Confronting Capital: Critique and Engagement in Anthropology
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This volume is an exploration of the ways in which political economy as a mode of analysis moves anthropology toward a vital, politically engaged form of scholarship. It advances the understanding of the struggles of ordinary people in the face of capitalist change. In the current economic moment when such changes are tumultuous and the instabilities of capitalism are starkly revealed, this book responds to the urgent need for theoretical and methodological approaches for understanding the forces that shape our contemporary world. Through ethnographic investigations of the quotidian, and through the thematic of politics, history and livelihoods, which distinguish Marxist political economy in the field of anthropology, the authors here reveal the increasing complexity of everyday lives. Using examples derived from fieldwork carried out across diverse geographical locations, the authors pay particular attention to historical conditions shaping the peoples’ life trajectories. In so doing the authors engage critically, and with differing emphases, with political economy and Marxism as a mode of inquiry. This book illustrates the productive tension between observations emerging from the field and theoretical debates that is generated by anthropological ethnography.
There is not enough space in this chapter to discuss the current modernist/ post-modernist debate on Mumbai’s “slums”, with modernists such as Mike Davis stressing that slums represent apocalyptic structures with poor sanitation, hygiene and services, while post-modernists such as Srivastave argue that Mumbai’s slums are really habitable village-like structures that have grown organically over the past century (Davis 2006; Srivastava 2009; Bremen 2007). However, Janata Colony’s appearance is
anthropology, but I am much more interested in discussing the kind of world security anthropologists aspire to bring about through their actions than in critically dissecting those actions themselves. And since the Iraq and Afghanistan wars remain unresolved, I draw on ethnographic work in northern Morazán, El Salvador, the Salvadoran civil war (1980–1992) and its aftermath (1992–2008) in order to make a case against anthropologists’ collaboration with the US military. Finally, I discuss brieﬂy
Berkeley: University of California Press. Fellows, F.S. 1934. Mortality in the native races of the Territory of Alaska, with special reference to tuberculosis. Public Health Reports 49: 289–298. Fortuine, Robert. 2005. Must we all die? Alaska’s enduring Struggle with tuberculosis. Anchorage: University of Alaska Press. Gramsci, Antonio. 1971. Selections from prison notebooks. New York: International Press. Green, Linda. 2008. A wink and nod: Notes from the Arizona borderlands. Dialectical
http://rabble.ca/rabbletv/program-guide/2011/10/best-net/video-naomiklein-occupy-wall-street, (accessed 14 October, 2011). 5. See http://www.nowtoronto.com/daily/news/story.cfm?content=180078. Accessed March 28 2012 6. http://www.npa2009.org/. Accessed March 28 2012. REFERENCES Barber, Pauline Gardiner. 1990. Culture, capital and class conﬂ icts in the political economy of Cape Breton. Journal of Historical Sociology 3(4), pp. 362–378. Blim, Michael. 1990. Made in Italy: Small-scale
development disciplines and between different policy approaches (McNeil 2006). In addition, new terms were being sought to describe what happened to work “after” restructuring and reform. The informal sector has hence superseded the concept of unemployment as a “postmodern” technique of governing wageless lives (Denning 2010). Since the early 1990s, the concept has bred countless monographs, which vary according to the political and academic stance of the researcher: on the one hand, the informal