In this lively account of politics and popular music, Mark Mattern develops the concept of "acting in concert," a metaphor for community-based political action through music. Through three detailed case studies of Chilean, Cajun, and American Indian popular music, Mattern explores the way popular muisicians forge community and lead members of their communities in several distinct kinds of political action that would be difficult or impossible among individuals who are not linked by communal ties.
More than just entertainment, Mattern argues that popular music can serve as a social glue for bringing together a multitude of voices that might otherwise remain silent, and that political action through music can increase the potential for relatively marginalized people to choose and determine their own fate.
Lewis Henry Morgan; Foreword by Elisabeth Tooker University of Arizona Press, 1985 Library of Congress GN478.M67 1985 | Dewey Decimal 301
Lewis Henry Morgan studied the American Indian way of life and collected an enormous amount of factual material on the history of primitive-communal society. All the conclusions he draws are based on these facts; where he lacks them, he reasons back on the basis of the data available to him. He determined the periodization of primitive society by linking each of the periods with the development of production techniques. The “great sequence of inventions and discoveries;” and the history of institutions, with each of its three branches — family, property and government — constitute the progress made by human society from its earliest stages to the beginning of civilization. Mankind gained this progress through 'the gradual evolution of their mental and moral powers through experience, and of their protracted struggle with opposing obstacles while winning their way to civilization.'
The contributors to The Anomie of the Earth explore the convergences and resonances between Autonomist Marxism and decolonial thinking. In discussing and rejecting Carl Schmitt's formulation of the nomos—a conceptualization of world order based on the Western tenets of law and property—the authors question the assumption of universal political subjects and look towards politics of the commons divorced from European notions of sovereignty. They contrast European Autonomism with North and South American decolonial and indigenous conceptions of autonomy, discuss the legacies of each, and examine social movements in the Americas and Europe. Beyond orthodox Marxism, their transatlantic exchanges point to the emerging categories disclosed by the collapse of the colonial and capitalist frameworks of Western modernity.
Contributors. Joost de Bloois, Jodi A. Byrd, Gustavo Esteva, Silvia Federici, Wilson Kaiser, Mara Kaufman, Frans-Willem Korsten, Federico Luisetti, Sandro Mezzadra, Walter D. Mignolo, Benjamin Noys, John Pickles, Alvaro Reyes, Catherine Walsh, Gareth Williams, Zac Zimmer
Power is immanent in human affairs; by definition, human beings are political animals. The only way to fully comprehend and analyze the complexities of power is to locate where material, psychological, and social dimensions of political power are ultimately and socially situated and reproduced.
This collection of essays highlights the theoretical concerns of political anthropology. Initially published in the journal Ethnology, the essays were classroom tested and collected on the basis of student comments. An in-depth introduction presents the intellectual traditions in political anthropology and focuses particularly on the manner in which various periods defined and dealt with the nature of social power. It also places current works within the framework of critical but constantly revised theoretical problems.
