Culture, Power, Place

Explorations in Critical Anthropology

Culture, Power, Place

Book Pages: 376 Illustrations: Published: July 1997

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Anthropology has traditionally relied on a spatially localized society or culture as its object of study. The essays in Culture, Power, Place demonstrate how in recent years this anthropological convention and its attendant assumptions about identity and cultural difference have undergone a series of important challenges. In light of increasing mass migration and the transnational cultural flows of a late capitalist, postcolonial world, the contributors to this volume examine shifts in anthropological thought regarding issues of identity, place, power, and resistance.
This collection of both new and well-known essays begins by critically exploring the concepts of locality and community; first, as they have had an impact on contemporary global understandings of displacement and mobility, and, second, as they have had a part in defining identity and subjectivity itself. With sites of discussion ranging from a democratic Spain to a Puerto Rican barrio in North Philadelphia, from Burundian Hutu refugees in Tanzania to Asian landscapes in rural California, from the silk factories of Hangzhou to the long-sought-after home of the Palestinians, these essays examine the interplay between changing schemes of categorization and the discourses of difference on which these concepts are based. The effect of the placeless mass media on our understanding of place—and the forces that make certain identities viable in the world and others not—are also discussed, as are the intertwining of place-making, identity, and resistance as they interact with the meaning and consumption of signs. Finally, this volume offers a self-reflective look at the social and political location of anthropologists in relation to the questions of culture, power, and place—the effect of their participation in what was once seen as their descriptions of these constructions. Contesting the classical idea of culture as the shared, the agreed upon, and the orderly, Culture, Power, Place is an important intervention in the disciplines of anthropology and cultural studies.

Contributors. George E. Bisharat, John Borneman, Rosemary J. Coombe, Mary M. Crain, James Ferguson, Akhil Gupta, Kristin Koptiuch, Karen Leonard, Richard Maddox, Lisa H. Malkki, John Durham Peters, Lisa Rofel


“A landmark contribution. . . . The merits of this superb volume rest not only on the impressive theoretical insights and contributions of each individual piece, but on the intellectual conversations that are enabled by consolidating the articles into one volume. In their masterful introduction Gupta and Ferguson take full advantage of the valuable pieces at hand to synthesize and compare their findings for insights into the relationships between culture, power, and place, and the related cross-cutting themes of place-making, identity, and resistance.” — Jerome R. Mintz , Anthropological Quarterly

“Together [the essays] give a vivid and broad-ranging picture of the state of art in critical anthropology. . . . The volume shows the complex range of approaches emerging after the ‘peoples and cultures’ paradigm.” — Finn Stepputat and Ninna Nyberg Sørensen , Social Anthropology

Culture, Power, Place is exciting, timely, and consequential. This fine book promises to be a contribution of real intellectual significance—and should attract a very large audience both within anthropology and in cultural studies and related fields. This is mature, provocative, well-grounded and imaginative scholarship of the highest quality.” — Don Brenneis, University of California, Santa Cruz

“This collection presses forward the agenda of rethinking the anthropological keywords of ‘culture’ and ‘society,’ and towards an expansion of flexible yet rigorous ways of understanding the shifting terms of cultural tradition and political economy in the contemporary world.” — Orin Starn, Duke University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Akhil Gupta is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. James Ferguson is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments vii

Culture, Power, Place: Ethnography at the End of an Era / Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson 1

Part I: Space, Culture, Identity

Beyond "Culture": Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference / Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson 33

National Geographic: The Rooting of Peoples and the Territorialization of National Identity among Scholars and Refugees / Liisa H. Malkki 52

Seeing Bifocally: Media, Place, Culture / John Durham Peters 75

State, Territory, and National Identity Formation in the Two Berlins, 1945–1995 / John Borneman 93

Finding One's Own Place: Asian Landscapes Re-visioned in Rural California / Karen Leonard 118

The Country and the City on the Copperbelt / James Ferguson 137

Rethinking Modernity: Space and Factory Discipline in China / Lisa Rofel 155

The Song of the Nonaligned World: Transnational Identities and the Reinscription of Space in Late Capitalism / Akhil Gupta 179

Part II: Culture, Power, Resistance

Exile to Compatriot: Transformations in the Social Identity of Palestinian Refugees in the West Bank / George E. Bisharat 203

Third-Worlding at Home / Kristin Koptiuch 234

The Demonic Place of the "Not There": Trademark Rumors in the Postindustrial Imaginary / Rosemary J. Coombe 249

Bombs, Bikinis, and the Popes of Rock 'n' Roll: Reflections on Resistance, the Play of Subordinations, and Liberalism in Andalusia and Academia, 1983–1995 / Richard Maddox 277

The Remaking of an Andalusian Pilgrimage Tradition: Debates Regarding Visual (Re)presentation and the Meanings of "Locality" in a Global Era / Mary M. Crain 291

Works Cited 313

Index 347

Contributors 359
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Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-1940-5 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-1934-4
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