Introduction Part A: Marxism, anthropology, global capitalism
(University of Bergen)
Paper short abstract:
This is Part A of an introduction to the panel that sets out programmatic approaches for anthropology to center around Marxian and related analyses of social dynamics as structured over time and place in the context of global capitalism.
Paper long abstract:
In this introduction to the panel we set out an agenda to centralize the productive relationship between anthropology and the Marxist tradition. The aim is to strengthen anthropology as a cosmopolitan and dynamic part of those social scienes that contribute powerfully to a relational critique of global capitalism over place and time. It means overcoming the shortcomings of current mainstream anthropology as visible in the latter's reaction to the recent turmoil in the capitalist world system. While mainstream anthropology has never been Marxist, the "globalisation" debate of the 1990s and its flat ontology of global versus meant that many anthropologists completely 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". Showing an alternative to such revionist approaches, we will argue for strategies to overcome the lack of historically and geographically engaged theorizing in these recent mainstream moves. Such strategies include studying the production of value as inextricable from the relations of production and abandoning a notion of "diversity" that is blind to the inherent contradictions of capitalism. (Continued in: Introduction Part B)
Capitalism and global anthropology: Marxism resurgent