Saturday, December 31, 2011



A Select Listing

Adams, R.N. 1975. Energy and Structure: A Theory of Social Power. Austin: University of Texas Press.

Aronoff, M., ed. 1980. Political Anthropology Yearbook 1; Ideology and Interest: The Dialectics of Politics. London: Transaction Books.

Aronoff, M., ed. 1983. Political Anthropology, Volume 2; Culture and Political Change. London: Transaction Books.

Asad, T. 1972. Market model, class structure and consent: a reconsideration of Swat political organization. Man 7:74-94.

Bailey, F.G. 1969. Stratagems and Spoils: A Social Anthropology of Politics. Oxford: Basil Blackwell & Moll, Ltd.

Balandier, G. 1970. Political Anthropology. New York: Random House.

Balibar, Etienne and Immanuel Wallerstein. 1991. Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. London: Verso.

Banton, M., ed. 1965. Political Systems and the Distribution of Power. ASA Monographs 2. London: Tavistock.

Barth, Frederick. 1959. Political Leadership Among the Swat Pathans. London: Athalone.

Beacon. Mair, Lucy. 1962. Primitive Government. Baltimore: Penguin.

Beattie, J. 1960. The Bunyoro: An African Kingdom. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston.

Berreman, Gerald D., ed. 1981. Social Inequality: Comparative and Developmental Approaches. New York: Academic Press.

Bond, G. and A Gilliam, eds. 1997. The Social Construction of the Past: Representation as Power. New York: Routledge.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outilne of a Theory of Practice.Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1994. “Structures, Habitus, Power: Basis for a Theory of Symbolic Power”. In Culture/Power/History. Nicholas B. Dirks, et al., eds. Pp. 155-199. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Carmack, Robert M. 1995. Rebels of Highland Guatemala: The Quiche Mayas of Momostenango. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press.

Chazan, Naomi, Robert Mortimer, John Ravenhill and Donald Rothchild. 1992.Politics and Society in Contemporary Africa, 2nd ed. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Press.

Cheater, Angela, ed. 1999. The Anthropology of Power: Empowerment and Disempowerment in Changing Structures. London and New York: Routledge.

Clammer, J. 1985. Anthropology and Political Economy. New York: St. Martin’s.

Clastres, Pierre. 1977. Society Against the State. New York: Urizen Books.

Cohen, Abner. 1981. The Politics of Elite Culture. Berkeley: University of California.

Cohen, Abner.. 1974. Two-Dimensional Man: An Essay on the Anthropology of Power and Symbolism in Complex Societies. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Cohen, R., & E. Service, eds. 1978. Origins of the State: The Anthropology of Political Evolution. Philadelphia: ISHI.

Cohen, R., & J. Middleton, eds. 1967. Comparative Political Systems. New York: Natural History Press.

Cohen, Ronald and Judith D. Toland, eds. 1988. State Formations and Political Legitimacy. New Brunswick, NJ: Transaction Books.

Comaroff, Jean. 1985. Body of power; Spirit of Resistance: the Culture and History of a South Africa People. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Dirks, Nicholas B., Geof Eley, and Sherry B Ortner. 1994.Culture/Power/History. Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.

Donham, Donald. 1999. History, Power, Ideology: Central Issues in Marxism and Anthropology. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Easton, David. 1959. Political Anthropology. Biennial Review of Anthropology 1:210-262.

Fogelson, R., & R.N. Adams, eds. 1977. The Anthropology of Power: Ethnographic Studies from Asia, Oceania, and the New World. New York: Academic Press.

Forman Shepard & Joyce Riegelhaupt. 1979. The political economy of patron-clientship: Brazil and Portugal compared, pp.379-400, in Brazil: Anthropological Perspectives. M. Margolis & W. Carter, eds. New York: Columbia University Press.

Fortes, Meyer and E. E. Evans-Pritchard, eds. 1940. African Political Systems. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1980. Power/Knowledge: Selected Interviews and other Writings, 1972-7. New York: Pantheon Books.

Fried, Morton H. 1960. On the evolution of social stratification and the state, pp.713-731, in Culture in History, Stanley Diamond, ed. New York: Columbia University Press. Reprinted, pp.462-478, in Fried, M.H., ed. Readings in Anthropology, Volume II (Second edition). New York: Crowell.

