e-Duke Books

Culture, Power, Place:

Explorations in Critical Anthropology

Edited by Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson

Anthropology has traditionally relied on a spatially localized society or culture as its object of study. The essays in Culture, Power, Place demonstrate how in recent years this anthropological convention and its attendant assumptions about identity and cultural difference have undergone a series of important challenges. In light of increasing mass migration and the transnational cultural flows of a late capitalist, postcolonial world, the contributors to this volume examine shifts in anthropological thought regarding issues of identity, place, power, and resistance.

This collection of both new and well-known essays begins by critically exploring the concepts of locality and community; first, as they have had an impact on contemporary global understandings of displacement and mobility, and, second, as they have had a part in defining identity and subjectivity itself. With sites of discussion ranging from a democratic Spain to a Puerto Rican barrio in North Philadelphia, from Burundian Hutu refugees in Tanzania to Asian landscapes in rural California, from the silk factories of Hangzhou to the long-sought-after home of the Palestinians, these essays examine the interplay between changing schemes of categorization and the discourses of difference on which these concepts are based. The effect of the placeless mass media on our understanding of place—and the forces that make certain identities viable in the world and others not—are also discussed, as are the intertwining of place-making, identity, and resistance as they interact with the meaning and consumption of signs. Finally, this volume offers a self-reflective look at the social and political location of anthropologists in relation to the questions of culture, power, and place—the effect of their participation in what was once seen as their descriptions of these constructions. Contesting the classical idea of culture as the shared, the agreed upon, and the orderly, Culture, Power, Place is an important intervention in the disciplines of anthropology and cultural studies.

Contributors. George E. Bisharat, John Borneman, Rosemary J. Coombe, Mary M. Crain, James Ferguson, Akhil Gupta, Kristin Koptiuch, Karen Leonard, Richard Maddox, Lisa H. Malkki, John Durham Peters, Lisa Rofel

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