The men who knew too much

Sardines, skills, and the labor process in Jaffa, Israel, 1948–1979

in Focaal
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  • 1 Harvard University naorben@fas.harvard.edu
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This historical anthropology of the rise and fall of Israel's post-1948 sardine purse-seining development project shows what happens when marginalized groups, who are initially excluded as “backward” or “primitive”, enter modernization projects that are based on politics of skillfulness and experts' control over the labor process. By focusing on the role that skills play in the struggle between experts and artisans over the labor process, I show how the dynamics within state-run production apparatuses can make workers and experts face dilemmas about productivity, profit, and effectiveness, leading to such projects' implosion. This mode of analysis exposes the contradictions within projects of governance as well as in their relational intersection with the people they subjugate and exclude.

Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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