Fried, Morton H. 1967. The Evolution of Political Society. New York: Random House.

Friedrich, Paul. 1968. The legitimacy of a cacique, pp.243-70, inLocal-Level Politics. M. Swartz, ed. Chicago: Aldine.

Friedrich, Paul. 1989. Language, ideology, and political economy. American Anthropologist 91 (2):295-312.

Giddens, Anthony. 1985. The Nation-State and Violence. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gledhill, J., B. Bender, and M.T. Larson, eds. 1988.State and Society: the Emergence and Development of Social Hierarchy and Political Centralization. London: Routledge.

Gluckman, Max. 1955. Custom and Conflict in Africa. New York: Barnes and Noble.

Godelier, M. 1986. The Making of Great Men: Male Power and Domination Among the New Guinea Baruya. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Godelier, Maurice.1978. Infrastructures, society, and history.Current Anthropology 19:4:763-768.

Gupta, Akhil, and, Ferguson, James, eds. 1997. Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology. Durham: Duke University Press.

Hall, Thomas D, ed. 2000. A World-Systems Reader: New Perspectives on Gender, Urbanism, Cultures, Indigenous Peoples, and Ecology. Boston: Rowman and Littlefield.

Harvey, Neil. 1998. The Chiapas Rebellion: The Struggle for Land and Democracy. Durham, NC and London: Duke University Press.

Hobsbawm, Eric. 1971. Primitive Rebels. Manchester: University of Manchester Press.

Hutchinson, Sharon E. 1996. Nuer Dilemmas: Coping with Money, War and the State. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Kapferer, Bruce. 1997. The Feast of the Sorcerer: Practices of Consciousness and Power. Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.

Kaufman, R. 1974. The patron-client concept and macro-politics: prospects and problems. Comparative Studies in Society and History 16:284-308.

Keesing, Roger M. 1981. Cultural Anthropology: A Contemporary Perspective.Second Edition. Toronto: Holt, Rinehart, Winston. [see the chapter on “Power and Politics”, Ch. 13].

Keesing, Roger M. 1992. Custom and Confrontation: The Kwaio Struggle for Cultural Autonomy. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Kertzer, David I. 1988. Ritual, Politics, and Power. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Kurtz, Donald V. 2001. Political Anthropology: Paradigms and Power. Boulder, CO: Westview.

Leach, Edmund R. 1954. Political Systems of Highland Burma. Boston: Beacon Press.

Leons, M.B., & F. Rothstein. 1979. New Directions in Political Economy: An Approach from Anthropology. London: Greenwood.

Lewellen, Ted C. 1992. Political Anthropology: An Introduction, 2nd ed. Westport, CT: Bergin and Garvey.

Martin, JoAnn. 1990. Motherhood and power: the production of a women’s culture of politics in a Mexican community. American Ethnologist 17:470-490.

Maybury-Lewis, D. 1996. Indigenous Peoples, Ethnic Groups, and the State. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon.

McGlynn, Frank, and Arthur Tuden, eds. 1991.Anthropological Approaches to Political Behavior. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh.

McNall, S. G., Levine, R. F., and Fantasia, R. 1991.Bringing Class Back In: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives. Boulder, CO: Westview

Middleton, J. and D. Tait. 1958. Tribes Without Rulers: Studies in African Segmentary Systems. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Mintz, Sidney W. 1985. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History. New York: Penguin Books.

Nicholas, Ralph. 1973. Social and political movements, pp.63-84, in Annual Review of Anthropology, Volume II, Bernard Siegel, ed.

Ong, Aihwa. 1999. Flexible Citizenship: The Cultural Logics of Transnationality. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Roseberry, William. 1988. Political economy. Annual Review of Anthropology 17:161-185.

Roseberry, William. 1989. Anthropologies and Histories: Essays in Culture, History, and Political Economy. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Sahlins, Marshall D. 1963. Poor man, rich man, big-man, chief: political types in Melanesia and Polynesia. Comparative Studies in Society and History 5:285-303.

