Accepted paper:

Globalisation and the long durée: capitalist transformations and variegations across time and space


Winnie Lem (Trent University)

Paper short abstract:

Building on several schools of thought in political economy and materialist anthropology, I argue that dynamics of globalisation are better understood as part of the long durée of crisis and change in global capitalism. Research on transnational Chinese migration will illustrate these arguments.

Paper long abstract:

In this paper, I will argue that dynamics of globalisation represent part of the long durée of crisis, change and instability that has accompanied the development of capitalism on a global scale. By drawing on the conceptual apparatus offered by several schools of thought in political economy and materialist anthropology, I attempt to trace the continuities that belie the notion of globalisation as rupture or as a radical break in attempts to periodize histories of global transformation. In doing so, I will argue that the insights offered in such analytical perspectives as the regulation school, historical realism, neo-Gramscian as well as materialist feminism are salutary in suggesting how the internationalisation and transnationalization of capitalist development engenders the cyclical yet variegated conditions of crisis and change across time and place. Such historical variegations, I shall argue, tend not only to be reified as unprecedented but also rendered as apocalyptic, so much so that regulatory powers invoke states of exception to instate and reinstate mechanisms of stabilisation as their prerogative in national and global governance. The exigencies that result from such interventions, in turn, add impetus to prevailing crises that cycle in the global economy of capitalism and insert themselves in the lives of those who must live and work within it. Illustrations will be drawn from research on transnational Chinese migration and the emergence of migrant service workers in France.

panel P022
Reconsidering anthropologies of neoliberalism and globalization: historical conjuncture and narratives of rupture (Commission on Global Transformations and Marxian Anthropology)