"The thesis is radical," writes Marshall Sahlins of this landmark text in anthropology and political science. "We conventionally define the state as the regulation of violence; it may be the origin of it. Clastres's thesis is that economic expropriation and political coercion are inconsistent with the character of tribal society - which is to say, with the greater part of human history."Can there be a society that is not divided into oppressors and oppressed, or that refuses coercive state apparatuses? In this beautifully written book, Pierre Clastres offers examples of South American Indian groups that, although without hierarchical leadership, were both affluent and complex. In so doing he refutes the usual negative definition of tribal society and poses its order as a radical critique of our own Western state of power.Born in 1934, Pierre Clastres was educated at the Sorbonne; throughout the 1960s he lived with Indian groups in Paraguay and Venezuela. From 1971 until his death in 1979 he was Director of Studies at the fifth section of the Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes in Paris and held the Chair of Religion and Societies of the South American Indians there.Robert Hurley is the translator of the History of Sexuality by Michel Foucault and cotranslator of Anti-Oedipus by Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari.
Author: Bruce Kapferer
Publisher: Berghahn Books
Release Date: 2011-12-30
Genre: Social Science
The civil war in Sri Lanka and the part that nationalism seemed to play in it inspired the writing of this book some twenty-three years ago. The argument was developed through a comparative analysis of nationalism in Sri Lanka with the author's native Australia. At the time this constituted an innovative approach to comparison in anthropology, as well as to nationalism and its possibilities. It was not based on differences but on the way in which perspectives from within the two nationalisms, when seen side-by-side, could present an understanding of their implication in producing the violence of war, racism, and social exclusion. The book has lost none of its importance and urgency as proven by the chapters in the Appendix, written by top scholars working in Sri Lanka and in Australia. These contributions bring together new material and critically explore the book's themes and their continued relevance to the various trajectories in nationalist processes since the first publication of the book.
When the spring came the people - what was left of them - moved back by the old paths from the sea. But this year strange things were happening, terrifying things that had never happened before. Inexplicable sounds and smells; new, unimaginable creatures half glimpsed through the leaves. What the people didn't, and perhaps never would, know, was that the day of their people was already over...
The Primeiro Comando do Capital (PCC) is a Sao Paulo prison gang that since the 1990s has expanded into the most powerful criminal network in Brazil. Karina Biondi's rich ethnography of the PCC is uniquely informed by her insider-outsider status. Prior to his acquittal, Biondi's husband was incarcerated in a PCC-dominated prison for several years. During the period of Biondi's intense and intimate visits with her husband and her extensive fieldwork in prisons and on the streets of Sao Paulo, the PCC effectively controlled more than 90 percent of Sao Paulo's 147 prison facilities. Available for the first time in English, Biondi's riveting portrait of the PCC illuminates how the organization operates inside and outside of prison, creatively elaborating on a decentered, non-hierarchical, and far-reaching command system. This system challenges both the police forces against which the PCC has declared war and the methods and analytic concepts traditionally employed by social scientists concerned with crime, incarceration, and policing. Biondi posits that the PCC embodies a "politics of transcendence," a group identity that is braided together with, but also autonomous from, its decentralized parts. Biondi also situates the PCC in relation to redemocratization and rampant socioeconomic inequality in Brazil, as well as to counter-state movements, crime, and punishment in the Americas.
Author: Christopher Krupa
Publisher: University of Pennsylvania Press
Release Date: 2015-03-17
In the last few decades, Andean states have seen major restructuring of the organization, leadership, and reach of their governments. With these political tremors come major aftershocks, regarding both definitions and expectations: What is a state? Who or what makes it up, and where does it reside? In what capacity can the state be expected to right wrongs, raise people up, protect them from harm, maintain order, or provide public services? What are its powers and responsibilities? State Theory and Andean Politics attempts to answer these questions and more through an examination of the ongoing process of state-creation in Andean nations. Focusing on the everyday, extra-official, and frequently invisible or partially concealed permutations of rule in the lives of Andean people, the essays explore the material and cultural processes by which states come to appear as real and tangible parts of everyday life. In particular, they focus on the critical role of emotion, imagination, and fantasy in generating belief in the state, among the governed and the governing alike. This approach pushes beyond the limits of the state as conventionally understood to consider how "non-state" acts of governance intersect with official institutions of government, while never being entirely determined by them or bound to their authorizing agendas. State Theory and Andean Politics asserts that the state is not simply an institutional-bureaucratic apparatus but one of many forces vying for a claim to legitimate political dominion. Featuring an impressive array of Andeanist scholars as well as eminent state theorists Akhil Gupta and Gyanendra Pandey, State Theory and Andean Politics makes a bold and novel claim about the nature of states and state-making that deepens understanding not only of the Andes and Global South but of the world at large. Contributors: Kim Clark, Nicole Fabricant, Lesley Gill, Akhil Gupta, Christopher Krupa, David Nugent, Gyanendra Pandey, Mercedes Prieto, Maria Clemencia Ramírez, Irene Silverblatt, Karen Spalding, Winifred Tate.
The essays assembled in this book exemplify the way political anthropologists address a range of problems that deeply affect people throughout the world. The authors draw their inspiration from the work of Canadian anthropologist Richard B. Lee, and, like him, they are concerned with understanding and acting upon issues of "indigenous rights"; the impact of colonialism, postcolonial state formation, and neoliberalism on local communities and cultures; the process of culture change; what the history and politics of egalitarian societies reveal about issues of "human nature" or "social evolution"; and how peoples in southern Africa are affected by and responding to the most recent crisis in their midst, the spread of AIDS. The authors in this volume discuss the state of a range of contemporary debates in the field that in various ways extend the political, theoretical, and empirical issues that have animated Lee's work. In addition, the book provides readers with important contemporary Kalahari studies, as well as "classic" works on foraging societies.
Author: Jonathan Spencer
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Release Date: 2007-07-19
Genre: Social Science
In recent years anthropology has rediscovered its interest in politics. Building on the findings of this research, this book, first published in 2007, analyses the relationship between culture and politics, with special attention to democracy, nationalism, the state and political violence. Beginning with scenes from an unruly early 1980s election campaign in Sri Lanka, it covers issues from rural policing in north India to slum housing in Delhi, presenting arguments about secularism and pluralism, and the ambiguous energies released by electoral democracy across the subcontinent. It ends by discussing feminist peace activists in Sri Lanka, struggling to sustain a window of shared humanity after two decades of war. Bringing together and linking the themes of democracy, identity and conflict, this important new study shows how anthropology can take a central role in understanding other people's politics, especially the issues that seem to have divided the world since 9/11.
Author: James C. Scott
Publisher: Yale University Press
Release Date: 1999-02-01
Genre: Political Science
Why do well-intentioned plans for improving the human condition go tragically awry? In a wide-ranging and original study, James C. Scott analyzes failed cases of large-scale authoritarian plans in a variety of fields. He argues that centrally managed social plans derail when schematic visions are imposed on long-established structures without taking into account preexisting interdependencies.