Scott, James C. 1976. The Moral Economy of the Peasant: Rebellion and Subsistence in Southeast Asia. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Scott, James C. 1985. Weapons of the Weak: Everyday Forms of Peasant Resistance. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Scott, James. 1990. Domination and the Arts of Resistance. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Service, Elman R. 1975. Origins of the State and Civilization: The Processes of Cultural Evolution. New York: W. W. Norton.

Sivanandan, A. 1973. “Race, Class, and Power: An Outline for Study.” Race. Vol. 14, No. 4. 383-391.

Swartz, Marc, Victor Turner, and Arthur Tuden, eds. 1966.Political Anthropology. Chicago: Aldine.

Vincent, Joan. 1990. Anthropology and Politics: Visions, Traditions, and Trends. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Williams, Brackette. 1991. Stains on My Name, War in My Veins: Guyana and the Politics of Cultural Struggle. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Wolf, Eric R. 1956. Aspects of group relations in a complex society: Mexico. American Anthropologist 58:1065-78. Reprinted in Dwight B. Heath and Richard N. Adams, eds. 1965. Contemporary Cultures and Societies of Latin America. New York: Random House.

Wolf, Eric R. 1966. Kinship, friendship, and patron-client relations in complex societies, in The Social Anthropology of Complex Societies, Michael Banton, ed. New York: Praeger.

Wolf, Eric R. 1969. Peasant Wars of the Twentieth Century. New York: Harper and Row.

Wolf, Eric R. 1982. Europe and the People without History.Berkeley: University of California Press.

Wolf, Eric R. 1990. “Distinguished Lecture: Facing Power—Old Insights, New Questions”. American Anthropologist 92:586-96. Reprinted in Assessing Cultural Anthropology, pp.218-228, Robert Borofsky, ed. 1994. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Wolf, Eric R. 1999. Envisioning Power: Ideologies of Dominance and Crisis. Berkeley: University of California.

Worsley, Peter. 1968. The Trumpet Shall Sound, 2nd ed. New York: Schocken.

Yelvington, Kevin A. 1995. Producing Power: Ethnicity, Gender and Class in a Caribbean Workplace. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

Zaman, Habiba. 1998. Patriarchy and Purdah: Structural and Systemic Violence Against Women in Bangladesh. Uppsala: Life & Peace Institute.

Anthro Biblio

Culture and Public Action: Further Reading

General References on the History of Anthropological Thought and the Notion of Culture

Borofsky, Robert et al. 2001. "WHEN: A conversation about culture" American Anthropologist 103(2): 432-446.

Special Issue of Current Anthropology. 1999. "Culture. A Second Chance?" 40 Supplement.

Abu-Lughod, Lila. 1991. "Writing against culture" In Recapturing anthropology. Richard Fox, Ed. Santa Fe: School of American Research.

Bohannan, Paul and Mark Glazer. Eds. 1988. High points in anthropology. McGraw-Hill, Inc.: New York.

Borofsky, Robert. Ed. 1994. Assessing cultural anthropology. New York: McGraw-Hill, Inc.

Fox, Robert G. 1995. "Cultural dis-Integration and the invention of new peace-fares." In Articulating hidden histories. J Schneider and R. Rapp, Eds. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Fox, Richard and Barbara King, Eds. 2002. Anthropology beyond culture. Oxford : Berg Publishers, Inc.

Harris, Marvin. 1968. The rise of anthropological theory: A history of theories of culture. New York: Crowell.

Herzfeld, Michael. 2001. Anthropology: Theoretical practice in culture and society. Oxford: Balckwell Publishers.

Keesing, Roger M. 1974. "Theories of culture". Annual Review of Anthropology 3: 73-97.

Kroeber, Albert. L. and Clyde Kluckhohn. 1952. Culture: a critical review of concepts and definitions. New York: Vintage.

Kroeber, Alfred L. and Talcott Parsons. 1958. "The concept of culture and of social system." American Sociological Review 23: 582-583.

Kuper, Adam. 1973. Anthropology and anthropologists: The British school, 1922-1972. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kuper, Adam. 1999. Culture: The anthropologist's account. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Langness, L. L. 1974. The study of culture. New York: Chandler and Sharp Publishers.

