James Scott, The art of not being governed: An anarchist history of upland Southeast Asia. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2009, pp. 464, ISBN 0300152280.
From string beings to empire au vinaigre
How refreshing to see this piece after so much language poured onto the pages of journals and books to demonstrate that we are in an entirely new universe, a millennial capitalism where globalization finally reigns supreme. Reyna is old-fashioned for many. He uses Marx and even, God help us, Lenin, whom he attempts to rescue by finding another route to the same conclusions concerning the highest stage of capitalism or at least the inevitability of imperialist wars.
This is an age of regression, the amplification of class relations and their polarization, the withdrawal of the new political classes into luxurious lives along with other dominant classes, while the declining lower end of the social world recedes into poverty and chaos. Overstated as a description, perhaps, but it does, I suggest, situate current trends.
Reconfiguration of Class, Identity and Cultural Production in the Contemporary Global System
This is an era of millenarianism. The millennium is here, the twenty-first century is here. It has been advertised as the new globalized world, that for many we have finally achieved. This is a world that will be characterized by openness. I sit here watching the talk show, Jenny Jones, this time (10- 4-00) dealing with racism. An African American intellectual talks about openness, against other African Americans in the studio who express strong criticism toward immigrants. A man replies angrily: “you can say that flying around in your airplanes and living on top of your hotels.” Jones breaks off the discussion. The enlightened are truly higher in this world, they are the élite in a way that concretizes the metaphor of globalization. Up there, above the masses, delighting in a new found mobility, consuming the world. This is striking in the reactions to EU, to say nothing of larger international organizations. The populism of the people and the élitism of the élites are ever more marked in this era-to-be.
Some Critical Perspectives
Bruce Kapferer, Marshall Sahlins, Keith Hart, Jonathan Friedman, Allen Feldman, Michael Humphrey, Ibrahim Aoude, Michael Rowlands, John Gledhill and Leif Manger
The World Trade Center disaster is an event of such significance that it exhausts interpretation. This is not because of the enormity of the event itself. Numerous humanly caused destructed of just the last hundred years dwarf it in scale, and the attention now addressed to it may over the next year appear disproportionate. But events are never significant in the imagination of human beings independently of the way they are socially constructed into significance in the context of the social, political and cultural forces that somehow are articulated through a particular event, and thrown into relief by its occurrence. Undoubtedly, much of the significance that attaches to the World Trade Center catastrophe relates to the character of the conflict it defines, and the several paradoxes the event gathers up in its prism: of the strong against the weak, the powerful as victims, the cycle of revenge, the generalization of suffering, the vulnerability of technological potency, and so on.
Ibrahim Aoude, Mohammed A. Bamyeh, Allen Chun, Chuang Ya-chung, Yiu-wai Chu, Andrew Davidson, Sergio Fiedler, Jonathan Friedman, Michael Humphrey, Epifanio San Juan Jr., Owen Sichone, Terence Turner, William H. Thornton and Wang Horng-luen
Notes on contributors
Ibrahim G. Aoude, Sandra Bamford, Mark T. Berger, Doug Dalton, Allen Feldman, Jonathan Friedman, John Gledhill, Richard Handler, Keith Hart, Michael Humphrey, Dan Jorgensen, Bruce Kapferer, Clive Kessler, Leif Manger, David A. B. Murray, Joel Robbins, Michael Rowlands, Marshall Sahlins, Elizabeth Stassinos, Marilyn Strathern, Karen Sykes and Souchou Yao
Notes on contributors
Ien Ang, George Baca, Rohan Bastin, Jacob Copeman, Thomas Ernst, Jonathan Friedman, Kingsley Garbett, Diana Glazebrook, Greg Gow, Keith Hart, André Iteanu, Roger Just, Bruce Kapferer, Judith Kapferer, Khalid Koser, Neil Maclean, Jukka Siikala, Amy Stambach, Christopher C. Taylor, Pnina Werbner and Amanda Wise
Notes on Contributors