Contributors: Mart Bax; Ernest Brandewie; Karen J. Brison; Philip A. Dennis; Richard G. Dillon; Harvey E. Goldberg; James Howe; Donald T. Hughes; Roger M. Keesing; Donald V. Kurtz; Charles Lindhom; Robert F. Maher; Richard W. Miller; Sydel F. Silverman; L. Lewis Wall; Daniela Weinberg
"Elegantly written essays. . . . Roseberry is the real gem, an anthropologist with extensive Latin American field experience and an impressive scholarly grasp of the histories of anthropology and Marxist theory."--Micaela di Leonardo, The Nation "An extremely stimulating volume . . . rich and provocative, and codifies a new depature point."--Choice "As a critic . . . Roseberry writes with sustained force and clarity. . . . his principal points emerge with a directness that will make this book attractive to a wide range of readers."--American Anthropologist "Roseberry in among the most astute, careful, and theoretically cogent of the anthropologists of his generation. . . . [This book] illustrates well the breadth and coherence of his thinking and guides the reader through the complicated intersections of anthropology with history, political economy, Marxism, and Latin American studies."--Jane Schneider, CUNY In Anthropologies and Histories, William Roseberry explores some of the cultural and political implications of an anthropological political economy. In his view, too few of these implications have been explored by authors who dismiss the very possibility of a political economic understanding of culture. Within political economy, readers are offered sophisticated treatments of uneven development, but when authors turn to culture and politics, they place contradictory social experiences within simplistic class or epochal labels. Within cultural anthropology, history is often little more than new terrain for extending anthropological practice. Roseberry places culture and history in relation to each other, in the context of a reflection on the political economy of uneven development. In the first half of this books, he looks at and critiques a variety of anthropological understandings of culture, arguing for an approach that sees culture as socially constituted and socially constitutive. Beginning with a commentary on Clifford Geertz's seminal essay on the Balinese cockfight, Roseberry argues that Geertz and his followers pay insufficient attention to cultural differentiation, to social and political inequalities that affect actors' different understandings of the world, other people, and of themselves. Sufficient attention to such questions, Roseberry argues, requires a concern for political economy. In the second half of the book, Roseberry explores the assumptions and practices of political economy, indicates the kind of problems that should be central to such an approach, and reviews some of the inadequacies of anthropological studies. William Roseberry is a professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research.
Anthropologists have a long tradition of prescient diagnoses of world events. Possessing a knowledge of culture, society, and history not always shared by the media’s talking heads, anthropologists have played a crucial role in educating the general reader on the public debates from World War I to the second Gulf War. This anthology collects over fifty commentaries by noted anthropologists such as Margaret Mead, Franz Boas, and Marshall Sahlins who seek to understand and explain the profound repercussions of U.S. involvement in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Frequently drawing on their own fieldwork, the anthropologists go beyond the headlines to draw connections between indigenous cultures, corporate globalization, and contemporary political and economic crises. Venues range from the op-ed pages of internationally renowned newspapers such as the New York Times and the Washington Post to magazine articles and television interviews. Special sections entitled “Prelude to September 11” and “Anthropological Interpretations of September 11” include articles that provided many Americans with their first substantial introduction to the history of Islam, Central Asia, and the Middle East. Each article includes a brief introduction contextualizing the commentary.
Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency
Edited by John D. Kelly, Beatrice Jauregui, Sean T. Mitchell, and Jeremy Walton University of Chicago Press, 2010 Library of Congress GN560.U6A58 2010 | Dewey Decimal 306.270973
Global events of the early twenty-first century have placed new stress on the relationship among anthropology, governance, and war. Facing prolonged insurgency, segments of the U.S. military have taken a new interest in anthropology, prompting intense ethical and scholarly debate. Inspired by these issues, the essays in Anthropology and Global Counterinsurgency consider how anthropologists can, should, and do respond to military overtures, and they articulate anthropological perspectives on global war and power relations.
This book investigates the shifting boundaries between military and civil state violence; perceptions and effects of American power around the globe; the history of counterinsurgency doctrine and practice; and debate over culture, knowledge, and conscience in counterinsurgency. These wide-ranging essays shed new light on the fraught world of Pax Americana and on the ethical and political dilemmas faced by anthropologists and military personnel alike when attempting to understand and intervene in our world.
In considering how anthropologists have chosen to look at and write about politics, Joan Vincent contends that the anthropological study of politics is itself a historical process. Intended not only as a representation but also as a reinterpretation, her study arises from questioning accepted views and unexamined assumptions. This wide-ranging, cross-disciplinary work is a critical review of the anthropological study of politics in the English-speaking world from 1879 to the present, a counterpoint of text and context that describes for each of three eras both what anthropologists have said about politics and the national and international events that have shaped their interests and concerns. It is also an account of how intellectual, social, and political conditions influenced the discipline by conditioning both anthropological inquiry and the avenues of research supported by universities and governments. Finally, it is a study of the politics of anthropology itself, examining the survival of theses or schools of thought and the influence of certain individuals and departments.
