IW07
Empires and differences

Convenors:
Nancy Lindisfarne (SOAS)
Nikolai Jeffs (University of Ljubljana)
Location:
13
Start time:
29 August, 2008 at 9:00
Session slots:
3

Short abstract:

Recent changes in the political economy of imperialism have increased corruption and global inequality. Via ethnographic and theoretical contributions, this panel aims to continue the new anthropological impetus towards a radical rethink of the relation between imperialism and the structure and meaning of people’s lives.

Long abstract:

Anthropologists and anthropology have always had a close and uncomfortable relationship with colonial and neo-imperial projects. In the 21st century, it is more difficult than ever to ignore the continuing imperial contexts which have framed the discipline and all contemporary studies of social change. Many anthropologists are now actively seeking ways to describe the deep and complex ways imperialism structures everyday lives. Three related ideas offer an important theoretical approach to the study of imperialism. One idea is the centralization of capital and identification of capitalists and leading politicians. A second is militarization of competing centres of capital accumulation. And a third is the resistance of workers and others to ruling elites and capitalist power. With such a perspective in mind, ethnographic monographs cease to be esoteric, but rather become part of contemporary political debates. This panel aims to continue this radical project via ethnographic and theoretical contributions. The widest range of contributions are invited about the changing face of war and resistance, asylum and labour migration, the present character of NGOs and aid and responses to climate change, as well how the neoliberal privitization of everything is rapidly altering local discourses of class, race, gender and ethnicity.