PE39
Capitalism and global anthropology: Marxism resurgent

Convenors:
Patrick Neveling (University of Bergen)
Luisa Steur (University of Amsterdam)
Chair:
Susana Narotzky, Steve Reyna
Discussant:
Jonathan Friedman
Location:
Schuster Lab Rutherford
Start time:
7 August, 2013 at 9:00
Session slots:
6

Short abstract:

This panel engages with Marxian and related analyses of social dynamics as structured over time and place in the larger context of global capitalism. Contributors should be explicit about their theoretical/methodological approach and how it is situated vis-à-vis or within Marxist anthropology.

Long abstract:

Recent turmoil in the capitalist world system - signalled as the "crisis" - confronts us with the shortcomings of mainstream anthropology. Following the "globalisation" debate of the 1990s and its flat ontology of global versus local, many anthropologists already lost sight of the elementary structures of capitalism and their cyclical seismic changes. This briefly changed with an interest in "neoliberalism", which ironically however soon became yet another way of not speaking of capitalism. In response to the "crisis", then, we now see an even more defensive move toward "ethnographic theory" and "ethnographies of hope", sheltering behind the totems of fieldwork, the cultural, and the experiential. The lack of historically and geographically engaged theorizing in this move will lead to another dead-end in understanding the social in the context of capitalist change. In this panel we hence seek to engage instead with the renewed interest in Marxian and related Polanyian, Braudelian, and other analyses of social dynamics as structured over time and place in the larger context of global capitalism. We look towards an anthropology that allies itself with history, sociology, and geography and can become a dynamic contributor to the social sciences by focusing on anthropology's strengths in studying the lived entanglements and critical junctions of past and present dynamics of capitalist integration and exclusion. We invite contributors to this endeavour to be explicit about their theoretical and/or methodological approach, discuss how it is situated vis-à-vis or within Marxist anthropology, and relate it to their empirical research.

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