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Accepted Paper:

Plantations to sweatshops - Lineages of the postcolonial state  

Author:

Patrick Neveling (University of Bergen)

Paper short abstract:

This presentation engages recent advances in the global history of capitalism and their focus on plantation economies and labour regimes from a global historical anthropology perspective. The paper offers a genuinely anthropological history of capitalism since around 1815.

Paper long abstract:

This presentation engages recent advances in the global history of capitalism and their focus on plantation economies and labour regimes from a global historical anthropology perspective. If recent new global histories of capitalism have focused on US-American plantations and thus reveal a Western-centric angle, social anthropologists like Sidney Mintz, Erik Wolf and Rolph-Michel Trouillot have researched and theorised the complex, multi-layered responsiveness of local political economies in a changing capitalist world-system.

This understanding of responsiveness guides my reconstruction of the changing incorporation of peripheral regions into the capitalist world-system and that incorporation's articulation in regimes of superexploitation; first via plantations and extractive industries in colonised territories and, second, with the beginning of the Cold War, as postcolonial nation with outsourced, super-exploitative export-oriented industrialisation in special economic zones and related regimes.

Based on global archival and ethnographic research for the period since 1800, the presentation relates the succession of capitalist labour regime to variegated articulations of racism and class formation. The paper argues that such an anthropological history of capitalism necessarily develops their arguments based on research in the alleged peripheries pf the global system and sheds light on the lineages of the postcolonial, neoliberal state.

Panel P033
Bringing race-making and class struggles in plantations and export industries back to the research agenda