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Anthropology Engages the New Immigration
Soaring immigration to the United States in the past few decades has reawakened both popular and scholarly interest in this important issue. American Arrivals highlights the important insights of anthropology for the field of migration studies. The authors reflect on anthropological approaches, methods, and theories and seek to develop a research program for the future. Placing contemporary immigration in the perspective of globalization and transnational social fields, their essays demonstrate the importance of gender and urban contexts to understanding immigrants' lives. Addressing issues of health care, education, and cultural values and practices among Mexicans, Haitians, Somalis, Afghans, and other newcomers to the United States, the authors illuminate the complex ways that immigrants adapt to life in a new land and raise serious questions about the meaning and political uses of ideas about cultural difference.
Drawing on fieldwork in Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Peru, Guatemala, India, Chad, Colombia, and South Africa, the contributors examine official documentary practices and their forms and falsifications; the problems that highly mobile mercenaries, currency, goods, arms, and diamonds pose to the state; emerging non-state regulatory authorities; and the role language plays as cultures struggle to articulate their situation. These case studies provide wide-ranging analyses of the relationship between states and peoples on the edges of state power's effective reign.
“Biosecurity” has ballooned into an increasingly mundane aspect of human experience, serving as a catchall for the detection, surveillance, containment, and deflection of everything from epidemics and natural disasters to resource scarcities and political insurgencies. The bundling together of security measures, its associated infrastructure, and its modes of governance alongside response times underscores a new urgency of preparedness—a growing global ethos ever alert to unforeseen danger—and actions that favor risk assessment, imagined worst-case scenarios, and carefully orchestrated, preemptive interventions. The contributors to Bioinsecurity and Vulnerability understand biosecurity to be a practice that links national identity with the securitization of daily governance. They argue against biosecurity as the new status quo by focusing instead on its ugly underbelly. Through considering the vulnerability of individuals and groups, particularly looking at how vulnerability propagates in the shadow of biosecurity, this volume challenges the acceptance of surveillance and security measures as necessities of life in the new millennium.
Markets, Values, and Moral Economies
The moral aspects of the marketplace have never been so contentious or consequential. However, the realm of economics is often treated as a world unto itself, a domain where human behavior is guided not by emotions, beliefs, moralities, or the passions that fascinate anthropologists but by the hard calculus of rational choices.
Community has long been a critical concept for social scientists, and never more so amid the growing economic inequity, natural and human disasters, and warfare of the opening years of the twenty-first century. In this volume, leading scholar-activists develop a conceptual framework for both the theory and practice of building communities. Rethinking the very concept in light of technological change and globalization, they examine local responses to worldwide trends, study the ways that communities generate and use resources, and evaluate existing theories and approaches to community building to determine the best strategies for fostering community strength and vitality. Their work with groups ranging from refugees, religious charities, and poor urban neighborhoods to tribal peoples, international corporations, and public health agencies demonstrates that local communities contain the seeds for a more desirable future and suggests how we may encourage those seeds to grow.
Unexpected Contexts, Shifting Constituencies, Changing Agendas
Building on the legacy of Writing Culture, Critical Anthropology Now vividly represents the changing nature of anthropological research practice, demonstrating how new and more complicated locations of research-from the boardrooms of multinational corporations to the chat rooms of the Internet-are giving rise to shifts in the character of fieldwork and fieldworker.
Secrecy, Literacy, and Perfectibility in Indigenous New Mexico
In Fixing the Books, Erin Debenport presents the research she conducted on an indigenous language literacy effort within a New Mexico Pueblo community, and the potential of that literacy to compromise Pueblo secrecy. She analyzes the decision to produce written materials in a historically oral language and whether that decision is at odds with the linguistically and culturally “conservative” reputation of Southwest tribes, and potentially disrupts the control of both the intra- and intercommunity circulation of cultural knowledge. Debenport concentrates on the role of literacy in the formation of groups and the ways such groups have been connected to political participation, using the case study of San Ramón Pueblo (she uses pseudonyms throughout) as a counterexample to some of the prototypical cases of textual circulation. She concludes that an apparent contradiction surrounding this pueblo’s literacy effort is actually a reflection of the often unexpected uses of texts that occur in contexts of revitalization and emergent literacy and the multiple language ideologies being utilized by community members.
Enduring Struggles, Contentious Practice, Intimate Identities
Extended conflict situations in Northern Ireland or South Africa, the local effects of the rise of multinational corporations, and conflicts in workplaces, households, and academic fields are all crucibles for the forging of identities. In this volume, the authors bring their research to bear on enduring struggles and the practices of identity within those struggles. This collection of essays explores the innermost, generative aspects of subjects as social, cultural, and historical beings and raises serious questions about long-term conflicts and sustained identities in the world today. Nine ethnographers address such topics as the politically sexualized transformation of identities of women political prisoners in Northern Ireland; the changing character of political activism across generations in a Guatemala Mayan family; the cultural forms that mediate the struggles of working-class men on shop floors in England; and class and community struggles between the state and grassroots activists in New York.
The contributors to this volume critique and abandon the limiting assumption that the European colonialism of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries can be taken as the representative form of imperialism. Recasting the study of imperial governance, forms of sovereignty, and the imperial state, the authors pay close attention to non-European empires and the active trade in ideas, practices, and technologies among empires, as well as between metropolitan regions and far-flung colonies. The Ottoman, Russian, Chinese, Spanish, and Japanese empires provide provocative case studies that challenge the temporal and conceptual framework within which colonial studies usually operates. Was the Soviet Union an empire or a nation-state? What of Tibet, only recently colonized but long engaged with several imperial powers? Imperial Formations alters our understanding of past empires the better to understand the way that complex history shapes the politics of the present imperial juncture.
from Columbus to Collier and Beyond
In Indian Policies in the Americas, Adams addresses the idea that "the Indian," as conceived by colonial powers and later by different postcolonial interest groups, was as much ideology as empirical reality. Adams surveys the policies of the various colonial and postcolonial powers, then reflects upon the great ideological, moral, and intellectual issues that underlay those policies.