Paper short abstract:
This paper moves towards a historical materialist ontology that captures the tensions of the definite and the infinite arising within the capitalist system.
Paper long abstract:
The political economy of capitalism leaves people with no choice as it is designed to incorporate any mode of production on any scale. But humans are able to sense the world they live in in infinite ways. This paper moves towards a historical materialist ontology that captures the tensions of the definite and the infinite arising within the capitalist system.
Matching my ethnographic case study, I map and analyse a middle-range temporal scale, the twentieth and early twenty-first century. Around the time that a South-Korean farmer chose to commit ritual suicide on a fence in the Mexican city Cancun that separated angry protestors and the delegations to the World Trade Organisation's summit talks on August 10th 2003, some 1,000 demonstrators marched through the Mauritian capital Port Louis relating their lives and times to the negotiations in Cancun and the effects agreements would have on the manifestations of Mauritian global integration. Letters signed by thousands of Mauritians were handed to ministries, speakers charted the achievements of social movements in Mauritius in regard to human rights (i.e. universal pension/unemployment benefits, education, right to employment) and warned about the abusive relations of communal and family structures that people have to turn to in times of hardship. The best move to capture what was said and done, I argue, is to analyse the event that the demonstration was as a conscious choice among the infinite ways of sensing the socio-genealogical position of actors and institutions in colonial and postcolonial Mauritius.
Innovation and continuity in times of uncertainty: bridging perspectives on economic life