March 22, 2017

Special Issues


After Failure: Temporalities and Traces 

April 2023 | Volume 29, Issue S1 | Guest Editor: Catherine Alexander

Written during troubled times when failure seems to hang in the air, this volume follows failure out into the world, examining how it unfurls in diverse ethnographic settings ranging from post-welfare to postsocialist and postcolonial regimes, from multinational experimental collaborations to finance markets and domestic care… Where ‘failure’ suggests a once-and-for-all judgement, what emerges from investigating its aftermaths is something that resists containment and a singular way of knowing.

Find the full issue here.


Simon Coleman

Writing failure: knowledge production, temporalities, ethics, and traces
Catherine Alexander

The paradoxes of failure in post-welfare: an auto-ethnography of caregiver labour for disabled persons in New York State
Joshua Reno

On the double social life of failure
Madeleine Reeves

Failure and moral distinction in a Ukrainian marketplace of ideas
Taras Fedirko

Routine failure in Macedonia: a critique of the Global Financial Crisis from the periphery
Fabio Mattioli

Make me a test and I will save the world: towards an anthropology of the possible in global health
Alice Street

Suspending failure: temporalities, ontologies, and gigantism in fusion energy development
Catherine Alexander

The pragmatism of continual failure: environmental policy as experimentation in China
Charlotte Bruckermann

After Grenfell: accumulation, debris, and forming failure in London
Constance Smith

A failing anthropology of colonial failure: following a driver’s uniform found at Amani research station, Tanzania
P. Wenzel Geissler

Afterword: Failed projects
Catherine Fennell

Competition Details

The JRAI runs a yearly competition for Special Issues. For details of the current competition, please click here

To submit proposals and articles for the Special Issues, please email Jessica Turner, the RAI’s Publications Officer, at