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A clash of histories

Encounters of migrant and non-migrant laborers in the Canadian automobile parts industry

Belinda Leach

This article considers the confrontations between immigrant and non-immigrant workers in the workplace and the implications of these confrontations for workplace unity and class formation. Contributing to scholarship at the intersection of history, class, and migration, the article argues that workers bring to work histories that are constructed as oppositional. The roots of these oppositions lie in shared but different histories of dispossession and migration, masked by dominant cultural and class narratives, which privilege non-immigrant histories that are class-based, masculinist, and nationalist, and subordinate those of immigrants. In the process, neo-liberal agendas are bolstered. Questions of how such processes take place are important for understanding class formation within societies with large immigrant populations.

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Jeanette Edwards

Local family historians in the north of England are not only intent on "finding" their ancestors but in adding "flesh" to the bones of genealogy. Many are as interested in the social life of their ancestors as they are in their family tree or pedigree and, through their research, they excavate particular social and classed histories which combine discourses of land, labor, love, and loss. As well as deepening a sense of the workings of class in England, their research renders class identity more contingent than other contemporary public and media-driven versions. This article argues that family history and genealogical research destabilizes readings of English class identities as fixed, bounded and inescapable by revealing the vagaries of fate and chance and by making explicit other relevant and overlapping social distinctions in the provenance of one's ancestors.

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Waves of Dispossession

The Conversion of Land and Labor in Bali’s Recent History

Anette Fagertun

alternative forms of production, and has changed property relations. These mechanisms of ‘accumulation by dispossession’ have created new class relations and (re)produced difference. This article discusses the problem of land in Bali within its historical

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Revived nationalism versus European democracy

Class and "identity dilemmas" in contemporary Serbia

Theodora Vetta

Following the Belgrade riots after Kosovo's proclamation of independence in February 2008 and the rise of the nationalist Serbian Radical Party in elections since 2001, several analysts have portrayed Serbia as a highly divided and confused nation unable to choose between a European, urban, and cosmopolitan democrat identity and a patriarchal, peasant, and collectivists nationalist one. This article historicizes this widespread culture-talk by ethnographically grounding it in particular processes that constitute Serbia's trajectory toward free market economy and liberal democracy. The concept of class as an analytical tool appears accurate in trying to understand people's biographies and political choices. By deconstructing popular cultural stereotypes of Radikali, the article argues that nationalism provides a framework that resonates most with the material and symbolic needs of a wide range of population. In the absence of a strong institutionalized left, the political choices of "nationalism's supporters" are based more on rational choice than on identity quests and strategies of manipulation.

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“The Shadow Class”

Immigration and Class in Contemporary South Asian/American Fiction

Maryse Jayasuriya

This article explores the representation of non-elite immigrants from South Asia to the United States in the fiction of Kiran Desai and Ameena Hussein. The works of these two writers shift the conventional representation of South Asian immigration to the United States as a middle and upper class phenomenon to a representation of the ways that non-elite South Asian immigrant experiences connect with the experiences of immigrants from around the world whose mobility is limited and whose imagined version of their prospective host country is shaped by incomplete and even illusory information.

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"Maintaining the Class"

Teachers in the New High Schools of the Banlieues

Frédéric Viguier

Over the past twenty years, a silent revolution brought 70 percent of a generation to the baccalauréat level (up from 33 percent in 1986), without ensuring students corresponding job opportunities. Sociologists have analyzed the impact of this educational democratization, which sought to solve the economic crisis by adapting the younger members of the French workforce to the new economy of services: it has paradoxically accentuated the stigmatization of youths from working-class and immigrant families who live in suburban housing projects. Therefore, high school teachers have had to deal with students' profound disillusionment with education. Moreover, teachers have been central to all of the recent political controversies in France regarding cultural difference. While there are books, pamphlets, and memoirs reflecting their experiences, there is no research exploring the discrepancy between high school teachers' expectations and those of their predecessors. This article explores this discrepancy and its contribution to the social and political construction of the "problème des banlieues."

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Introduction

Reading twenty-first-century capitalism through the lens of E. P. Thompson

Kathleen M. Millar

E. P. Thompson's social history of capitalism has enduring relevance for anthropological analyses of economic crisis, precarious labor, and class struggle today. This introduction provides a synthesis of the ethnographic cases in this theme section by reflecting on several impulses in Thompson's work that both resonate with and challenge current ethnography of political and economic change. Thompson's focus on moments of transition, his conception of human subjectivity as a process of “making,” and his view of class struggle as arising from tensions between old and new orders bring history and political economy into the study of emergent social formations. Inspired by Thompson's critique of rigid theoretical models, this introduction suggests ways not only to adopt but also to modify the historian's insights for ethnographic work on contemporary capitalism.

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"It's building up to something and it won't be nice when it erupts"

The making of Roma/Gypsy migrants in post-industrial Scotland

Jan Grill

Drawing on research among Slovak Roma labor migrants to the UK, this article examines differentiated modalities of belonging and a crystallization of the category of Roma/Gypsy in one neighborhood in a post-industrial Scottish city. This originally working-class, predominantly white area has been transformed, through several waves of migration, into a multicultural neighborhood. Established residents of the neighborhood express a sense of growing crisis and blame for local decline is frequently placed on migrants and, in particular, Gypsy migrants from Eastern Europe. The article focuses on the shifting forms of ethnocultural categorization that mark Roma difference in Glasgow.

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Managing Time and Making Space

Canadian Students' Motivations for Study in Australia

Heather Barnick

This article examines the ways in which Canadian students on an exchange or study abroad programme in Australia articulated the value of their experience in connection with time and, more particularly, time constraints. Where Canadian universities often promote study abroad programmes in connection with the global knowledge-based economy, students' desires to travel abroad were more often rooted in a desire to take 'time out' while remaining productive towards the completion of future goals. Students' narratives reveal a connection between time management, travel, and the formations of a class identity. Rather than analysing time strictly as a form of capital, however, insights are generated around time as practice, that is, how time becomes an important factor in students' continual negotiations of space, social relationships, and what could be called a 'lifetime itinerary'.

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Class versus Nation

A History of Richard Turner’s Eclipse and Resurgence

Ian Macqueen

commitment to see nationalism as an epiphenomenon of class interests and a reluctance to accord veracity to nationalist modes of mobilisation. In Turner’s day the powerful African nationalism of the 1950s, represented by the mass action of the African