McGee, Jon R. and Richard L Warms. 1996. Anthropological theory: An introductory history. London: Mayfield Publishing Company.

Munch, Richard, and Neil J Smelser. 1992. Theory of culture. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ortner, Sherry B. 1984. "Theory in anthropology since the sixties". Comparative Studies in Society and History 26: 126-166.

Schneider, Louis and Bonjean, Charles. M. 1973. The idea of culture in the social sciences. Cambridge: University of Cambridge Press.

Stocking, George. 1966 piece in PDF

Stocking, George W. 1968. Race, culture, and evolution: Essays in the history of anthropology. New York: Free Press.

Wright, Susan. 1998. "The politicization of 'culture'" Anthropology Today 14(1): 7-15.

Encyclopedic References

Barnard, Alan and J. Spencer. 1996. Encyclopedia of social and cultural anthropology. London: Routledge.

Barfield, Thomas. 1997. The dictionary of anthropology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers.

Ingold, Tim. 1994. Companion encyclopedia of anthropology: Humanity, culture, and social life. London: Routledge.

Social Evolutionism

Frazer, Sir James George. 1911-1915 [1890]. The golden bough: A study in magic and religion. London: Macmillan.

Lubbock, John. 1865. Prehistoric times: As illustrated by ancient remains and the manners and
customs of modern savages. London: William and Norgate.

Maine, Henry. 1861. Ancient law: Its connection with the early history of society and its relation to modern ideas. London: Murray.

Morgan, Lewis Henry. 1871. Systems of consanguinity and affinity of the human family. Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge no. 218, vol.17. Washington: Smithsonian.

Morgan, Lewis Henry. 1985 [1877]. Ancient society. Tucson: University of Arizona Press.

Spencer, Herbert. 1885. The principles of sociology, 2 vols. New York: Appleton-Century-Crofts.

Tylor, Sir Edward Burnett. 1871. Primitive culture. London: John Murray


Boas, Franz . 1911. The mind of primitive man. New York: Macmillan.

Boas, Franz. 1940 Race, language and culture. New York: Macmillan.

Haddon, Alfred C. 1908 The study of man. London: J. Murray.

Kroeber, Alfred. L 1939 Cultural and natural area of Native North America. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Ratzel, Friedrich. 1896 (orig. 1885-88) The History of Mankind. A. J. Butler, trans. London: Macmillan.

Rivers, William H. R. 1914. Kinship and social organization. London: Constable

Rivers, William. H. R. 1922. History and Ethnology. New York: Macmillan.

Rivers, William. H. R. 1934. "Primitive Man." European Civilization. E. Eyre, Ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rivers, William. H. R.. 1939. The Culture Historical Method of Ethnology. S.A. Sieber, trans. New York: Fortuny's.
Wissler, Clark. 1917. The American Indian: An introduction to the anthropology of the New World. New York: McMurtrie.

Wissler, Clark 1923. Man and culture. New York: Crowell.

Historical Particularism

Boas, Franz. 1911. The mind of primitive man. New York: Macmillan.

Boas, Franz. 1928. Anthropology and modern life. New York: Norton.

Boas, Franz. 1940. Race, language, and culture. New York Macmillan.
Goldschmidt, Walter, Ed. 1959. "The anthropology of Franz Boas: Essays on the centennial of his birth." American Anthropologist 61(5).

Kroeber, Alfred L. 1917. "The superorganic" American Anthropologist 19: 207-236.

Kroeber, Alfred L. 1944. Configurations of culture growth. Berkley: University of California Press.

Kroeber, Alfred L. 1952. The nature of culture. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Lowie, Robert H. 1920. Primitive society. New York: Boni & Liveright.

Lowie, Robert H. 1937. The history of ethnological theory. New York: Farrar & Rinehart.

Radin, Paul. 1933. The method and theory of ethnology: An essay in criticism. New York: Basic Books.
Radin, Paul. 1953. The world of primitive man. New York: Grove Press

Sapir, Edward. 1916. Time perspectives in Aboriginal American culture. Ottawa: Government Printing Bureau.
Sapir, Edward. 1915. "Do we need a superorganic?" American Anthropologist 19: 441-449.

