A wheel turns because of its encounter with the surface of the road; spinning in the air it goes nowhere. Rubbing two sticks together produces heat and light; one stick alone is just a stick. In both cases, it is friction that produces movement, action, effect. Challenging the widespread view that globalization invariably signifies a "clash" of cultures, anthropologist Anna Tsing here develops friction in its place as a metaphor for the diverse and conflicting social interactions that make up our contemporary world. She focuses on one particular "zone of awkward engagement"--the rainforests of Indonesia--where in the 1980s and the 1990s capitalist interests increasingly reshaped the landscape not so much through corporate design as through awkward chains of legal and illegal entrepreneurs that wrested the land from previous claimants, creating resources for distant markets. In response, environmental movements arose to defend the rainforests and the communities of people who live in them. Not confined to a village, a province, or a nation, the social drama of the Indonesian rainforest includes local and national environmentalists, international science, North American investors, advocates for Brazilian rubber tappers, UN funding agencies, mountaineers, village elders, and urban students, among others--all combining in unpredictable, messy misunderstandings, but misunderstandings that sometimes work out. Providing a portfolio of methods to study global interconnections, Tsing shows how curious and creative cultural differences are in the grip of worldly encounter, and how much is overlooked in contemporary theories of the global.
Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world—and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the northern hemisphere. Through its ability to nurture trees, matsutake helps forests to grow in daunting places. It is also an edible delicacy in Japan, where it sometimes commands astronomical prices. In all its contradictions, matsutake offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: what manages to live in the ruins we have made? A tale of diversity within our damaged landscapes, The Mushroom at the End of the World follows one of the strangest commodity chains of our times to explore the unexpected corners of capitalism. Here, we witness the varied and peculiar worlds of matsutake commerce: the worlds of Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, industrial forests, Yi Chinese goat herders, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions also lead us into fungal ecologies and forest histories to better understand the promise of cohabitation in a time of massive human destruction. By investigating one of the world's most sought-after fungi, The Mushroom at the End of the World presents an original examination into the relation between capitalist destruction and collaborative survival within multispecies landscapes, the prerequisite for continuing life on earth.
When do words and actions empower? When do they betray? Based on ethnographic fieldwork, this volume tracks the repercussions of advocacy activism against house demolitions in 'unrecognised' Arab-Bedouin villages in Israel's southern 'internal frontier'. It highlights the repercussions of activism for victims, fund-raisers and activists. The ethnographic episodes show how humanitarian aid intervention and indigenous identity politics can turn into a double-edged sword. Ironically, institutional lobbying for coexistence and its interpretative categories can sometimes perpetuate different forms of subjugation. The volume also shows how, beyond the institutional lobbying, novel figures of activism emerge: informal networks create non-sectarian, cross-cutting countercultures and rethink human-environment relationships. These experimental political subjects redefine the categories of the conflict and elude the logic of zero-sum games; they point towards a shifting paradigm in current ethnopolitics. Koensler outlines an ethnographic approach for the study of social movements that follows multiple relations around mobilisations rather than studying activism in itself. This perspective thus becomes relevant for scholars and activists engaged with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and those interested in global rights discourses.