Examines the inherently problematic nature of representation and description of living people in ethnography and in anthropological work
In Anthropology and the Politics of Representation volume editor Gabriela Vargas-Cetina brings together a group of international scholars who, through their fieldwork experiences, reflect on the epistemological, political, and personal implications of their own work. To do so, they focus on such topics as ethnography, anthropologists’ engagement in identity politics, representational practices, the contexts of anthropological research and work, and the effects of personal choices regarding self-involvement in local causes that may extend beyond purely ethnographic goals.
Such reflections raise a number of ethnographic questions: What are ethnographic goals? Who sets the agenda for ethnographic writing? How does fieldwork change the anthropologist’s identity? Do ethnography and ethnographers have an impact on local lives and self-representation? How do anthropologists balance long-held respect for cultural diversity with advocacy for local people? How does an author choose what to say and write, and what not to disclose? Should anthropologists support causes that may require going against their informed knowledge of local lives?
Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz / Beth A. Conklin / Les W. Field / Katie Glaskin / Frederic W. Gleach / Tracey Heatherington / June C. Nash / Bernard C. Perley / Vilma Santiago-Irizarry / Timothy J. Smith / Sergey Sokolovskiy / David Stoll / Gabriela Vargas-Cetina / Thomas M. Wilson
In ancient Mediterranean cultures, diamonds were thought to endow their owners with invincibility. In contemporary United States culture, a foreign-made luxury car is believed to give its owner status and prestige. Where do these beliefs come from?
In this study of craft production and long-distance trade in traditional, nonindustrial societies, Mary W. Helms explores the power attributed to objects that either are produced by skilled artisans and/or come from "afar." She argues that fine artisanship and long-distance trade, both of which are more available to powerful elites than to ordinary people, are means of creating or acquiring tangible objects that embody intangible powers and energies from the cosmological realms of gods, ancestors, or heroes. Through the objects, these qualities become available to human society and confer honor and power on their possessors.
Helms’ novel approach equates trade with artistry and emphasizes acquisition rather than distribution. She rejects the classic Western separation between economics and aesthetics and offers a new paradigm for understanding traditional societies that will be of interest to all anthropologists and archaeologists.
Distant Madagascar, the island at the end of the world, has many lessons to teach. The ancestors of the Malagasy people established themselves at least 1500 years ago. Again and again since their arrival, the Malagasy have created new kinds of political communities. This study concerns archaeological survey and excavations in the indigenous state of Imerina in the central highlands.
Empires, Nations, and Natives is a groundbreaking comparative analysis of the interplay between the practice of anthropology and the politics of empires and nation-states in the colonial and postcolonial worlds. It brings together essays that demonstrate how the production of social-science knowledge about the “other” has been inextricably linked to the crafting of government policies. Subverting established boundaries between national and imperial anthropologies, the contributors explore the role of anthropology in the shifting categorizations of race in southern Africa, the identification of Indians in Brazil, the implementation of development plans in Africa and Latin America, the construction of Mexican and Portuguese nationalism, the genesis of “national character” studies in the United States during World War II, the modernizing efforts of the French colonial administration in Africa, and postcolonial architecture.
The contributors—social and cultural anthropologists from the Americas and Europe—report on both historical and contemporary processes. Moving beyond controversies that cast the relationship between scholarship and politics in binary terms of complicity or autonomy, they bring into focus a dynamic process in which states, anthropological knowledge, and population groups themselves are mutually constructed. Such a reflexive endeavor is an essential contribution to a critical anthropological understanding of a changing world.