Culture and Personality

Benedict, Ruth. 1932. "Configurations of culture in North America" American Anthropologist 34: 1-27.

Benedict, Ruth. 1934. Patterns of culture. Boston: Houghton-Mifflin.

Benedict, Ruth. 1946. The chrysanthemum and the sword: Patterns of Japanese culture. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin.

Freud, Sigmund. 1918. Totem and taboo: Resemblances between the psychic lives of savages and neurotics. New York: Mofatt.

Hsu, Francis. Ed. 1961. Psychological anthropology: Approaches to culture and personality. Homewood IL: Dorsey.

Kardiner, Abram. 1939. The individual and his society: The psychodynamics of primitive social organization. New York: Columbia University Press.

Kardiner, Abram. 1945. The psychological frontiers of society. New York: Columbia University Press.
Linton, Ralph. 1945. The cultural background of personality. New York: Appleton-Century.
Mead, Margaret. 1928. Coming of age in Samoa: A psychological study of primitive youth for Western civilization. New York: Morrow

Mead, Margaret. 1935. Sex and temperament in three primitive societies. London: Routledge.

Mead, Margaret. 1942. And keep your powder dry: An anthropologist looks at America. New York: Morrow.
Mead, Margaret. 1953. "National character" In Anthropology today. Ed. A.L. Kroeber. Chicago, IL: Chicago University Press

Sapir, Edward. 1949. Selected writings of Edward Sapir in culture, language, and personality. Berkeley: Language Behavior Research Laboratory.

Wallace, Anthony. 1961. Culture and personality. New York: Random.

Functionalism or British Social Anthropology

Evans-Pritchard, Edward. E. 1940. The Nuer. Oxford: Clarendon.

Evans-Pritchard, Edward. E. 1962. Social anthropology and other essays. New York: Free Press

Firth, Raymond. 1951. Elements of social organization. London: Watts.

Firth, Raymond. 1957. Man and culture: An evaluation of the work of Bronislaw Malinowski. London: Routledge.

Gluckman, Max . 1947. "Malinowski's contribution to social anthropology." African Studies 6: 57-76

Goldschmidt, Walter. 1966. Comparative functionalism: An essay in anthropological theory. Berkeley: University of California Press

Kuper, Adam. 1977. The social anthropology of Radcliffe-Brown. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific: An account of native enterprise and adventure in the Archipelagoes of Melanesian New Guinea. London: Routledge.

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1935. Coral gardens and their magic. New York: American.

Malinowski, Bronislaw. 1944. A scientific theory of culture. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. 1922. The Andaman Islanders: A study in social anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. 1952. Structure and function in primitive society. London: Cohen & West.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. 1957. A natural science of society. Glencoe, IL: Free Press.

Radcliffe-Brown, A. R. and Daryll Forde, eds. 1950. African systems of kinship and marriage. London: Oxford University Press.

The Manchester School

Bailey, Frederick. G. 1960. Tribe, caste, and nation: A study of political activity and political change in Highland Orissa. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Barnes, John. A. 1954. Politics in a changing society. London: Oxford University Press for Rhodes-Livingstone Institute.

Barth, Fredrik. 1965. Political leadership among Swat Pathans. London: Athlone.

Colson, Elizabeth. 1953. Social control and vengeance in Plateau Tonga society. Africa 23:199-212.

Colson, Elizabeth. 1971. The social consequences of resettlement: The impact of the Kariba resettlement upon the Gwembe Tonga. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Epstein, Adrian. L. 1958. Politics in an urban African community. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gluckman, Max. 1940. "Analysis of a social situation in modern Zululand." Bantu Studies. 14:1-30, 147-174.

Gluckman, Max. 1955. The judicial process among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gluckman, Max. 1955. Custom and conflict in Africa. Oxford: Blackwell.

Gluckman, Max. 1963. Order and rebellion in tribal Africa. London: Cohen & West.

Leach, Edmund R. 1954. Political systems of Highland Burma: A study of Kachin social structure. London: London School of Economics and Political Science.

