RAI Book Series

RAI Book Series

  1. The RAI Book Series in Anthropology is intended to cover anthropology in its widest sense. Proposals are therefore welcome from any anthropological field, whether historical or contemporary.
  2. At present, an arrangement has been made with Sean Kingston publishing to publish these volumes in association with the RAI.
  3. The series editor is Professor Jeremy MacClancy.
  4. Single-author books are welcome. Edited volumes, coherently structured around a theme, are also eligible.
  5. Proposed manuscripts should be in English, no longer than 100,000 words. Though preliminary enquiries are welcome, any decision will only be made on the basis of a final manuscript.
  6. If found potentially suitable for publication, manuscripts received will be sent to referees. The decision of the RAI is final.
  7. The aim of the series is to provide a publishing outlet for work of the highest quality. Commercial considerations are therefore not paramount, but it is the aim to reinvest any surplus achieved in future projects.
  8. Authors are expected to cover any photographic reproduction costs, to correct the proofs, and to produce an index.
  9. Authors are welcome at any stage in their academic career.
  10. So that we can log all queries, expressions of interest should be made in the first instance to publications@therai.org.uk.


Built in Niugini:Constructions in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea by Paul Sillitoe

Vol. 1 of the RAI Book Series.

The sequel to the acclaimed Made in Niugini, which explored in unparalleled depth the material world of the Wola comprising moveable artefacts, Built in Niugini continues Paul Sillitoe's project in exemplary fashion, documenting the built environment, architecture and construction techniques in a tour de force of ethnography. But this is more than a book about building houses. Sillitoe also shows how material constructions can serve to further our understandings of intellectual constructions. Allowing his ethnography to take the lead, and paying close attention to the role of tacit understandings and know-how in both skilled work and everyday dwelling, his close experiential analyses inform a phenomenologically inflected discussion of profound philosophical questions - such as what can we know of being-in-the-world - from startlingly different cultural directions.

The book also forms part of a long-term project to understand a radically different 'economy', which is set in an acephalous order that extends individual freedom and equality in a manner difficult to imagine from the perspective of a nation-state - an intriguing way of being-in-the-world that is entwined with tacit aspects of knowing via personal and emotional experience. This brings us back to the explanatory power of a focus on technology, which Sillitoe argues for in the context of 'materiality' approaches that feature prominently in current debates about the sociology of knowledge. Archaeology has long been to the fore in considering technology and buildings, along with vernacular architecture, and Sillitoe contributes to a much needed dialogue between anthropology and these disciplines, assessing the potential and obstacles for a fruitful rapprochement.

Built in Niugini represents the culmination of Sillitoe's luminous scholarship as an anthropologist who dialogues fluidly with the literature and ideas of numerous disciplines. The arguments throughout engage with key concepts and theories from anthropology, archaeology, architecture, material culture studies, cognitive science, neuroscience and philosophy. The result is a significant work that contributes to not only our regional knowledge of the New Guinea Highlands but also to studies of tacit knowledge and the anthropology of architecture and building practices.
Trevor Marchand, Emeritus Professor of Social Anthropology, School of Oriental and African Studies

List of figures; List of maps; List of plates; List of tables; Foreword; Preface; Chapter 1 - Whys and wherefores of construction; Chapter 2 - A dwelling perspective; Chapter 3 - Locating the house, locating the social; Chapter 4 - A seminar: what can archaeology and anthropology do together?; Chapter 5 - Seminar postscript: accessing minds, past and present; Chapter 6 - Building materials and materiality; Chapter 7 - House construction: a how-to-do-it account and critique; Chapter 8 - Some other structures: tradition and change; Chapter 9 - Snakes and bridges: social constructivism?; Chapter 10 - Gender structures and divisions; Chapter 11 - Passing on knowing: hands-on participation; Chapter 12 - Knowing the tacit; Chapter 13 - Doing it to know it; Appendix - Glossary of Wola construction terms; References; Index

Paul Sillitoe FBA is Professor of Anthropology at Durham University

Hardback, ISBN 978-1-907774-45-4, £100.00 (GBP), $150.00 (USD)

Please click here to order.


Made in Niugini: Technology in the Highlands of Papua New Guinea by Paul Sillitoe

Vol. 2 of the RAI Book Series.

This impressive and inspiring volume has as its modest origins the documentation of a contemporary collecting project for the British Museum. Informed by curators' critiques of uneven collections accompanied by highly variable information, Sillitoe set out with the ambition of recording the totality of the material culture of the Wola of the southern highlands of Papua New Guinea, at a time when the study of artefacts was neglected in university anthropology departments. His achievements, presented in this second edition of Made in Nuigini with a new contextualizing preface and foreword, brought a new standard of ethnography to the incipient revival of material culture studies, and opened up the importance of close attention to technology and material assemblages for anthropology. The 'economy' fundamentally concerns the material aspects of life, and as Sillitoe makes clear, Wola attitudes and behaviour in this regard are radically different to those of the West, with emphasis on 'maker users' and egalitarian access to resources going hand in hand with their stateless and libertarian principles.

What a stunning and rewarding book! Te Rangi Hiroa, C.S. Ford, Darryl Forde, Clark Wissler and Edward Gifford - to mention a few of my earlier friends and teachers - would all have enjoyed this work immensely.
Harold C. Conklin

Not many anthropologists could have brought to fruition a work like this. Its singleness of purpose offers what amounts to a unique perspective on Papua New Guinea Highland life& It will be a work of reference for Melanesianists. But social anthropologists in general should take note. The relentlessness of Sillitoe's investigation has its own effect. It throws up quite unexpected detail: the chert knappers' care that people will not cut their feet on fragments, the different times it takes men to tease their hair into wigs, why barbed arrows are feared ... the number of skirts a woman needs to feel adequately attired ... [A] magnificent epic to human endeavour. Regardless of whether they hold collections from Melanesia, this should be in the library of every ethnographic museum: and regardless of whether they think they are interested in material culture, this should be available to every anthropology department.
Marilyn Strathern, Man

Made in Niugini is an extraordinarily ambitious and finely executed account, encyclopaedic in scope and design, and expertly illustrated.
Thomas G. Harding, American Anthropologist

Foreword; Preface to the second edition; List of maps; List of figures; List of tables; List of plates; Preface; Chapter 1 - Artifacts and people; Chapter 2 - Environment and resources; Chapter 3 - Tools; Chapter 4 - Weapons; Chapter 5 - Consumption utensils; Chapter 6 - Apparel; Chapter 7 - Finery and self-destruction; Chapter 8 - Musical instruments; Chapter 9 - Art and facts pertaining to Wola artifacts; Appendix I - Technical glossary; Appendix II - Property survey questionnaire; References; Index

Paul Sillitoe FBA is Professor of Anthropology at Durham University

Hardback, ISBN 978-1-907774-89-8, £120.00 (GBP), $180.00 (USD)

Please click here to order.