1st Edition

The Tumultuous Politics of Scale Unsettled States, Migrants, Movements in Flux

Edited By Donald M. Nonini, Ida Susser Copyright 2020
    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    274 Pages
    by Routledge

    Continue Shopping

    Contemporary politics, this book contends, depend upon the turbulent

    struggles and strategies around scale. Confl icts over scale can be seen

    as opaque class struggles. Political projects, whether from the ground up

    or representing corporate or state interests, continually contest the scale at

    which authority is vested. This volume looks at the way global corporations

    redefi ne the scale of power and how working- class and other movements

    build alliances and cross scales to develop political blocs. What injustices

    are perpetrated or, more hopefully, redressed in this process? The book,

    consisting of contributions from anthropologists, geographers, and cultural

    studies scholars, explores theoretical issues around contested temporal and

    spatial scales, and around variations in scale from the body to the global.

    Part I focuses on bodies in motion, entangled in battles over new boundaries

    and political coalitions, and the ways in which migrants and refugees

    are disrupted by intersecting time scales. Part II on the nation- state addresses

    the shifting responsibilities assigned by law at diff erent historical moments

    and the impact of global energy trade on national austerity policies. Part

    III, on rescaling sovereignty, discusses the misleading media discourse on

    “Brexit” and reconstructs the class bases of the move to the Right in Eastern

    Europe that threaten the EU. Part IV on the histories of changing scales of

    movements revisits historical debates on uneven and combined development,

    and sets out the transnational labor movements of the eighteenthand

    nineteenth- century Atlantic, which prefi gure contemporary struggles of

    labor in a world which is still one of uneven and combined capitalist development.

    Finally, Part V considers ways in which some social movements are

    constrained by scale while others reshape parties and traverse nations in their

    eff orts to build class alliances and political blocs.

    1. Introduction – The Tumultuous Politics of Scale: Struggles, Strategies, and Scales in Action [Donald M. Nonini and Ida Susser] Part One. Scales of Domination: Transnational Migration and its Discontents 2. The Making and Un-Making of Border Scales: European Union Migration Control in North and West Africa [Sebastian Cobarrubias] 3. The Temporalities in Migration: Women and Reproduction in the Affective Economies of Late Capitalism [Winnie Lem] Part Two. Problematizing the Nation and the Nation-State 4. Political Violence, Criminal Law and Shifting Scales of Justice [Ruchi Chaturvedi] 5. Networked Flows through a "Porous" State: A Scalar Energo-political Account of the Greek Debt Crisis [Sandy Smith-Nonini] Part Three. Rescaling Sovereignty: The Case of the European Union and Its Outside Insiders 6. Making the Eastern Scale: Class, Contradiction, and the Rise of the ‘illiberal’ Right in Post-socialist Central Europe [Don Kalb] 7. Reimagining Scale, Space and Sovereignty: The United Kingdom and "Brexit" [John Clarke] Part Four. The Longue Durée  8. Interrogating the Agrarian Question Then and Now in Terms of Uneven and Combined Development [Gavin Smith]  9. Dispossession and Emancipation: Reframing Labor’s Political Question for the Neoliberal Era [August Carbonella]  Part Five. Social Movements: Reshaping the Domains of Conflict  10. Downscaled "Local Food" Movements from Below and the Corporate Food Movement from Above: What’s at Stake? [Donald M. Nonini]  11. Localism in One Local: Labor and Scale at the Saturn Automobile Factory [Sharryn Kasmir]  12. Social Protest: Rescaling As a Consequence of Nuit Debout/Occupy [Ida Susser]


    Donald M. Nonini, Professor of Anthropology, University of North

    Carolina, Chapel Hill, has undertaken research in Malaysia, Australia, and the

    United States on citizenship in the Chinese diaspora; U.S. local politics; and

    on the commons. His latest book is “Getting by”: Class and State Formation

    among Chinese in Malaysia (Cornell University Press, 2015).


    Ida Susser, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology at Hunter College

    and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, has published on

    popular mobilizations, social movements, and the urban commons in the

    United States, Europe, and Southern Africa. Her books include Norman

    Street: Poverty and Politics in an Urban Neighborhood (Oxford University Press,

    2012) and the co- edited volumes, Rethinking America (CRC Press, 2009) and

    Wounded Cities (Berg, 2003).


    This book is a worthy and interesting contribution to the revival of "political-economic anthropology" -- that is to the analysis of ethnographic findings in terms of vastly unequal classes and class struggles. The book’s central question is what it means for anthropologists to return to political economy in the globalized world of today. Overall, the collection of essays makes the case for a new set of interlocutors for the discipline. Jane Schneider, City University of New York