Marwick, Max. G. 1965. Sorcery in its social setting: A study of the Northern Rhodesian Cewa. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Mitchell, Clyde J. 1956. The Kalela dance: Aspects of social relationships among urban Africans in Northern Rhodesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Turner, Victor. 1957. Schism and continuity in African society: A study of Ndembu village life. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Werbner, Richard P. 1984. "The Manchester School In South-Central Africa." Annual Review of Anthropology 13:157-85

Ecological Materialism:

Harris, Marvin. 1966. "The cultural ecology of India's sacred cattle." Current Anthropology 7: 51-66.

Harris, Marvin. 1974. Cows, pigs, wars, and witches: The riddles of culture. New York: Random.

Harris, Marvin. 1977. Cannibals and kings: The origins of culture. New York: Random.

Harris, Marvin. 1979. Cultural materialism: The struggle for a science of culture. New York: Random.

Milton, Kay. 1997. Ecologies: Anthropology, culture and the environment. Electronic document. February 5,1999

Moran, Emilio F. 1979. Human adaptability: An introduction to ecological anthropology. North Scituate, MA: Duxbury Press.

Moran, Emilio F. 1990. The ecosystem approach in anthropology: From concept to practice. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Murphy Martin, and Maxine Margolis, Eds. 1995. Science, materialism, and the study of culture. Gainesville: University of Florida Press.

Netting, Robert McC. 1977. Cultural ecology. [2nd edition]. Prospect heights, IL: Waveland.

Rappaport, Roy. 1967. Pigs for the ancestors. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Rappaport, Roy. 1979. Ecology, meaning, and religion. Richmond, CA: North Atlantic.

Ross, Eric, Ed. 1980. Beyond the myths of culture: Essays in cultural materialism. New York: Academic.
Steward, Julian. 1955. Theory of culture change: The methodology of multilinear evolution. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Steward, Julian. 1977. Evolution and ecology: Essays on social transformations. Jane C. Steward and Robert F. Murphy, Eds. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Vayda, Andrew P., Ed. 1969. Environment and cultural behavior: Ecological studies in cultural anthropology. Garden City, New York: Natural History.

White, Leslie. 1959. The evolution of culture. New York: Grove Press.

White, Leslie. 1959. "Culture concept" American Anthropologist 61:22-252.


Clarke, Simon. 1981. The foundations of structuralism. Sussex: The Harvester Press.

Douglas, Mary. 1966. Purity and danger: An analysis of concepts of pollution and taboo. London: Routledge.

Douglas, Mary. 1970. Natural symbols. London: Barrie & Rockcliff.

Douglas, Mary. 1975. Implicit meanings: Essays in anthropology. London: Routledge.

Hage, Per and Frank Harary. 1983. Structural models in anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Lane, Michael. 1970. Introduction to structuralism. New York: Basic Books.

Leach, Edmund, Ed. 1960. Aspects of caste in South India, Ceylon, and North-West Pakistan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Leach, Edmund. Ed. 1967. The structural study of myth and totemism. London: Tavistock.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1963. Structural anthropology. New York: Basic.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1966. The savage mind. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Lévi-Strauss, Claude. 1969. The elementary structures of kinship. Boston, MA: Beacon.
Pettit, Philip. 1975. The concept of structuralism: A critical analysis. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Saussure, Ferdinand de. 1959. Course in general linguistics. New York: Philosophical Library.

Sturrock, John. Ed. 1986. Structuralism. London: Paladin Grafton Books.

Symbolic Anthropology

Asad, Talal. 1983. Anthropological concepts of religion: Reflections on Geertz. Man (N.S.) 18:237-59.

Geertz, Clifford. 1973. The interpretation of cultures. New York: Basic.

Geertz, Clifford. 1983. Local knowledge: Further essays in interpretive anthropology. New York: Basic Books.

Geertz, Clifford., Ed. 1974. Myth, symbol, and culture. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc.
Parker, Richard. 1985. "From symbolism to interpretation: Reflections on the work of Clifford Geertz". Anthropology and Humanism Quarterly 10(3):62-67.

Prattis, J. Ian. 1997. Parsifal and semiotic structuralism. In Anthropology at the Edge: Essays on Culture, Symbol, and Consciousness. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc.