Contributors: Alban Bensa, Marcio Goldman, Adam Kuper, Benoît de L’Estoile, Claudio Lomnitz, David Mills, Federico Neiburg, João Pacheco de Oliveira, Jorge Pantaleón, Omar Ribeiro Thomaz, Lygia Sigaud, Antonio Carlos de Souza Lima, Florence Weber
Anthropology has long been associated with an ethos of “engagement.” The field’s core methods and practices involve long-term interpersonal contact between researchers and their study participants, giving major research topics in the field a distinctively human face. Can research findings be authentic and objective? Are anthropologists able to use their data to aid the participants of their study, and is that aid always welcome?
In Engaged Observer, Victoria Sanford and Asale Angel-Ajani bring together an international array of scholars who have been embedded in some of the most conflict-ridden and dangerous zones in the world to reflect on the role and responsibility of anthropological inquiry. They explore issues of truth and objectivity, the role of the academic, the politics of memory, and the impact of race, gender, and social position on the research process. Through ethnographic case studies, they offer models for conducting engaged research and illustrate the contradictions and challenges of doing so.
The politics of identity and ethnicity will remain a fundamental characteristic of African modernity. For this reason, historians and anthropologists have joined political scientists in a discussion about the ways in which democracy can develop in multicultural societies. In Ethnicity and Democracy in Africa, the contributors address why ethnicity represents a political problem, how the problem manifests itself, and which institutional models offer ways of ameliorating the challenges that ethnicity poses to democratic nation-building.
Social scientists theorizing about political economy and the allocation of resources have usually omitted migrant communities from their studies. In Greener Pastures Arun Agrawal uses the story of the Raikas, a little-known group of migrant shepherds in western India, to reexamine current scholarship on markets and exchange, local and state politics, and community and hierarchy. The Raikas are virtually invisible in the regions through which they travel, as well as to the wider Indian society, yet they must operate as part of these larger spheres for their economic survival.
Agrawal analyzes the institutions developed by the shepherds to solve livelihood problems. First, by focusing on the relations of the shepherds with their landholder neighbors, he explains why the shepherds migrate. He shows that struggles between these two groups led to a sociopolitical squeeze on the access of shepherds to the fodder resources they need to feed their sheep. Then, in an examination of why the shepherds migrate in groups, he demonstrates how their migratory lives depend on market exchanges and points to the social and political forces that influence prices and determine profits. Finally, he looks at decision-making processes such as division of labor and the delegation of power. Politics is ubiquitous in the interactions of the shepherds with their neighbors and with state officials, in their exchanges in markets and with farmers, and in their internal relations as a community.
Interspersing the words of the Raikas themselves with a sophisticated deployment of political theory, Agrawal has produced a volume that will interest scholars in a broad range of academic disciplines, including Asian studies, political science, human ecology, anthropology, comparative politics, rural sociology, and environmental studies and policy.
Are humans by nature hierarchical or egalitarian? Hierarchy in the Forest addresses this question by examining the evolutionary origins of social and political behavior. Christopher Boehm, an anthropologist whose fieldwork has focused on the political arrangements of human and nonhuman primate groups, postulates that egalitarianism is in effect a hierarchy in which the weak combine forces to dominate the strong.
The political flexibility of our species is formidable: we can be quite egalitarian, we can be quite despotic. Hierarchy in the Forest traces the roots of these contradictory traits in chimpanzee, bonobo, gorilla, and early human societies. Boehm looks at the loose group structures of hunter-gatherers, then at tribal segmentation, and finally at present-day governments to see how these conflicting tendencies are reflected.
Hierarchy in the Forest claims new territory for biological anthropology and evolutionary biology by extending the domain of these sciences into a crucial aspect of human political and social behavior. This book will be a key document in the study of the evolutionary basis of genuine altruism.