On the premise that words have the power to make worlds, each essay in this book follows a word as it travels around the globe and across time. Scholars from five disciplines address thirteen societies to highlight the social and political life of words in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. The approach is consciously experimental, in that rigorously tracking specific words in specific settings frequently leads in unexpected directions and alters conventional depictions of global modernity. Such words as security in Brazil, responsibility in Japan, community in Thailand, and hijāb in France changed the societies in which they moved even as the words were changed by them. Some words threatened to launch wars, as injury did in imperial Britain’s relations with China in the nineteenth century. Others, such as secularism, worked in silence to agitate for political change in twentieth-century Morocco. Words imposed or imported from abroad could be transformed by those who wielded them to oppose the very powers that first introduced them, as happened in Turkey, Indonesia, and the Philippines. Taken together, this selection of fourteen essays reveals commonality as well as distinctiveness across modern societies, making the world look different from the interdisciplinary and transnational perspective of “words in motion.” Contributors. Mona Abaza, Itty Abraham, Partha Chatterjee, Carol Gluck, Huri Islamoglu, Claudia Koonz, Lydia H. Liu, Driss Maghraoui, Vicente L. Rafael, Craig J. Reynolds, Seteney Shami, Alan Tansman, Kasian Tejapira, Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing
Childhoods at the Intersection of the Local and the Global examines the imposition of the modern Western notion of childhood, which is now deemed as universal, on other cultures and explores how local communities react to these impositions in various ways such as manipulation, outright rejection and acceptance. The book discusses childhoods in different regions of the world and boasts a range of contributors from several academic disciplines such as Sociology, Social Work, Education, Anthropology, Criminology and Human Rights, who are experts on the regions they discuss. The book argues against the notion of a universal childhood and illustrates that different societies around the world have different notions of childhood. This book is recommended reading for students, scholars and practitioners working with children in the Global South as well as internationally.
In The Land of Weddings and Rain, Gediminas Lankauskas examines the components of the contemporary urban wedding – religious and civil ceremonies, “traditional” imagery and practices, and the conspicuous consumption of domestic and imported goods – in the context of the Western-style modernization of post-socialist Lithuania. Studying the tensions between “tradition” and “modernity” that surround this important ritual event, Lankauskas highlights the ways in which nationalism serves to negotiate the impact of modernity in the aftermath of state socialism’s collapse. His analysis also shows the importance of consumption and commodification to Lithuania’s ongoing “Westernization.” Based on more than a decade of ethnographic research, The Land of Weddings and Rain is a fascinating account of the tensions – between national and transnational, East and West, and old and new – that shape life in post-socialist Eastern Europe.
Viewing Foucault in the light of work by Continental and American philosophers, most notably Nietzsche, Habermas, Deleuze, Richard Rorty, Bernard Williams, and Ian Hacking, Genealogy as Critique shows that philosophical genealogy involves not only the critique of modernity but also its transformation. Colin Koopman engages genealogy as a philosophical tradition and a method for understanding the complex histories of our present social and cultural conditions. He explains how our understanding of Foucault can benefit from productive dialogue with philosophical allies to push Foucaultian genealogy a step further and elaborate a means of addressing our most intractable contemporary problems.
Between 1870 and 1945, advances in communication and transportation simultaneously expanded and shrank the world. In five interpretive essays, A World Connecting goes beyond nations, empires, and world wars to capture the era’s defining feature: the profound and disruptive shift toward an ever more rapidly integrating world.
The financial industry's invention of complex products such as credit default swaps and other derivatives has been widely blamed for triggering the global financial crisis of 2008. In Codes of Finance, Vincent Antonin Lépinay, a former employee of one of the world’s leading investment banks, takes readers behind the scenes of the equity derivatives business at the bank before the crisis, providing a detailed firsthand account of the creation, marketing, selling, accounting, and management of these financial instruments—and of how they ultimately created havoc inside and outside the bank.
Armed with cheap digital technologies and a fiercely independent spirit, millions of young people from around the world have taken cultural production into their own hands, crafting their own clothing lines, launching their own record labels, and forging a vast, collaborative network of impassioned amateurs more interested in making than consuming. DIY Style tells the story of this international do-it-yourself (DIY) movement through a major case study of one of its biggest, but least known contingents: the "indie" music and fashion scene of the predominantly Muslim Southeast Asian island nation of Indonesia. Through rich ethnographic detail, in-depth historical analysis, and cutting-edge social theory, the book chronicles the rise of DIY culture in Indonesia, and also explores the phenomenon in Europe and the United States, painting an evocative portrait of vibrant communities who are not only making and distributing popular culture on their own terms, but working to tear down the barriers between production and consumption, third and first world, global and local. What emerges from the book is a cautiously optimistic view of the future of global capitalism - a creative, collectivist alternative built from the ground up. This exciting and original study is essential reading for students and scholars of anthropology, fashion, media studies, cultural studies and sociology.