Intellectual labor in dark times

in Focaal
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  • 1 Vanderbilt University
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The post–Great Recession, zombielike resurrection of neoliberalism has taken much of Europe and the United States on a hard-right detour into a twilight zone of populist nationalism, where far-right critiques of the status quo resonate more deeply with the white working class than leftist analyses. As rising fears of cultural eclipse, economic decline, and elite resentment drive the appeal of right-wing nationalists in the United States, Europe, India, and beyond, what role should intellectuals, and especially anthropologists, play in countering the creeping authoritarianism and growing inequality of our times? What kind of leverage can intellectual labor have on social reality? How can intellectuals broaden the boundaries of political possibility so that progressive, transformative collective action becomes imaginable?

Contributor Notes

Lesley Gill is Professor of Anthropology at Vanderbilt University. Her research interests in Latin America focus on political violence, human rights, global economic restructuring, the state, and transformations in class, gender, and ethnic relations. Email:


Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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