In Sierra Leone
Michael Jackson Duke University Press, 2004 Library of Congress GN21.J337A3 2004 | Dewey Decimal 301.092
In 2002, as Sierra Leone prepared to announce the end of its brutal civil war, the distinguished anthropologist, poet, and novelist Michael Jackson returned to the country where he had intermittently lived and worked as an ethnographer since 1969. While his initial concern was to help his old friend Sewa Bockarie (S. B.) Marah—a prominent figure in Sierra Leonean politics—write his autobiography, Jackson’s experiences during his stay led him to create a more complex work: In Sierra Leone, a beautifully rendered mosaic integrating S. B.’s moving stories with personal reflections, ethnographic digressions, and meditations on history and violence.
Though the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F.) ostensibly fought its war (1991–2002) against corrupt government, the people of Sierra Leone were its victims. By the time the war was over, more than fifty thousand were dead, thousands more had been maimed, and over one million were displaced. Jackson relates the stories of political leaders and ordinary people trying to salvage their lives and livelihoods in the aftermath of cataclysmic violence. Combining these with his own knowledge of African folklore, history, and politics and with S. B.’s bittersweet memories—of his family’s rich heritage, his imprisonment as a political detainee, and his position in several of Sierra Leone’s post-independence governments—Jackson has created a work of elegiac, literary, and philosophical power.
Insurgent Encounters illuminates the dynamics of contemporary transnational social movements, including those advocating for women and indigenous groups, environmental justice, and alternative—cooperative rather than exploitative—forms of globalization. The contributors are politically engaged scholars working within the social movements they analyze. Their essays are both models of and arguments for activist ethnography. They demonstrate that such a methodology has the potential to reveal empirical issues and generate theoretical insights beyond the reach of traditional social-movement research methods. Activist ethnographers not only produce new understandings of contemporary forms of collective action, but also seek to contribute to struggles for social change. The editors suggest networks and spaces of encounter as the most useful conceptual rubrics for understanding shape-shifting social movements using digital and online technologies to produce innovative forms of political organization across local, regional, national, and transnational scales. A major rethinking of the practice and purpose of ethnography, Insurgent Encounters challenges dominant understandings of social transformation, political possibility, knowledge production, and the relation between intellectual labor and sociopolitical activism. Contributors. Giuseppe Caruso, Maribel Casas-Cortés, Janet Conway, Stéphane Couture, Vinci Daro, Manisha Desai, Sylvia Escárcega, David Hess, Jeffrey S. Juris, Alex Khasnabish, Lorenzo Mosca, Michal Osterweil, Geoffrey Pleyers, Dana E. Powell, Paul Routledge, M. K. Sterpka, Tish Stringer
Metamorphoses Of The Body
Jose Gil University of Minnesota Press, 1998 Library of Congress GN492.2.G5513 1998 | Dewey Decimal 306.4
David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins HAU, 2017 Library of Congress GN492.7.G73 2017 | Dewey Decimal 303.3
In anthropology as much as in popular imagination, kings are figures of fascination and intrigue, heroes or tyrants in ways presidents and prime ministers can never be. This collection of essays by two of the world’s most distinguished anthropologists—David Graeber and Marshall Sahlins—explores what kingship actually is, historically and anthropologically. As they show, kings are symbols for more than just sovereignty: indeed, the study of kingship offers a unique window into fundamental dilemmas concerning the very nature of power, meaning, and the human condition.
Reflecting on issues such as temporality, alterity, and utopia—not to mention the divine, the strange, the numinous, and the bestial—Graeber and Sahlins explore the role of kings as they have existed around the world, from the BaKongo to the Aztec to the Shilluk and beyond. Richly delivered with the wit and sharp analysis characteristic of Graeber and Sahlins, this book opens up new avenues for the anthropological study of this fascinating and ubiquitous political figure.
