The Devil and Commodity Fetishism in South America

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Author: Michael T. Taussig

Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press

ISBN: 0807898414

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 6400

In this classic book, Michael Taussig explores the social significance of the devil in the folklore of contemporary plantation workers and miners in South America. Grounding his analysis in Marxist theory, Taussig finds that the fetishization of evil, in the image of the devil, mediates the conflict between precapitalist and capitalist modes of objectifying the human condition. He links traditional narratives of the devil-pact, in which the soul is bartered for illusory or transitory power, with the way in which production in capitalist economies causes workers to become alienated from the commodities they produce. A new chapter for this anniversary edition features a discussion of Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille that extends Taussig's ideas about the devil-pact metaphor.

The Magic of the State

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 1135249040

Category: Social Science

Page: 216

View: 3186

Set in the enchanted mountain of a spirit-queen presiding over an unnamed, postcolonial country, this ethnographic work of ficto-criticism recreates in written form the shrines by which the dead--notably the fetishized forms of Europe's Others, Indians and Blacks--generate the magical powers of the modern state.

Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man

A Study in Terror and Healing

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Author: Michael T. Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226790138

Category: Social Science

Page: 517

View: 1356

Looks at the interaction between civilized and primitive people in Colombia, examines the role of the shaman, and discusses healing practices in the jungle

We Eat the Mines and the Mines Eat Us

Dependency and Exploitation in Bolivian Tin Mines

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Author: June C. Nash

Publisher: Columbia University Press

ISBN: 9780231080514

Category: Political Science

Page: 363

View: 4720

In this powerful anthropological study of a Bolivian tin mining town, Nash explores the influence of modern industrialization on the traditional culture of Quechua-and-Aymara-speaking Indians.

Beauty and the Beast

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226789853

Category: History

Page: 172

View: 9625

Beauty and the Beast begins with the question: Is beauty destined to end in tragedy? Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Colombia, Michael Taussig scrutinizes the anxious, audacious, and sometimes destructive attempts people make to transform their bodies through cosmetic surgery and liposuction. He balances an examination of surgeries meant to enhance an individual’s beauty with an often overlooked counterpart, surgeries performed—often on high profile criminals—to disguise one’s identity. Situating this globally shared phenomenon within the economic, cultural, and political history of Colombia, Taussig links the country’s long civil war and its bodily mutilation and torture to the beauty industry at large, sketching Colombia as a country whose high aesthetic stakes make it a stage where some of the most important and problematic ideas about the body are played out. Central to Taussig’s examination is George Bataille’s notion of depense, or “wasting.” While depense is often used as a critique, Taussig also looks at the exuberance such squandering creates and its position as a driving economic force. Depense, he argues, is precisely what these procedures are all about, and the beast on the other side of beauty should not be dismissed as simple recompense. At once theoretical and colloquial, public and intimate, Beauty and the Beast is a true-to-place ethnography—written in Taussig’s trademark voice—that tells a thickly layered but always accessible story about the lengths to which people will go to be physically remade.

My Cocaine Museum

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226790152

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 8804

In this book, a make-believe cocaine museum becomes a vantage point from which to assess the lives of Afro-Colombian gold miners drawn into the dangerous world of cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast. Although modeled on the famous Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, the Banco de la República, Taussig's museum is also a parody aimed at the museum's failure to acknowledge the African slaves who mined the country's wealth for almost four hundred years. Combining natural history with political history in a filmic, montage style, Taussig deploys the show-and-tell modality of a museum to engage with the inner life of heat, rain, stone, and swamp, no less than with the life of gold and cocaine. This effort to find a poetry of words becoming things is brought to a head by the explosive qualities of those sublime fetishes of evil beauty, gold and cocaine. At its core, Taussig's museum is about the lure of forbidden things, charged substances that transgress moral codes, the distinctions we use to make sense of the world, and above all the conventional way we write stories.

