In the early 1990s, Israel opened its gates to migrant guest workers who were invited to work, on a temporary basis, in the agriculture, construction, and in-home care sectors. The in-home care sector developed quickly during those years due to the introduction of migrant workers coupled with the creation of a new welfare state benefit: a longterm care benefit that subsidized the employment of in-home care workers to assist dependent elderly and disabled Israelis. This article examines the legal and public policy ramifications of the transformation of Israeli families caused by the influx of migrant care workers into Israeli homes. Exploring the relationship between welfare, immigration, and employment laws, on the one hand, and marketized and non-marketized care relationships, on the other, it reveals the intimate links between public policy, 'private' families, and defamilialization processes.
Between Family, Market, and State
Entre collaboration, opportunisme et « nécessité de vivre »
Amid severe shortages of raw materials, labor, and transportation, companies in occupied France (1940–1944) sought alternative paths to what is commonly called “economic collaboration.” They worked to find substitute supplies, convert to new product lines, alter their manufacturing methods, and even adapt to the black market. But few businesses could avoid the question of whether to provide goods and services to the occupier. The opportunities to do so were widespread, though they varied according to occupation, economic branch, and the passage of time during the Occupation. The German occupiers thus benefited from the French economy. With decisive help from the Vichy regime, the occupiers managed to force, induce, or entice French enterprises into their war economy—be they large industries formerly mobilized for French national defense, small and medium-sized firms, or agricultural producers.
Public Debates about Technological Modifi cation of Food
Jennifer B. Rogers-Brown, Christine Shearer and Barbara Herr Harthorn
Technological modifications of food are being marketed as novel products that will enhance consumer choice and nutritional value. A recent manifestation is nanotechnology, entering the global food chain through food production, pesticides, vitamins, and food packaging. This article presents a detailed literature review on risk and benefit perceptions of technological developments for food and agriculture, including our own research from US deliberative workshops on nanotechnologies. The article suggests that many of the public concerns discussed in the literature on biotechnology in food are being raised in qualitative and quantitative studies on nanotechnologies for food: although nanotechnologies are generally perceived to be beneficial, many people express particular uneasiness about nanotechnological modifications of food. The article argues that these concerns represent material examples of unresolved social issues involving technologies and the food industry, including questions about the benefits of nanotechnology for food, and the heightened values attached to food as a cultural domain.
Michael Humphrey, Mark T. Berger, Clive Kessler and Souchou Yao
Mahmood Mamdani, Citizen and Subject: Contemporary Africa and the Legacy of Late Colonialism. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1996), pp. xii+353. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).
Akhil Gupta, Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (Durham: Duke University Press, 1998), pp. xv + 410. (Reviewer: Mark T. Berger).
Fernando Coronil, The Magical State: Nature, Money and Modernity in Venezuela, (Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press, 1997), pp. xvii+447, photos, notes, bibliography, index. (Reviewer: Souchou Yao).
James C. Scott, Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. (New Haven and London: Yale U.P., 1998), pp. xiv+445, notes, index, illustrations. (Reviewer: Clive Kessler).
Slavoj Zizek, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism? Five Interventions in the (Mis)use of a Notion. (Verso: London and New York, 2001), pp. 280. (Reviewer: Michael Humphrey).
Bulgarian and Romanian student workers in the UK
This article is based on fieldwork conducted among Romanian and Bulgarian students working under the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Scheme in the UK. It shows how a public discourse on the benefits of and for immigrant seasonal workers silences the voices of these workers. It also discusses how a hidden transcript of the student workers shows they are deeply frustrated about their exploitation in terms of wages, living conditions, and the fact that they have come to the UK on false promises of cultural exchange and learning. The confinement of Bulgarian and Romanian immigrants—such as these student workers—to the unskilled and underpaid labor sector in the UK, which continues despite Romania and Bulgaria's recent accession to the EU, not only reproduces the dual labor market in the UK itself but it also reduces Romania and Bulgaria to 'second-hand' EU members states.
