State University of New York Press

SUNY series in Anthropological Studies of Contemporary Issues (discontinued)

Jack R. Rollwagen

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in Anthropological Studies of Contemporary Issues (discontinued)

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Circle of Goods

Women, Work, and Welfare in a Reservation Community

Studies how women in a reservation economy have creatively responded to federal policy. Circle of Goods compiles the stories of Native American women and examines their kinship, wage work, and informal economies. Responding to the upheavals of reservation life brought about by federal policies—from commodity rations to welfare reform—Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara women, each with distinct histories and cultural practices, stand at the center of the Fort Berthold reservation economy. Berman introduces the concept of ceremonial relations of production to explain the contradictory effects of economic incentives and cultural commitments, and argues that the historical movement of people and goods through a series of structured dependencies often gives rise to creative strategies for survival and new social identities.

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Culture, Economy, Power

Anthropology as Critique, Anthropology as Praxis

Grounded in a conviction that anthropological knowledge implies critique and that engaging in anthropology is also ultimately an act of praxis, various contributors explore the ways in which the precepts of Marxism continue to illuminate and enhance our understanding of culture, economy, and politics. They focus on the question of epistemology to examine the process of anthropological intellectual production in different national settings and analyze the ways in which hierarchies of power and forms of state domination figure in the formation of subjectivities in different ethnographic contexts. The authors also reflect upon how class, gender, ethnicity, racialized forms of ethnicity, as well as regional and national identities, are configured through the relationships involved in making a living under late capitalism.

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Petty Capitalists and Globalization

Flexibility, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development

Globalization is often seen as driven by large corporations and supranational organizations. Enterprises operated by petty capitalists may be small, but there is nothing petty about their significance for the operation of economies or our understanding of contemporary societies, families, and localities. Petty Capitalism and Globalization uses ethnographic research to examine how small firms in Europe, Asia, and Latin America have been compelled to operate and compete in a fast-moving transnational economic environment. From Nepalese rug makers to German bakers to Taiwanese memory chip designers, these fascinating case studies delve into the complex situation of petty capitalists, often ambiguously situated between capital and labor, cooperation and exploitation, family and economy, tradition and modernity, friends and competitors. Understanding the position of petty capitalists in a global economy provides lessons in the potential and limitations of promoting small firms and entrepreneurship as a route to sustainable development.

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