The Corn Wolf

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022631099X

Category: Social Science

Page: 224

View: 6661

Collecting a decade of work from iconic anthropologist and writer Michael Taussig, The Corn Wolf pinpoints a moment of intellectual development for the master stylist, exemplifying the “nervous system” approach to writing and truth that has characterized his trajectory. Pressured by the permanent state of emergency that imbues our times, this approach marries storytelling with theory, thickening spiraling analysis with ethnography and putting the study of so-called primitive societies back on the anthropological agenda as a way of better understanding the sacred in everyday life. The leading figure of these projects is the corn wolf, whom Wittgenstein used in his fierce polemic on Frazer’s Golden Bough. For just as the corn wolf slips through the magic of language in fields of danger and disaster, so we are emboldened to take on the widespread culture of academic—or what he deems “agribusiness”—writing, which strips ethnography from its capacity to surprise and connect with other worlds, whether peasant farmers in Colombia, Palestinians in Israel, protestors in Zuccotti Park, or eccentric yet fundamental aspects of our condition such as animism, humming, or the acceleration of time. A glance at the chapter titles—such as “The Stories Things Tell” or “Iconoclasm Dictionary”—along with his zany drawings, testifies to the resonant sensibility of these works, which lope like the corn wolf through the boundaries of writing and understanding.

Defacement

Public Secrecy and the Labor of the Negative

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Author: Michael T. Taussig

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 9780804732000

Category: Social Science

Page: 311

View: 3062

Defacement asks what happens when something precious is despoiled. In specifying the human face as the ideal type for thinking through such violation, this book raises the issue of secrecy as the depth that seems to surface with the tearing of surface.

Karl Marx, Anthropologist

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Author: Thomas C. Patterson

Publisher: Berg

ISBN: 1845205111

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 222

View: 2703

Explores how this most influential of modern thinkers is still highly relevant to anthropology today.

Anthropologies and Histories

Essays in Culture, History, and Political Economy

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Author: William Roseberry

Publisher: Rutgers University Press

ISBN: 9780813514468

Category: Social Science

Page: 278

View: 797

"Elegantly written essays. . . . Roseberry is the real gem, an anthropologist with extensive Latin American field experience and an impressive scholarly grasp of the histories of anthropology and Marxist theory."--Micaela di Leonardo, The Nation "An extremely stimulating volume . . . rich and provocative, and codifies a new depature point."--Choice "As a critic . . . Roseberry writes with sustained force and clarity. . . . his principal points emerge with a directness that will make this book attractive to a wide range of readers."--American Anthropologist "Roseberry in among the most astute, careful, and theoretically cogent of the anthropologists of his generation. . . . [This book] illustrates well the breadth and coherence of his thinking and guides the reader through the complicated intersections of anthropology with history, political economy, Marxism, and Latin American studies."--Jane Schneider, CUNY In Anthropologies and Histories, William Roseberry explores some of the cultural and political implications of an anthropological political economy. In his view, too few of these implications have been explored by authors who dismiss the very possibility of a political economic understanding of culture. Within political economy, readers are offered sophisticated treatments of uneven development, but when authors turn to culture and politics, they place contradictory social experiences within simplistic class or epochal labels. Within cultural anthropology, history is often little more than new terrain for extending anthropological practice. Roseberry places culture and history in relation to each other, in the context of a reflection on the political economy of uneven development. In the first half of this books, he looks at and critiques a variety of anthropological understandings of culture, arguing for an approach that sees culture as socially constituted and socially constitutive. Beginning with a commentary on Clifford Geertz's seminal essay on the Balinese cockfight, Roseberry argues that Geertz and his followers pay insufficient attention to cultural differentiation, to social and political inequalities that affect actors' different understandings of the world, other people, and of themselves. Sufficient attention to such questions, Roseberry argues, requires a concern for political economy. In the second half of the book, Roseberry explores the assumptions and practices of political economy, indicates the kind of problems that should be central to such an approach, and reviews some of the inadequacies of anthropological studies. William Roseberry is a professor of anthropology at the New School for Social Research.