Helmuth Plessner, Translated from the German by Nils F. Schott, Edited and with an introduction by Heike Delitz and Robert Seyfert and an epilogue by Joachim Fischer Northwestern University Press, 2019 Library of Congress JC330.P55613 2018 | Dewey Decimal 320.0113
In Political Anthropology (originally published in 1931 as Macht und menschliche Natur), Helmuth Plessner considers whether politics—conceived as the struggle for power between groups, nations, and states—belongs to the essence of the human. Building on and complementing ideas from his Levels of the Organic and the Human (1928), Plessner proposes a genealogy of political life and outlines an anthropological foundation of the political. In critical dialogue with thinkers such as Carl Schmitt, Eric Voegelin, and Martin Heidegger, Plessner argues that the political relationships cultures entertain with one other, their struggle for acknowledgement and assertion, are expressions of certain possibilities of the openness and unfathomability of the human.
Translated into English for the first time, and accompanied by an introduction and an epilogue that situate Plessner's thinking both within the context of Weimar-era German political and social thought and within current debates, this succinct book should be of great interest to philosophers, political theorists, and sociologists interested in questions of power and the foundations of the political.
Scholars of politics have sought in recent years to make the discipline more hospitable to qualitative methods of research. Lauding the results of this effort and highlighting its potential for the future, Political Ethnography makes a compelling case for one such method in particular. Ethnography, the contributors amply demonstrate in a wide range of original essays, is uniquely suited for illuminating the study of politics.
Situating these pieces within the context of developments in political science, Edward Schatz provides an overarching introduction and substantive prefaces to each of the volume’s four sections. The first of these parts addresses the central ontological and epistemological issues raised by ethnographic work, while the second grapples with the reality that all research is conducted from a first-person perspective. The third section goes on to explore how ethnographic research can provide fresh perspectives on such perennial topics as opinion, causality, and power. Concluding that political ethnography can and should play a central role in the field as a whole, the final chapters illuminate the many ways in which ethnographic approaches can enhance, improve, and, in some areas, transform the study of politics.
Political Landscapes of Capital Cities investigates the processes of transformation of the natural landscape into the culturally constructed and ideologically defined political environments of capital cities. In this spatially inclusive, socially dynamic interpretation, an interdisciplinary group of authors including archaeologists, anthropologists, and art historians uses the methodology put forth in Adam T. Smith’s The Political Landscape: Constellations of Authority in Early Complex Polities to expose the intimate associations between human-made environments and the natural landscape that accommodate the sociopolitical needs of governmental authority.
Political Landscapes of Capital Cities blends the historical, political, and cultural narratives of capital cities such as Bangkok, Cusco, Rome, and Tehran with a careful visual analysis, hinging on the methodological tools of not only architectural and urban design but also cultural, historiographical, and anthropological studies. The collection provides further ways to conceive of how processes of urbanization, monumentalization, ritualization, naturalization, and unification affected capitals differently without losing grasp of local distinctive architectural and spatial features. The essays also articulate the many complex political and ideological agendas of a diverse set of sovereign entities that planned, constructed, displayed, and performed their societal ideals in the spaces of their capitals, ultimately confirming that political authority is profoundly spatial.
Contributors: Jelena Bogdanović, Jessica Joyce Christie, Talinn Grigor, Eulogio Guzmán, Gregor Kalas, Stephanie Pilat, Melody Rod-ari, Anne Parmly Toxey, Alexei Vranich
This distinctive book is the first to address the topic of landscape archaeology in early states from a truly global perspective. It provides an excellent introduction to—and overview of—the discipline today. The volume grew out of the Fifth Biennial Meeting of the Complex Societies Group, whose theme, States and the Landscape, paid tribute to the work of Robert McC. Adams. When Adams began publishing in the 1960s, the interdependence of cities and their countrysides, and the information revealed through the spatial patterning of communities, went largely unrecognized. Today, as this useful collection makes clear, these interpretive insights are fundamental to all archaeologists who investigate the roles of complex polities in their landscapes.