GMOs—Global objects of contention
Genetically modified organisms in agriculture have become objects of contention, crystallizing some of today’s major political and social controversies. As human-made objects that are alive and have agency, they invite the anthropologist to follow their trajectories and to analyze the power relationships and political economies of meaning in which they are inscribed. Taking as a point of departure Hans Jonas’s principle of responsibility for the unknown effects of technological developments, this article questions why a culture of urgency is attached to GMOs in spite of the unpredictable consequences that may arise when they are set free into the environment. As naturally reproducing objects that have intellectual property rights attached to them they raise issues of political governance and of economic power and control. They provoke not only repertoires of contention but also silences that speak about the link between technology and policy in con- temporary societies.
Maize production and the GM corn debates in Mexico
In the Mexican debates over genetically modified (GM) corn, critics reject the official narrative about risk expertise and the inefficiency of maize production. Corn is used to symbolize the Mexican countryside and traditional culture threatened by the forces of neo-liberal globalization. At times, however, both GM critics and proponents portray maize-based livelihoods as a culture of use-values beyond the reach of the market. This article explores these claims in relation to neo-liberal policies and their effect on small-scale cultivators. While critics draw our attention to how such policies exacerbate the difficulties faced by peasants, their notion of a corn culture obscures some of the changes taking place. Drawing on research in the Tehuacán Valley, where maize production is increasingly monetized and rejected by a younger generation, this article suggests that such agriculture is a dynamic practice, rather than a millennial culture, which interacts with processes of capital accumulation and state policy.
Community leaders, everyday needs, and utopian aspirations in Recife, Brazil
Martijn Koster and Pieter A. de Vries
This article envisages slum dwellers' politics in Recife, Brazil as a realm of possibility in which care and recognition are central. Community leaders are its main facilitators as articulators of slum dwellers' needs and aspirations. The article's notion of slum politics is an elaboration of Chatterjee's (2004) ideas on popular politics as a “politics of the governed.“ Yet the article critiques the governmentality perspective for its inability to envisage a politics of hope and possibility. It distinguishes among slum politics, governmental politics (projects and programs), and electoral politics (voting), which are entwined and interdependent, but different. Zooming in on a community leader's urban agriculture project, the article argues that this project, which from an outsiders' perspective may be considered non-viable, provided slum dwellers with possibilities to strive for community solidarity and personal recognition. Slum politics, the article concludes, is about claiming the right to be counted and recognized, and about the care for the other.
Affirmative action and strategic voting in Uttar Pradesh, India
Lucia Michelutti and Oliver Heath
This article focuses on the struggles and shifting political strategies of two major political players in northern India: the Yadavs (a low-to-middle ranking pastoral agricultural caste) and the dalits (former untouchables, which in the region mainly come from the Chamar caste) and their political parties, the Samaj wadi Party and the Bahujan Samaj Party, respectively. Both communities (and political parties) have strongly benefited from affirmative action policies over the last three decades. We argue that that these affirmative action policies, and the political rhetoric that has tended to accompany them, have been “vernacularized“ in local sociocultural structures, which in turn has helped to produce folk theories of democracy and social justice that are directly and indirectly legitimizing conflict, and producing new forms of caste-based strategic voting, based on the principle that the enemy of my enemy is my friend.
The transformative frictions of a farmers' movement in Europe
This article follows the trajectory of a French farmers' movement that contests the seed production and regulation system set in place during agricultural modernization. It focuses on the creativity of the movement, which ranges from semantic innovations (such as “peasant seeds”) to the reinvention of onfarm breeding practices based on new scientific paradigms, and includes new alliances with the social movements defending the commons. The trajectory of the movement is shaped by its encounters—with scientists, other international seed contestations, and other social movements—and by the productive frictions they create. This in-depth reframing of the activities connected to seeds contributes to building a counternarrative about farmers and seeds that reopens spaces for contestation. In this counternarrative, “peasant seeds” play a central and subversive role in the sense that they question the ontological assumptions of present seed laws.