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

Focaal is a part of the Berghahn Open Anthro subscribe-to-open initiative, a pilot aiming to convert 13 Anthropology journals to full Open Access on an on-going and sustainable basis.

Latest Issue Table of Contents

Volume 2020 (2020): Issue 88 (Dec 2020): Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism

Focaal 88
Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of state capitalism

Theme section
Introduction: Bringing the state back in: Corporate social responsibility and the paradoxes of Norwegian state capitalism in the international energy sector
Ståle Knudsen, Dinah Rajak, Siri Lange, and Isabelle Hugøy

Doing global investments the Nordic way: The “business case” for Equinor’s support to union work among its employees in Tanzania
Siri Lange 

Between social footprint and compliance, or “what IBAMA wants”: Equinor Brazil’s social sustainability policy
Iselin Åsedotter Strønen

Standardizing responsibility through the stakeholder figure: Norwegian hydropower in Turkey
Ståle Knudsen, Ingrid Birce Müftüoğlu, and Isabelle Hugøy 

General articles
Circling around the really Real in Iran: Ethnography of Muharram laments among Shi’i volunteer militants in the Middle East
Younes Saramifar 

Blurred memories: War and disaster in a Buddhist Sinhala village
Mara Benadusi 

From behind stall doors: Farming the Eastern German countryside in the animal welfare era
Amy Leigh Fields 

Book review
Work after precarity: Anthropologies of labor and wageless life
Rebecca Prentice 

In Memoriam
In Memoriam, Bonno Thoden van Velzen (1933–2020)
Erik Bähre 

Volume 2020, 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 (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, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Alina-Sandra Cucu, Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin, Germany
Zoltan Glück, City University of New York (CUNY), USA
Dimitra Kofti, Panteiom University, Athens, Greece
Christopher Krupa, University of Toronto, Canada
Elisabeth Schober, University of Oslo, Norway
Steve Striffler, University of Massachusetts, USA
Anne-Christine Trémon, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
Theodorra Vetta, University of Barcelona, Spain
Oane Visser, International Institute of Social Studies, Netherlands

Deputy Managing Editor
Tilde Siglev, Central European University, Hungary

Editorial Board
Sharryn Kasmir, Hofstra University, USA
Mao Mollona, Goldsmiths College, London, UK
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, South Korea
Keebet von Benda-Beckmann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, 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, Canada
Manuela Ciotti, Aarhus University, Denmark
Donald Donham, University of California at Davis, USA
Hastings Donnan, Queen's University Belfast, UK
Ger Duijzings, University College London, UK
Marc Edelman, Hunter College and City University of New York (CUNY), USA
Arturo Escobar, University of North Carolina, USA
Jonathan Friedmann, University of California at San Diego, USA, and EHESS, Paris, France
Halleh Ghorashi, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands
Andre Gingrich, University of Vienna, Austria
Christian Giordano, University of Fribourg, Switzerland
Nina Glick Schiller, University of New Hampshire, USA, and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Don Handelman, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel
Chris Hann, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Holly High, University of Sydney, Australia, and University of Cambridge, UK
Caroline Humphrey, University of Cambridge, UK
Willy Jansen, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Tobias Kelly, University of Edinburgh, UK
Orvar Löfgren, Lund University, Sweden
Christian Lund, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
Jeremy MacClancy, Oxford Brookes University, UK
Hans Marks, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands
Birgit Müller, Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris, France
David Nugent, Emory University, USA
Monique Nuijten, Wageningen University, Netherlands
Wil G. Pansters, Utrecht University, Netherlands
Steve Reyna, University of New Hampshire, USA, and Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Germany
Roger Rouse, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Irene Silverblatt, Duke University, USA
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
Bonno Thoden van Velzen, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands
Katherine Verdery, The Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), USA


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 (including notes and references)—that is, 3 to 5 articles plus introduction. 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 (including notes and references) 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 (including notes and references) 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 (including references and notes).
  • 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 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 2020, 3 issues p.a. (spring, summer, winter)
ISSN 0920-1297 (Print) • ISSN 1558-5263 (Online)
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Free Sample Issue
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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.