Polities and Power features detailed studies from an intentionally disparate array of regions, including Mesoamerica, Andean South America, southwestern Asia, East Africa, and the Indian subcontinent. Each chapter or pair of chapters is followed by a critical commentary. In concert, these studies strive to infer social, political, and economic meaning from archaeologically discerned landscapes associated with societies that incorporate some expression of state authority. The contributions engage a variety of themes, including the significance of landscapes as they condition and reflect complex polities; the interplay of natural and cultural elements in defining landscapes of state; archaeological landscapes as ever-dynamic entities; and archaeological landscapes as recursive structures, reflected in palimpsests of human activity.
Individually, many of these contributions are provocative, even controversial. Taken together, they reveal the contours of landscape archaeology at this particular evolutionary moment.
In this fully updated edition of Power and Its Disguises, John Gledhill explores both the complexities of local situations and the power relations that shape the global order. He shows how historically informed anthropological perspectives can contribute to debates about democratisation by incorporating a ‘view from below’ and revealing forces that shape power relations behind the formal facade of state institutions. Examples are drawn from Brazil, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guatemala, Indonesia, India, Mexico, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Africa and Sri Lanka, amongst others.
In this groundbreaking study, Paul Friedrich looks closely at the strong men of the Tarascan Indian village of Naranja: their leadership, friendship, kinship, and violent local politics (over a time depth of one generation), and ways to understand such phenomena. What emerges is an acutely observed portrait of the men who form the very basis of the grass-roots power structure in Mexico today. Of interest to historians, sociologists, and political scientists, as well as Latin Americanists and anthropologists, The Princes of Naranja is a sequel to Friedrich's now classic Agrarian Revolt in a Mexican Village. It begins with biographical character studies of seven leaders—peasant gunmen, judges, politicos; here the book will grip the reader and provoke strong emotional response, from laughter to horror. A middle section places these "princes" in relation to each other, and to the contexts of village society and the larger entities of which it forms a part. Friedrich's synthesis of anthropology, local (mainly oral) history, macrohistory, microsociology, psychology, and literature gives new insight into the structure of Mexican politics from the local level up, and provides a model for other scholars doing analogous work in other parts of the world, especially in the developing world. The concluding section raises vital questions about the dynamic relations between the fieldworker, fieldwork, field notes, the villagers, the writing of a fieldwork-based book, and, implicitly, the audience for such books.
Remapping Memory was first published in 1994. Minnesota Archive Editions uses digital technology to make long-unavailable books once again accessible, and are published unaltered from the original University of Minnesota Press editions.
The essays in this book focus on contested memories in relation to time and space. Within the context of several profound cultural and political conflicts in the contemporary world, the contributors analyze historical self-configurations of human groups, and the construction by these groups of the spaces they shape and that shape them. What emerges is a view of the state as a highly contingent artifact of groups vying for legitimacy-whether through their own sense of "insiderhood," their control of positions within hierarchies, or their control of geographical territories.
Boyarin's lead essay shows how the supposedly "objective" categories of space and time are, in fact, specific products of European modernity. Each case study, in turn, addresses the (re)constitution of space, time, and memory in relation to an event either of historical significance, like the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima, or of cultural importance, like the Indian preoccupation with reincarnation. These ethnographic studies explore fundamental questions about the nature of memory, the limits of politics, and the complex links between them.
By focusing on personal and collective identity as the site where constructions of memory and dimensionality are tested, shaped, and effected, the authors offer a new way of understanding how the politics of space, time and memory are negotiated to bring people to terms with their history.
Contributors: Akhil Gupta, Stanford University;
Charles R. Hale, University of California, Davis; Carina Perelli, PEITHO, Montevideo, Uruguay; Jennifer Schirmer, Center for European Studies, Harvard; Daniel A. Segal, Pitzer College, Claremont, California; Lisa Yoneyama, University of California, San Diego.
What is the 'state' and how can we best study it? This book investigates new ways of analysing the state.
