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: 4747

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: 1613

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.

My Cocaine Museum

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226790152

Category: Social Science

Page: 336

View: 7548

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.

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: 8462

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

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: 5245

"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.

Karl Marx, Anthropologist

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Author: Thomas C. Patterson

Publisher: Berg

ISBN: 184788542X

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 7555

After being widely rejected in the late 20th century the work of Karl Marx is now being reassessed by many theorists and activists. Karl Marx, Anthropologist explores how this most influential of modern thinkers is still highly relevant for Anthropology today. Marx was profoundly influenced by critical Enlightenment thought. He believed that humans were social individuals that simultaneously satisfied and forged their needs in the contexts of historically particular social relations and created cultures. Marx continually refined the empirical, philosophical, and practical dimensions of his anthropology throughout his lifetime. Assessing key concepts, from the differences between class-based and classless societies to the roles of exploitation, alienation and domination in the making of social individuals, Karl Marx, Anthropologist is an essential guide to Marx's anthropological thought for the 21st century.

The Corn Wolf

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022631085X

Category: History

Page: 200

View: 9733

In the vein of his books "The""Nervous System "and "Walter Benjamin s "Grave, "The Corn Wolf "presents a collection of essays that capture well Michael Taussig s ongoing development/trajectory as a writer and his recent move toward storytelling "as" theory. The thrust, in a nutshell, is to extend and develop the contrast between the "Nervous System "style of writing, writing that arises from what Taussig calls the bodily unconscious, and what he now refers to as agribusiness writing, a type of writing that strips ethnography not only of its capacity to surprise but also to connect with another world. Taussig defends ethnography from agribusiness writing just as the corn wolf in Frazer s "Golden Bough" inspirits and defends agricultural crops from the reapers. A crucial aspect of this analogy is that the corn animal "occupies" the field protecting it from disease and disaster, in short from profanation. Taussig calls this apotropaic magic as opposed to the magic that transforms crops (read ethnography ) into mere food (read scholarly article or theory ). His essays explore the idea of occupation in a variety of contexts and meanings such as Palestine and Wall Street."

Beauty and the Beast

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 0226789853

Category: History

Page: 172

View: 4875

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.

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: 508

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.

Walter Benjamin's Grave

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Author: Michael Taussig

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226790008

Category: Social Science

Page: 258

View: 6475

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: 8149

An ethnography of coal country in southern West Virginia.

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: 4626

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.

Fieldwork Under Fire

Contemporary Studies of Violence and Culture

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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: 5445

"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: 3764

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.

After the Trail of Tears

The Cherokees' Struggle for Sovereignty, 1839-1880

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Author: William G. McLoughlin

Publisher: UNC Press Books

ISBN: 146961734X

Category: History

Page: 456

View: 511

This powerful narrative traces the social, cultural, and political history of the Cherokee Nation during the forty-year period after its members were forcibly removed from the southern Appalachians and resettled in what is now Oklahoma. In this master work, completed just before his death, William McLoughlin not only explains how the Cherokees rebuilt their lives and society, but also recounts their fight to govern themselves as a separate nation within the borders of the United States. Long regarded by whites as one of the 'civilized' tribes, the Cherokees had their own constitution (modeled after that of the United States), elected officials, and legal system. Once re-settled, they attempted to reestablish these institutions and continued their long struggle for self-government under their own laws--an idea that met with bitter opposition from frontier politicians, settlers, ranchers, and business leaders. After an extremely divisive fight within their own nation during the Civil War, Cherokees faced internal political conflicts as well as the destructive impact of an influx of new settlers and the expansion of the railroad. McLoughlin brings the story up to 1880, when the nation's fight for the right to govern itself ended in defeat at the hands of Congress.

Hydraulic City

Water and the Infrastructures of Citizenship in Mumbai

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Author: Nikhil Anand

Publisher: Duke University Press

ISBN: 0822373599

Category: Social Science

Page: 320

View: 353

In Hydraulic City Nikhil Anand explores the politics of Mumbai's water infrastructure to demonstrate how citizenship emerges through the continuous efforts to control, maintain, and manage the city's water. Through extensive ethnographic fieldwork in Mumbai's settlements, Anand found that Mumbai's water flows, not through a static collection of pipes and valves, but through a dynamic infrastructure built on the relations between residents, plumbers, politicians, engineers, and the 3,000 miles of pipe that bind them. In addition to distributing water, the public water network often reinforces social identities and the exclusion of marginalized groups, as only those actively recognized by city agencies receive legitimate water services. This form of recognition—what Anand calls "hydraulic citizenship"—is incremental, intermittent, and reversible. It provides residents an important access point through which they can make demands on the state for other public services such as sanitation and education. Tying the ways Mumbai's poorer residents are seen by the state to their historic, political, and material relations with water pipes, the book highlights the critical role infrastructures play in consolidating civic and social belonging in the city.

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: 3187

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.

The Nervous System

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Author: Michael T. Taussig

Publisher: Psychology Press

ISBN: 0415904455

Category: Social Science

Page: 207

View: 8976

In a series of intriguing essays ranging over terror, State fetishism, shamanic healing in Latin America, homesickness, and the place of the tactile eye in both magic and modernity, anthropologist Michael Taussig puts into representational practice a curious type of engaged writing. Based on a paranoiac vision of social control and its understanding as in a permanent state of emergency leaving no room for contemplation between signs and things, these essays hover between story-telling and high theory and thus create strange new modes of critical discourse. The Nervous System will appeal to writers, scholars, artists, film makers, and readers interested in critical theory, aesthetics, and politics.