About ASA

The ASA offers a number of benefits to members, including receipt of the annual ASA monograph, reduced fees for its annual conference and inclusion in the directory of members. Through agreements within the World Council of Anthropological Associations it enables members to secure reduced (member rate) fees to conferences hosted by anthropological associations that are WCAA members around the world (such as the AAA and EASA).

The ASA holds a major annual conference: this is usually hosted by an Anthropology department in the UK, but aims every five years to be a collaborative event with a Commonwealth partner association. Since 2007, a highlight of the ASA conference¬† has been the annual Firth lecture, given by leading anthropologists from around the world.

The ASA offers a limited number of bursaries to assist students (particularly those from the global South) to attend ASA conferences. It also provides occasional small grants to support workshops and conferences by ASA members and networks.

The ASA publishes and maintains the discipline’s Ethical Guidelines, which are increasingly used as a model for other associations and other disciplines. It supports various networks: Apply (with the journal Anthropology in Action); Anthropology of Britain; and a postgraduate network (with the journal Anthropology Matters). It also supports members who wish to set up new networks.

The ASA manages the Firth Fund and, in collaboration with the Royal Anthropological Institute, administers the Radcliffe-Brown, Firth and Sutasoma Awards which assist postgraduates in their last six months of thesis-writing.  
The ASA represents its members in a wide range of consultations and campaigns, for example relaying its members’ interests to the ESRC, HEFCE, and other policy and funding bodies. It also represents individual members or Anthropology departments when this is necessary.

The ASA aims to promote Anthropology, complementing the activities of the RAI, through its own activities and publications.


The ASA was founded in 1946 with the following objectives:

  • To promote the study and teaching of social anthropology.
  • To assist its members in planning and conducting research.
  • To maintain a register of social anthropologists.
  • To hold regular conferences and meetings.
  • To represent the interests of social anthropology and maintain its professional status.
  • To publish information on social anthropology.

Short history of the ASA

Click here to read a history written by Dr David Mills.

The founder members were Radcliffe-Brown as President, Evans-Pritchard as Chair, and Raymond Firth as Secretary. Since then, the Presidents have been Evans-Pritchard (1967-73) and Professor Sir Raymond Firth (1973 to 2002). Dame Marilyn Strathern was elected Honorary Life President in 2008.

Chairs have been I. Schapera, R.W. Firth, Max Gluckman, Edmund Leach, Meyer Fortes, Jean La Fontaine, A.L. Epstein, Edwin Ardener, Peter Riviere, David Parkin, Sandra Wallman, Pat Caplan, Richard Fardon, John Gledhill, James Fairhead, and (currently) Veronica Strang.


  1. The ASA holds an annual conference, usually in the spring. Annual conferences may be hosted by institutions in the UK or in other Commonwealth countries. Every ten years, a decennial conference, attracts a large international audience.
  2. The ASA publishes at least one monograph from the papers at its annual conference.
  3. The ASA maintains an online Directory of Members, including associate members (postgraduates).
  4. The ASA publishes, and regularly updates, its Ethical Guidelines for Good Research Practice in social anthropology.
  5. The ASA is the main professional association dealing with governmental and funding agencies such as the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE).
  6. When necessary, the Association represents individual members or departments who need assistance.
  7. The ASA promotes the informed and responsible use of anthropological knowledge in addressing national and global issues in the public domain by responding directly to these, or by referring enquiries to appropriate individual specialists.
  8. The ASA works with Anthropology Today, the newsletter of the Royal Anthropological Institute in providing information about anthropology.
  9. The ASA collaborates with a range of related institutions: for example, other anthropological organisations based in the UK, such as the Royal Anthropological Institute, and C-SAP, the UK national centre for learning and teaching sociology, anthropology and politics. It works with other national associations, most particularly those in Commonwealth countries, and international associations such as the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and the American Association of Antropologists (AAA). The ASA is also a member of the World Council of Anthropological Associations.
  10. The ASA supports networks such as Postgraduate Network, Apply, and Anthropology of Britain.


The current officers of the Association can be seen on the Contacts page.

To read a list of those who have held office within the Association, click here.

To read the specific roles allocated to committee members, click here.

To read the Rules of Procedure for the Association, click here.

To read the 2014 ASA annual expense protocol click here (PDF).

Committee member space

Committee members can access their passworded space here.
If you have forgotten the committee password email the administrator on admin(at)theasa.org.

Minutes from AGMs (pdfs)

AGM2017 (draft); AGM2016; AGM2015; AGM2014; EGM2013; AGM2013; AGM2012; Extraordinary AGM2011; AGM2011 draft; AGM2010; AGM2009; AGM2008; AGM 2007; AGM 2006; AGM2005; ABM2004; ABM 2003; ABM 2002; ABM 2001; ABM 2000

Incidental Financial Support

The ASA considers individual requests for financial assistance by members to support activities that will further the aims of the ASA and professional anthropology in the UK. The maximum amount that any applicant can apply for is £100. There is no deadline and all applications are adjudicated as they come in. All full members are eligible for support. As the ASA is a professional organisation, student initiatives will not be considered for funding under this scheme.
To apply for incidental financial support, please send the following to the ASA treasurer (treasurer[at]theasa.org)

  • Short description of purpose of funds, including a statement about its importance in furthering the aims of the ASA (max 300 words)
  • Breakdown of costs
  • Any information with regard to other financial support applied for or received
  • CV of applicant

For any further information, please contact the treasurer.

The full annual expense protocol can be viewed here (PDF).

On publishers and use of the Anthropology Matters mailing list

The ASA fully encourages all reputable publishers and journals to take an interest in anthropological research, and to inform our professional networks about their activities and the opportunities that they can offer. But our association also recognizes that requiring researchers to pay for publication raises important questions about how this affects the academy intellectually and how it creates major disparities in areas where there is a paucity of funding for this purpose. Part of the task of social science is to offer a robust reflexive critique of such political, social and economic choices. The ASA hopes that its members will provide cogent and well considered analysis, that publishers will welcome such feedback, and that this will promote a constructive dialogue on these matters.