The contributors argue that the state is not a fixed and definite object. Our perceptions of it are constantly changing, and differ from person to person. What is your idea of the state if you are a refugee? Or if you are living in post-aparteid South Africa? Our perceptions are formed and sustained by evolving discourses and techniques---these come from institutions such as government, but are also made by communities and individuals.
The contributors examine how state structures are viewed from the inside, by official state bodies, composed of bureaucrats and politicians; and how these state manifestations are supported, reproduced or transformed at a local level. An outline of theoretical approaches is followed by nine case studies ranging from South Africa to Peru to Norway.
With a good range of contributors including Cris Shore, Clifton Crais, Ana Alonso and Bruce Kapferer, this is a comprehensive critical analysis of anthropological approaches to the study of state formation.
The state has recently been rediscovered as an object of inquiry by a broad range of scholars. Reflecting the new vitality of the field of political anthropology, States of Imagination draws together the best of this recent critical thinking to explore the postcolonial state. Contributors focus on a variety of locations from Guatemala, Pakistan, and Peru to India and Ecuador; they study what the state looks like to those seeing it from the vantage points of rural schools, police departments, small villages, and the inside of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Focusing on the micropolitics of everyday state-making, the contributors examine the mythologies, paradoxes, and inconsistencies of the state through ethnographies of diverse postcolonial practices. They show how the authority of the state is constantly challenged from the local as well as the global and how growing demands to confer rights and recognition to ever more citizens, organizations, and institutions reveal a persistent myth of the state as a source of social order and an embodiment of popular sovereignty. Demonstrating the indispensable value of ethnographic work on the practices and the symbols of the state, States of Imagination showcases a range of studies and methods to provide insight into the diverse forms of the postcolonial state as an arena of both political and cultural struggle. This collection will interest students and scholars of anthropology, cultural studies, sociology, political science, and history.
Contributors. Lars Buur, Mitchell Dean, Akhil Gupta, Thomas Blom Hansen, Steffen Jensen, Aletta J. Norval, David Nugent, Sarah Radcliffe, Rachel Sieder, Finn Stepputat, Martijn van Beek, Oskar Verkaaik, Fiona Wilson
During the 1980s and ’90s, Mexico weathered an economic crisis, witnessed electoral upheaval, and saw the dismantling of state subsidies to farmers and the privatization of nationally owned industries. This book considers how popular movements found fresh footing in this new political-economic landscape as villagers in Tepoztlán fought to keep communal lands out of the hands of outsiders, the state, and—increasingly—global capitalists. Examining social movement politics from the margins rather than the center, JoAnn Martin revisits the famous Redfield-Lewis debate on Tepoztlán to argue that the gossip seen by Oscar Lewis as undermining community coherence is really a form of political practice. During more than fifteen years of research, she observed the metamorphosis of a movement founded as a revolutionary popular struggle into what she terms a “politics of loose connections,” in which temporary alliances, flexible identities, and shifting rhetoric are adapted to the demands of the moment. Martin examines contemporary land struggles with an emphasis on the Comité para la Defensa de Tierra and its attempts to weave together strands of an invented tradition, contemporary agrarian reform law, and revolutionary ideology. She shows how Tepoztecan politics borrows discourses from the Mexican state; she then tells how this process shaped local politics in the midst of the contested 1988 national presidential election when local actors elaborated a discourse of democracy as a technique for disciplining gossip, and in 1991 when Tepoztecans began to draw on the support of international environmental NGOs. Throughout her analysis, Martin explores how Tepoztecan politics unfolds in the climate of mistrust first nurtured by the role of the state in local politics and later by the demands of working with U.S. and Western European environmentalists. Martin shows that the politics of loose connections is above all else a style of political participation that has proved adaptive in the contemporary political landscape, and that understandings of politics have been dogged by a conception of connections that may well be obsolete in the contemporary world. Her study is a balanced re-evaluation of Tepoztlán that reveals how politics succeeds through loose connections, a strategy that may be instructive for others seeking to survive in either local or global coalitions.