

On the Social Productivity of Ritual Forms


Pentecostal Christianity has in the last several decades demonstrated an ability to globalize with great speed and to flourish in social contexts of poverty and disorganization in which other social institutions have been unable to sustain themselves. This article asks why Pentecostalism should be so successful at institution building in harsh environments. I argue that this question is more fundamental than those scholars more often ask about the kinds of compensations that Pentecostalism provides for its adherents. I then draw on Collins's theory of interaction ritual chains to suggest that it is Pentecostalism's promotion of ritual to the center of social life that grounds its unusual institution-building capacity.


Flight and Exile—Uncertainty in the Context of Conflict-Induced Displacement

This introduction addresses the ways in which flight and exile create particular types of uncertainty, including both radical and protracted, in people's lives. We argue that the concept of uncertainty, in its meaning of imperfect knowledge and the unpredictability of the future, is central to studies that theorize conflict-induced displacement, transit, and refugeeness. We start with an exploration of the spatial and temporal aspects of uncertainty in situations of displacement, and within that we discuss how uncertainty functions as a governing mechanism. We then analyze the ways that refugees and those internally displaced navigate situations of radical and protracted uncertainty. This article and those that follow in this special issue suggest that in our analysis of conflict-induced displacement, we must understand uncertainty rather than certainty as the norm.

Cementing Relations

The Materiality of Roads and Public Spaces in Provincial Peru


This article sets out to analyze how concrete is implicated in the transformation of public space in provincial Peru. While concrete enhances a state's capacity to produce reliable, predictable structures, there are also significant limits in relation to its connective capacity in both the material and social domains. Ethnographic attention to the relational dynamics of concrete reveals how its promise to operate as a generic, homogeneous, and above all predictable material is constantly challenged by the instability and heterogeneity of the terrains to which it is applied. The image of power that concrete affords is thus a compromised one, as the stability and predictability of this substance is secure only insofar as it is surrounded by and embedded in specific relationships of care.

Governing through Uncertainty

Experiences of Being a Refugee in Turkey as a Country for Temporary Asylum

This article addresses the question of how to theorize the relation between uncertainty and governmentality with regard to displacement and its consequences. It explores the experiences of asylum seekers in Turkey and the bureaucratic processes of refugee status determination, local dispersal, and third country resettlement, illustrating two main points throughout. First, 'protracted uncertainty', characterized by indefinite waiting, limited knowledge, and unpredictable legal status, is a central element of the experience of being an asylum seeker in Turkey. Second, this uncertainty serves to demobilize, contain, and criminalize asylum seekers through the production of protracted uncertainty, which in turn is normalized as a necessity of bureaucracy and/or security. The article invites readers to question the governmentalities of asylum and border regimes that not only discipline refugees' everyday movements but also determine the uncertainty of 'refugeeness'.