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Alpa Shah and Sara Shneiderman

This is the introduction to a special section of Focaal that includes seven articles on the anthropology of affirmative action in South Asia. The section promotes the sustained, critical ethnographic analysis of affirmative action measures adopted to combat historical inequalities around the world. Turning our attention to the social field of affirmative action opens up new fronts in the anthropological effort to understand the state by carefully engaging the relationship between the formation and effects of policies for differentiated citizenship. We explore this relationship in the historical and contemporary context of South Asia, notably India and Nepal. We argue that affirmative action policies always transform society, but not always as expected. The relationship between political and socioeconomic inequality can be contradictory. Socioeconomic inequalities may persist or be refigured in new terms, as policies of affirmative action and their experiential effects are intimately linked to broader processes of economic liberalization and political transformation.

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French Color Blindness in Perspective

The Controversy over "Statistiques Ethniques"

Daniel Sabbagh and Shanny Peer

In the United States, while some race-based policies such as affirmative action have faced often successful political and legal challenges over the last quartercentury, historically, the very principle of official racial classification has met with much less resistance. The Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment, according to which “no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws,” was not originally intended to incorporate a general rule of “color blindness.” And when in California, in 2003, the “Racial Privacy Initiative” led to a referendum on a measure—Proposition 54—demanding that “the state shall not classify any individual by race, ethnicity, color or national origin,” this restriction was meant to apply exclusively to the operation of public education, public contracting or public employment, that is, the three sites where affirmative action was once in effect and might be reinstated at some point, or so the proponents of that initiative feared. In any case, that measure was roundly defeated at the polls.

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Laura Frader

An American scholar is often struck by the absence of race in France as a category of analysis or the absence of discussions of race in its historical or sociological dimensions. After all, “race” on this side of the Atlantic, for reasons having to do with the peculiar history of the United States, has long been a focus of discussion. The notion of race has shaped scholarly analysis for decades, in history, sociology, and political science. Race also constitutes a category regularly employed by the state, in the census, in electoral districting, and in affirmative action. In France, on the contrary, race hardly seems acknowledged, in spite of both scholarly and governmental preoccupation with racism and immigration.

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Beyond citizenship

Adivasi and Dalit political pathways in India

Nicolas Jaoul and Alpa Shah

Committee Report on Indian Muslims highlighted—Dalits and Adivasis have been institutionalized respectively through state categories of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the purpose of affirmative action policies (see Shah and Shneiderman 2013

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Engaged anthropology in the time of late liberalism

Activists, anthropologists, and the state in India

Moyukh Chatterjee

the battleground for some to gain social justice in India? Middleton traces how communities in Northeast India deploy anthropology’s dark past—categorizing and studying “primitive” people—to make claims for affirmative action in contemporary India. But

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Communities of Practice at the Cidade do Saber

Plural Citizenship and Social Inclusion in Brazil

Carla Guerrón Montero

exclusive, with few non-whites admitted until recently when affirmative-action quota policies were instituted. The Cidade do Saber ( Instituto Professor Raimundo Pinheiro – City of Knowledge) or CDS reacts to this traditional educational system. It is the

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Mercedes González de la Rocha and Agustín Escobar Latapí

scholarships were extended to include grade 12. The grants increase as students progress in school with females receiving more financial support than males. (This gender differential begins in grade 7 as an affirmative action against gendered differences in

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Whose Reality Counts?

Emergent Dalitbahujan Anthropologists

Reddi Sekhara Yalamala

. Shah ( 2013 ), ‘ Affirmative Action and Political Economic Transformations: Secondary Education, Indigenous People, and the State in Jharkhand, India ’, Focaal-Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 65 : 80 – 93 , doi: 10.3167/fcl.2013

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Incipient “commoning” in defense of the public?

Competing varieties of fiscal citizenship in tax- and spending-related direct democracy

Sandra Morgen and Jennifer Erickson

(to achieve racial desegregation), welfare, abortion, affirmative action, undocumented immigrants, and “big government,” crafted and came to the defense of the (racially coded) “hard-working taxpayer” ( Morgen et al. 2010 ; Walsh 2010 ). Images of

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Natural Resources and their Units

Necessary Measures of Resourcefulness in a Norwegian Fruit Landscape

Frida Hastrup

affirmative actions to ensure continued national welfare. What is interesting here with regard to my focus on the units through which to think of resourcefulness is the collapse of concerns on the ‘international agenda’ and the solutions tailored to Norway