I Swear I Saw This

Drawings in Fieldwork Notebooks, Namely My Own

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226789845

Category: Social Science

Page: 192

View: 1709

I Swear I Saw This records visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig’s reflections on the fieldwork notebooks he kept through forty years of travels in Colombia. Taking as a starting point a drawing he made in Medellin in 2006—as well as its caption, “I swear I saw this”—Taussig considers the fieldwork notebook as a type of modernist literature and the place where writers and other creators first work out the imaginative logic of discovery. Notebooks mix the raw material of observation with reverie, juxtaposed, in Taussig’s case, with drawings, watercolors, and newspaper cuttings, which blend the inner and outer worlds in a fashion reminiscent of Brion Gysin and William Burroughs’s surreal cut-up technique. Focusing on the small details and observations that are lost when writers convert their notes into finished pieces, Taussig calls for new ways of seeing and using the notebook as form. Memory emerges as a central motif in I Swear I Saw This as he explores his penchant to inscribe new recollections in the margins or directly over the original entries days or weeks after an event. This palimpsest of afterthoughts leads to ruminations on Freud’s analysis of dreams, Proust’s thoughts on the involuntary workings of memory, and Benjamin’s theories of history—fieldwork, Taussig writes, provokes childhood memories with startling ease. I Swear I Saw This exhibits Taussig’s characteristic verve and intellectual audacity, here combined with a revelatory sense of intimacy. He writes, “drawing is thus a depicting, a hauling, an unraveling, and being impelled toward something or somebody.” Readers will exult in joining Taussig once again as he follows the threads of a tangled skein of inspired associations.

Walter Benjamin's Grave

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226790008

Category: Social Science

Page: 258

View: 7032

In September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his travelling partners would be denied passage into Spain in their attempt to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology’s—and indeed today’s—most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin’s grave in Port Bou. The result is “Walter Benjamin’s Grave,” a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin’s border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name. “Looking over these essays written over the past decade,” writes Taussig, “I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp.” Although thematically these essays run the gamut—covering the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, discussions of peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman’s body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence—each shares Taussig’s highly individual brand of storytelling, one that depends on a deep appreciation of objects and things as a way to retrieve even deeper philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that materialist knowledge offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit. Pursuing an adventure that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin’s grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century’s greatest cultural critic.

Removing Mountains

Extracting Nature and Identity in the Appalachian Coalfields

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Author: Rebecca R. Scott

Publisher: U of Minnesota Press

ISBN: 0816665990

Category: Science

Page: 271

View: 7741

An ethnography of coal country in southern West Virginia.

Fieldwork Under Fire

Contemporary Studies of Violence and Survival

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Author: Carolyn Nordstrom,Antonius C. G. M. Robben

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 9780520089945

Category: Social Science

Page: 300

View: 5831

"Required reading for anyone about to leave for the field. . . . A timely, deserving, and original contribution to a rapidly growing body of literature on the study of violence."--Jean-Paul Dumont, George Mason University

The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830

Ethnogenesis and Reinvention

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Author: Gary Clayton Anderson

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press

ISBN: 9780806131115

Category: History

Page: 376

View: 8304

In The Indian Southwest, 1580-1830, Gary Clayton Anderson argues that, in the face of European conquest and severe droughts that reduced their food sources, Indians in the Southwest proved remarkably adaptable and dynamic.

Ayahuasca and Shamanism

Michael Taussig Interviewed by Peter Lamborn Wilson

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Author: Michael Taussig,Peter Lamborn Wilson

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: 9781570271311

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 22

View: 6958

Michael Taussig first visited the Putumayo region of the Colombian Amazon in 1972, and has returned almost annually since 1976 to drink yage (the hallucinogenic vine ayahuasca) by the Mocoa River with his shaman friend, the late Santiago Mutumbajoy. Research on these trips constituted much of the fieldwork for his 1987 book Shamanism, Colonialism, and the Wild Man, which is a primary topic of this interview, along with Colombian politics, cultures of drug use, and changes observed by the author over the last three decades. Pamphlet.

