Confronting the Present : Towards a Politically Engaged Anthropology book cover
1st Edition

Confronting the Present
Towards a Politically Engaged Anthropology

ISBN 9781859732052
Published February 1, 1999 by Routledge
312 Pages

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Book Description

Anthropologists study other people and worry about it. In the past this took the form of a professional desire to make our politics always somewhere else and to do with persons characterized as in some way different from ourselves. Now distances shrink and old forms of difference melt as global forces give rise to new processes of differentiation and new possibilities for political collectivities. How does this affect the way we might design a politically relevant anthropology? This book examines these concerns in light of the author's shift from the study of rather distant people to people and places closer to home - a trend to be found within the discipline as a whole. How should anthropology respond to this change, as it increasingly finds itself in stamping grounds where other disciplines are already well-entrenched? How will work being done in anthropology intersect with that in other disciplines? Will anthropologists have anything to offer debates that have been ongoing in these other disciplines, such as those relating to social citizenship and collective identity, regionalism and the constitution of space and place, hegemony and resistance, political organization and cultural expression? Conversely, what can anthropologists learn from the way other disciplines formulate these issues and problems?Written to provoke discussion, this timely book aims to initiate a dialogue not only with anthropologists, but also with those in related disciplines who share a concern with people, politics and modernity. As well as anthropologists, the issues it tackles will be of interest to geographers, economists, political scientists, social historians and sociologists.

Table of Contents

PART I Selective Traditions CHAPTER ONE Politically engaged social enquiry and images of society PART ll Cultural Differentiations CHAPTER TWO The production of culture in local rebellion CHAPTER THREE Secret agents, hidden meanings: domination and resistance re-examined PART III Modernity and New Socio-Economic Forms CHAPTER FOUR Knowing their place: regional economies and the social construction of place in Western Europe CHAPTER FIVE Towards an ethnographic method for the study of 'informalized' regional economies in Western Europe PART IV Disciplined Practices CHAPTER SIX Overlapping collectivities: Local concern, state welfare and social Membership CHAPTER SEVEN The dialectics of history and will: The Janus face of hegemonic processes

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Gavin Smith University of Toronto