Revue d'anthropologie du contemporain

Call for Papers

The deadline for submission for this issue is 30 January 2014.

Edited by Enkelejda Sula-Raxhimi and Alexandra Dorca

The figure of the stranger, of the one who comes from abroad to settle down and stay, has been widely addressed by social sciences, denoting mainly the migrants and their relations with the established population (Simmel, 1964[1908]; Schütz, 2003[1975]; Kristeva, 1991; Wahnich, 1997; Cerutti, 2012; etc.). For Georg Simmel, the stranger is more than a person coming from far away; it is the other, the one who has been there, close and distant at the same time, similar to the group and yet so different. Drawing on the portrait of the Jews in the German society at the beginning of the 20 th century, Simmel depicts the paradoxes of the coexistence of inclusion and exclusion, noting the non-relation between a group spatially determined and its strangers. This relationship between distance and proximity is more than just an oxymoron; it is the space where relations are shaped and in which social tension occurs between these two groups. Several authors have further developed this topic, by focusing on the concept of social distance (see Goffman 1968; Harvey, 1973, 1989; Bourdieu, 1980; Castells, 1983; Da Costa, 1994; Bauman, 1998; etc.).

A century later, Simmel’s reflections are still accurate to analyse the multiple forms that the figure of the stranger has taken in contemporary society. The stranger can be both the temporary and permanent migrant, with or without status; or the local populations who, in certain economic, political and social conditions, are identified as or continue to maintain a status of stranger (like Roma, for instance); it is the one who disturbs, who bothers, who is considered intrusive, who is subject to various forms of rejection and apparatuses of exclusion that constantly renew themselves and that deserve attention.

This issue of Altérités is dedicated to the stranger of contemporary society. By attempting to explore the figure of the stranger as a human and social condition on the one side and its physical, social and political spaces on the other, we wish to reopen the discussion on the main issues, mechanisms and conditions that cause some people to identify themselves with or be identified as strangers. We thus invite scholars from across the human and social sciences to reflect on the condition of the stranger and the particular spaces that he/she occupies or that are attributed to him/her.

We are looking for empirical, theoretical or artistic works that relate to various geographical spaces and historical periods and that focus on one of the following topics:

  1. Re-readings of Simmel’s digression on the stranger through theoretical and historical analysis of the different meanings and conditions of strangers in contemporary societies.
  2. Writings on the stranger’s relations with the spatially determined group (majority, host country populations, etc.) illustrating the position both within and outside the group, as well as aspects of social relations in everyday life.
  3. Studies exploring the various spaces occupied by the stranger—exclusionary, marginal, physical, social, etc.

Please send an electronic copy of your text and abstracts to and to

Presentation rules for submitted texts can be consulted at our website:

Altérités accepts texts in both English and French.

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