Membership in a scholarly society these days often seems to work like the price of admission. You pay your way in for access to the most treasured resource of that organization: the knowledge inscribed in its journals and publications. The Society for Cultural Anthropology repudiated this quid pro quo logic some years ago. Our journal is freely available to anyone who seeks it out, along with the many other forms that our writing and thinking take.
This means that an SCA membership is a different kind of proposition altogether. It’s more like joining your local public radio station: the fact is, you can always tune in, whether or not you pick up that pocketbook when the latest pledge drive kicks into gear. You don’t sign on because you need to show a ticket at the door. You sign on because there’s something unique and essential at work here, and it couldn’t happen without your support. Membership in the SCA is like this.
It may not always be obvious, but it can be expensive to staff and run an open-access publishing venture like ours, and to do this in an equitable and responsible manner, with adequate compensation for dedicated labor. To be sure, we run a tight ship; we otherwise couldn’t have survived as an open-access endeavor all these years. Still, none of this would be possible without the support and vision of our membership.
Join us, knowing that you’ll have a hand in sustaining one of the most innovative experiments in scholarly publishing today. If you’ve let your membership lapse, take a moment to renew. We’ve tried to keep these rates as modest as possible, especially for students.
There are small perks to consider as well: the chance to contribute your own writing to our journal without paying a fee, to edit a series for our website, and above all to help us figure out what else the SCA could become in the years ahead. We offer these possibilities not in a spirit of exclusivity, but instead as a way to acknowledge your contribution to our collective efforts.