Journal Information & Policies

Section Policies


This section invites submissions on the relationship between anthropology students and their fieldsites and how this is articulated, enacted, reinforced or transformed during the process of doing ethnographic research. In our effort to account for the diverse range of encounters while in the field and the various ways in which these are experienced, recorded and reflected upon by the researcher, we hope to provide a platform for sharing ideas about the nature of ethnographic fieldwork as a lived and embodied experience.

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This section seeks to provide a creative space for exploring anthropological issues in the widest sense. We look forward to sharing work ranging from poetry and fiction to drawings and music that convey a different sense of being and understanding the social world we inhabit. We also hope to address how art can inspire anthropologists to better understand their subject matters, while providing an outlet that may reach a wider audience.

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In this section we enable postgraduates and early career researchers to share their research findings in relation to the generally broad theme of a particular journal issue.The essays can include ethnography and fieldwork-based research, but may also be entirely theoretical.In either case, they should be concise and express their argument in a way that can be easily understood by non-anthropological readers as well.

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This section aims at discussing and representing a wide range of visual materials, broadly categorised under the term ‘Visual Anthropology’. The use of photography, drawing, film and new media is very versatile and we hope to reflect this by sharing some great images and exploring their various purposes, including serving as field notes and memoire aides for the researcher, documenting experiences, illustrating and supporting in greater depth written arguments and bringing distant places ‘home’ to a wider audience.

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‘Parallel Essays’ is an experimental section featuring short articles on current issues pertaining to culture and society, analyzed from the standpoint of a non-anthropological discipline and published alongside an anthropologically informed response to the article. Through this, we seek to build interdisciplinary dialogue and reveal the potential of both anthropological and non-anthropological approaches to highlight fresh or surprising aspects of various topics treated by anthropology and other disciplines.

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We welcome reviews of both academic monographs and more popular works, as long as these are relatively recent and have some anthropological relevance.

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Peer Review Process

All submissions to The Unfamiliar are subject to anonymous peer-review. The Executive Editor and section editors will initially evaluate all submissions. Papers will then be passed on to no more than two reviewers, selected by their interest and competence in the area of the submitted paper.

We aim to return reviews within eight weeks. A decision on whether to accept or reject the paper, along with any recommendations and comments from the referees will be sent to the author by the editors, who hold the final decision on accepting or rejecting papers.

We decide on reviewers for a particular submission based on a variety of factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations of authors and academics, and the Editorial Team's own knowledge of a reviewer. As part of our editorial procedure, we regularly consult with potential reviewers before sending them papers to review.

Publication Frequency

The Unfamiliar will publish one special issue annually. And may consider a second guest editor(s) special issue proposals.

Open Access Policy

This journal provides immediate open access to its content under a CC BY-NC-SA licence, on the principle that making research freely available to the public supports a greater global exchange of knowledge.

This journal’s open access policy is in line with UK research funders’ policies.

Authors are not charged any APCs (Article Processing Charges) or other publication fees, and The Unfamiliar editors work on voluntary basis. 

Copyright Notice

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:

a. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.

More information on Creative Commons here:

b. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.

c. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).

d. Authors are required to make sure submitted content does not infringe third-party copyright. Authors must obtain permission to reproduce any third-party material for online – and print, if applicable – publication in perpetuity. It is also the authors’ responsibility to include any acknowledgements requested by copyright holders, and to mark clearly third-party material used with permission, material that has separate licensing terms, and material used under exceptions or limitations to copyright.

More information is available from the UK's Intellectual Property Office and Creative Commons.


It is not necessary to obtain permission to reuse articles published in this journal, provided that reuse is in line with the article’s Creative Commons licence and attribution to the author(s) and the published article is maintained. Please note that these terms do not extend to any material that has separate licensing terms specified or any material that is identified as being the copyright of a third party. Permission to reproduce third-party material must be obtained directly from the copyright holders concerned.


This journal utilizes the LOCKSS system to create a distributed archiving system among participating libraries and permits those libraries to create permanent archives of the journal for purposes of preservation and restoration. More...

Take Down Policy

What Edinburgh University Library will do if you believe content on this hosting platform infringes any person's rights, or applicable UK laws.

