State University of New York Press

SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work

June C. Nash

Published by: State University of New York Press

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SUNY series in the Anthropology of Work

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Brickyards to Graveyards

From Production to Genocide in Rwanda

Brickyards to Graveyards examines how the overidealized picture of Rwanda as the darling of the world community in the 1980s was shattered amidst the genocide that occurred a decade later. The brick and tile industries of Rwanda provide a microcosm to examine the transformation of gender, class, and power relations through the precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods, and provide insights into the explosive impact of these changes on Rwandan culture and society. The book illustrates how these gender, class, and power relations played out in times of economic, political, and demographic crisis, and argues that these factors have not changed significantly since the Rwandan Patriotic Front took power in 1994.

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Contesting Agriculture

Cooperativism and Privatization in the New Eastern Germany

This analysis of the privatization of agriculture in eastern Germany captures the turbulent times after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent reunification of the two Germanies. Based in large part on oral histories provided by cooperative managers, newly independent family farmers, and westerners who established farms in the east, the authors examine the competitive struggle involved in the transformation from communism to capitalism. Linking the personal to the local, regional, national, and global, they develop a theory of the construction of identities out of past experiences and new challenges, in order to account for the ambiguities and contradictions inherent in the core relations and ideas that constitute the new Germany.

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Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline, Second Edition

Factory Women in Malaysia

New edition of Aihwa Ong’s classic ethnographic study of Malay women factory workers. In the two decades since its original publication, Spirits of Resistance and Capitalist Discipline has become an ethnographic classic in the fields of anthropology, labor studies, and gender and globalization studies. Based on anthropological field work in an agricultural district in Selangor, Peninsular Malaysia, Spirits of Resistance captures a moment of profound transformation, illustrated by the disruptions, conflicts, and ambivalences in the lives of Malay women during the rapid industrialization associated with Malaysia’s rise as a tiger economy. Aihwa Ong’s nuanced approach to the Malay women factory workers’ experiences of the contradictions of modern globalized capitalism has inspired subsequent generations of feminist ethnographers in their explorations of key questions of power, resistance, femininities, religious community, and social change. With a new critical introduction by anthropologist Carla Freeman, this new edition of Spirits of Resistance continues to offer an exemplary model of sophisticated analysis of culturally based resistance to the ideology, surveillance, and institutional authority of globalized corporate capitalism.

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Subsidizing Capitalism

Brickmakers on the U.S.-Mexican Border

In Mexico, self-employed brickmakers support capitalist enterprise by providing bricks to build hotels, factories, office buildings, and shopping malls at costs lower than those based on profit-making principles. Combining Chayanovian and neo-Marxist approaches, Subsidizing Capitalism asserts that the economic activities of these self-employed brickmakers may be considered counterhegemonic because they avoid proletarianization in the formal sector. Tamar Diana Wilson discusses the similarities between peasants and brickmakers, the structural position of garbage pickers in relation to brickmakers, the trajectory from piece worker to petty commodity producer to petty capitalist, the economic value of women’s and children’s work as part of the family labor force, and how the neopatriarchal household is intrinsic to petty commodity production. Interspersed throughout are short stories and poems that offer the brickmakers’ perspectives and provide a rarely seen look into their lives.

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Workers and Narratives of Survival in Europe

The Management of Precariousness at the End of the Twentieth Century

Workers and Narratives of Survival in Europe explores the growing problem of job uncertainty in Europe at the end of the twentieth century. The management of professional precariousness is reconsidered against the backdrop of far-reaching social, economic, and political changes in Europe in recent decades, including: the instability of the traditional family; the emergence of new forms of parenthood; globalization of the economic sphere; attempts to impose a uniform pattern of culture; and the breakdown of borders with former Communist countries. The contributors utilize extensive field studies in both Western and Central Europe to understand the meaning of professional uncertainty, as perceived by its victims, and the strategies they develop to face it.

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