February 3, 2018

Aims and Scope

The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute is the principal journal of the oldest anthropological organization in the world. International in scope, we publish papers aimed at a broad anthropological readership, from all areas of the discipline including social anthropology, linguistic anthropology, biological anthropology, and archaeology. We also publish work from other disciplines, where these relate to anthropology’s core interests and take forward debates in these areas. Papers in the JRAI should always be of broad anthropological interest and relevance. While we encourage submissions that are empirically based and regionally contextualised, it is important that the broader conceptual contribution is made clear. We are keen to promote work that opens up dialogue between the traditional sub-disciplines of anthropology and that explores the intersections with sister disciplines. We also encourage engagement with those voices within and beyond the discipline which have often been marginalised from the mainstream canon of Anglophone scholarship.

Our core focus has traditionally been on social anthropology. Many of our published papers develop theoretical interventions on the basis of ethnographic research, showing how the specifics of particular cases and contexts open out new ways of thinking. We also publish theoretical interventions in key debates where these are ethnographically informed.

We publish work in archaeology where it is clearly related to broader anthropological issues or engages closely with anthropological literature. Empirical research is encouraged but papers will be expected to develop an argument that moves beyond the specifics of presented cases.

In biological anthropology we welcome a broad range of high-quality submissions from across the sub-discipline, including (but not limited to) forensic anthropology, human behavioural ecology, primatology, biosocial anthropology, and evolutionary anthropology. Empirical papers may apply quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods, and we also welcome robust theoretical discussions and reviews. We particularly encourage submission of manuscripts which may be of interest to our broad readership across anthropology.

The JRAI is acclaimed for its extensive book review section, carrying reviews of books and other anthropological works as well as review essays.

We publish virtual issues, collecting previously published work on topical themes or using our back catalogue to explore and contextualise contemporary issues. If you are a PhD student or early career researcher, you can find further details on how to propose a virtual issue here.

Our Dialogues section opens out discussions on the possibilities and limits of the discipline through conversation with researchers working within and beyond anthropology.

We publish an annual themed special issue, competitively selected by the Royal Anthropological Institute’s publications committee. Further details on how to propose a volume are available on the RAI website.