Journals on the Library’s platform are strongly encouraged to make every effort to ensure that published content does not infringe any person's rights, or applicable UK laws.

Should you discover content in this journal that you believe to be illegal, or infringes any of your statutory rights, you may contact the Library who will review the complaint.

On receipt of your complaint, the Scholarly Communications Team will:

  1. Make an initial assessment of its validity
  2. Acknowledge receipt of the complaint by email
  3. For all but spurious complaints, cease access to the item that is subject to complaint
  4. Refer the complaint to the University's Legal Advisor for comment and advice
  5. Seek to verify your identity and authority as complainant.

When the Service Manager has verified the authenticity of your complaint and has been advised that it is ostensibly legitimate, the article will be removed from public access, leaving behind the article abstract.

If the Legal Advisor confirms that it does not breach any law then the item will be reinstated.

Please contact:

Scholarly Communications Team, Edinburgh University Library
Floor F East, Argyle House
3 Lady Lawson Street


Please note the Library is staffed 9-5pm Monday-Friday

Journal History

Founded in 2009 by a group of social anthropology undergraduates at Edinburgh, The Unfamiliar aimed at making anthropology more accessible to a wider audience, reaching beyond academia, by blurring the boundaries between anthropology, art and fiction. Its first issue became a collaboration between students from the University of Edinburgh and the Edinburgh College of Art. It was published in March 2011 with the financial support of the Big Lottery Fund and the University of Edinburgh.

The current journal team has bolstered the main goal of increasing anthropology’s accessibility through a shift to open access online publishing and the second issue of The Unfamiliar became available online in May 2012.

Through the support of the Social Anthropology department and the student Social Anthropology Society at the University of Edinburgh, a limited number of copies were also made available in print.

Journal Sponsorship


Social Anthropology,
School of Social and Political Science,
University of Edinburgh
Chrystal Macmillan Building,
15a George Square,

University of Edinburgh

Privacy and Consent Policy

The data collected from registered and non-registered users of this journal falls within the scope of the standard functioning of peer-reviewed journals. It includes information that makes communication possible for the editorial process; it is used to inform readers about the authorship and editing of content; it enables collecting aggregated data on readership behaviours, as well as tracking geopolitical and social elements of scholarly communication.

This journal’s editorial team uses this data to guide its work in publishing and improving this journal. Data that will assist in developing this journal platform (Open Journal Systems – OJS) may be shared with its developer Public Knowledge Project (PKP) in an anonymized and aggregated form, with appropriate exceptions such as article metrics. The data will not be sold by this journal or PKP nor will it be used for purposes other than those stated here.

Registered users

Users who register with this journal, including authors and peer reviewers where applicable, consent to having the personal information being stored in the University’s journal hosting platform (OJS) and processed by the platform and journal editorial teams.


Authors who make a submission to this journal consent to the personal information they supply as part of the submission being stored in the University’s journal hosting platform (OJS) and processed by the platform and journal editorial teams. Authors who make a submission have the responsibility to ensure that all contributors have read this Privacy and Consent policy and consent to having their personal information that is supplied as part of the submission process being stored in the University’s journal hosting platform (OJS) and processed by the platform and journal editorial teams. Authors published in this journal are also responsible for the human subject data that figures in the research reported in the journal.

Website visitors

The University’s journal hosting platform (OJS) collects anonymised usage log data, including IP addresses, pages visited, date visited, browser information, and geographical data. This information is not used to identify visitors personally and it is not used for any purpose other what is described here. The platform also uses cookies to manage session history and provide a better user experience – more details can be found on the Cookies information page.

Rights of the Individual

Those involved in editing this journal seek to be compliant with industry standards for data privacy, including the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provision for “data subject rights” that include (a) breach notification; (b) right of access; (c) the right to be forgotten; (d) data portability; and (e) privacy by design. The GDPR also allows for the recognition of “the public interest in the availability of the data,” which has a particular saliency for those involved in maintaining, with the greatest integrity possible, the public record of scholarly publishing.

All users whose details are stored in the University’s OJS installation can exercise their rights of the individual, as they are detailed in the GDPR.

If you have a user account and wish to have it deleted, please email Edinburgh University Library at