Liquidated

An Ethnography of Wall Street

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Author: Karen Ho

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822391376

Category: Social Science

Page: 389

View: 3950

Financial collapses—whether of the junk bond market, the Internet bubble, or the highly leveraged housing market—are often explained as the inevitable result of market cycles: What goes up must come down. In Liquidated, Karen Ho punctures the aura of the abstract, all-powerful market to show how financial markets, and particularly booms and busts, are constructed. Through an in-depth investigation into the everyday experiences and ideologies of Wall Street investment bankers, Ho describes how a financially dominant but highly unstable market system is understood, justified, and produced through the restructuring of corporations and the larger economy. Ho, who worked at an investment bank herself, argues that bankers’ approaches to financial markets and corporate America are inseparable from the structures and strategies of their workplaces. Her ethnographic analysis of those workplaces is filled with the voices of stressed first-year associates, overworked and alienated analysts, undergraduates eager to be hired, and seasoned managing directors. Recruited from elite universities as “the best and the brightest,” investment bankers are socialized into a world of high risk and high reward. They are paid handsomely, with the understanding that they may be let go at any time. Their workplace culture and networks of privilege create the perception that job insecurity builds character, and employee liquidity results in smart, efficient business. Based on this culture of liquidity and compensation practices tied to profligate deal-making, Wall Street investment bankers reshape corporate America in their own image. Their mission is the creation of shareholder value, but Ho demonstrates that their practices and assumptions often produce crises instead. By connecting the values and actions of investment bankers to the construction of markets and the restructuring of U.S. corporations, Liquidated reveals the particular culture of Wall Street often obscured by triumphalist readings of capitalist globalization.

What Color Is the Sacred?

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226789993

Category: Social Science

Page: 304

View: 6366

Over the past thirty years, visionary anthropologist Michael Taussig has crafted a highly distinctive body of work. Playful, enthralling, and whip-smart, his writing makes ingenious connections between ideas, thinkers, and things. An extended meditation on the mysteries of color and the fascination they provoke, What Color Is the Sacred? is the next step on Taussig’s remarkable intellectual path. Following his interest in magic and surrealism, his earlier work on mimesis, and his recent discussion of heat, gold, and cocaine in My Cocaine Museum,this book uses color to explore further dimensions of what Taussig calls “the bodily unconscious” in an age of global warming. Drawing on classic ethnography as well as the work of Benjamin, Burroughs, and Proust, he takes up the notion that color invites the viewer into images and into the world. Yet, as Taussig makes clear, color has a history—a manifestly colonial history rooted in the West’s discomfort with color, especially bright color, and its associations with the so-called primitive. He begins by noting Goethe’s belief that Europeans are physically averse to vivid color while the uncivilized revel in it, which prompts Taussig to reconsider colonialism as a tension between chromophobes and chromophiliacs. And he ends with the strange story of coal, which, he argues, displaced colonial color by giving birth to synthetic colors, organic chemistry, and IG Farben, the giant chemical corporation behind the Third Reich. Nietzsche once wrote, “So far, all that has given colour to existence still lacks a history.” With What Color Is the Sacred? Taussig has taken up that challenge with all the radiant intelligence and inspiration we’ve come to expect from him.

The Social Life of Things

Commodities in Cultural Perspective

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Author: Arjun Appadurai

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107392977

Category: Social Science

Page: N.A

View: 6561

The meaning that people attribute to things necessarily derives from human transactions and motivations, particularly from how those things are used and circulated. The contributors to this volume examine how things are sold and traded in a variety of social and cultural settings, both present and past. Focusing on culturally defined aspects of exchange and socially regulated processes of circulation, the essays illuminate the ways in which people find value in things and things give value to social relations. By looking at things as if they lead social lives, the authors provide a new way to understand how value is externalized and sought after. They discuss a wide range of goods - from oriental carpets to human relics - to reveal both that the underlying logic of everyday economic life is not so far removed from that which explains the circulation of exotica, and that the distinction between contemporary economics and simpler, more distant ones is less obvious than has been thought. As the editor argues in his introduction, beneath the seeming infinitude of human wants, and the apparent multiplicity of material forms, there in fact lie complex, but specific, social and political mechanisms that regulate taste, trade, and desire. Containing contributions from American and British social anthropologists and historians, the volume bridges the disciplines of social history, cultural anthropology, and economics, and marks a major step in our understanding of the cultural basis of economic life and the sociology of culture. It will appeal to anthropologists, social historians, economists, archaeologists, and historians of art.