Sahlins, Marshall. 1976. Culture and practical reason. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Schneider, David. 1968. American kinship: A cultural account. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

Turner, Victor W. 1967. The forest of symbols: Aspects of Ndembu ritual. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

Turner, Victor W. 1974. Dramas, fields and metaphors: Symbolic action in human society. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.


Bloch, Maurice. Ed. 1975. Marxist analyses and social anthropology. New York: Wiley

Bloch, Maurice. 1983. Marxism and anthropology: The history of a relationship. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
Donham, Donald L. 1990. History, power, ideology: Central issues in Marxism and anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Godelier, Maurice. 1977. Perspectives in Marxist anthropology. Cambridge: Cambridge University.

Kahn, Joel, and Josep Llobera. 1981. The anthropology of pre-capitalist societies. London: Macmillan.

Meillasoux, Claude. 1981. Maidens, meal, and money: Capitalism and the domestic community. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Sahlins, Marshall. 1972. Stone age economics. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Terray, Emmanuel. 1972. Marxism and "primitive" societies. New York: Monthly Review Press.

Vincent, Joan. 1990. Anthropology and politics: Visions, traditions, and trends. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press.

Wolf, Eric. 1982. Europe and the people without history. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Practice Theory and Precursors

Bailey, Frederick G. 1969. Stratagems and spoils: A social anthropology of politics. Oxford: Blackwell

Barth, Fredrik. 1966. Models of social organization. London: Royal Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland, Occasional Paper no. 23.

Barth, Fredrik. Ed. 1969. Ethnic groups and boundaries: The social organization of culture difference. Boston, MA: Little Brown.

Barth, Fredrik. 1981. Process and form in social life. London: Routledge.

Blumer, Herbert. 1969. Symbolic interactionism: Perspective and method. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1977. Outline of a theory of practice [Esquisse d'une theorie de la pratique]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A social critique of the judgement of taste [La Distinction] Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Bourdieu, Pierre. 1990. The logic of practice. [Sens Pratique]. Stanford CA: Stanford University Press.

Giddens, Anthony. 1984. The constitution of society: Outline of the theory of structuration. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Goffman, Erving. 1956. The presentation of self in everyday life. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh.

Jenkins, Richard. 1992. Pierre Bourdieu. London: Routledge.

Kapferer, Bruce. Ed. 1976. Transaction and meaning: Directions in the anthropology of exchange and symbolic behavior. Philadelphia, PA: ISHI

Kuhn, Manfred H. 1964. "Major trends in symbolic interaction theory in the past twenty-five years." Sociological Quarterly 5:61-84.

Lewis, J. David, and Richard J. Smith. 1980. American sociology and pragmatism: Mead, Chicago sociology, and symbolic interaction. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mead, George H. 1934. Mind, self, and society: From the standpoint of a social behaviorist. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

Ortner, Sherry. 1984. "Theory in anthropology since the sixties". Comparative Studies in Society and History. 26: 126-166.

Reynolds, Larry T. 1990. Interactionism: Exposition and critique. 2nd edition. Dix Hills, N.Y.: General Hall.


Clifford, James and George Marcus. Eds. 1986. Writing culture: The poetics and politics of ethnography. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Crapanzano, Vincent. 1992. Hermes' dilemma and Hamlet's desire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Foucault, Michel. 1970. The order of things: An archaeology of the human sciences [Mots et les choses]. New York: Pantheon.

Foucault, Michel. 1972. The archaeology of knowledge [Archeologie du savoir]. New York: Harper & Row.

Foucault, Michel. 1977. Discipline and punish [Surveiller et punir]. New York: Pantheon.

Marcus, George E. and Dick Cushman. 1982. "Ethnographies as texts". Annual Review of Anthropology 11: 25-69.

Marcus, George and Michael M. J. Fisher. 1986. Anthropology as cultural critique: An experimental moment in the human sciences. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.

O'Meara, J. Tim. 1989. "Anthropology as empirical science". American Anthropologist 91: 354-369.

Rabinow, Paul and W.M. Sullivan. Eds. 1979. Interpretive social science: A reader. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Rosaldo, Renato. 1989. Culture and truth: The remaking of social analysis. Boston, MA: Beacon.

Transnationalism and Globalization

Alvarez, Robert M Jr. 1995. "The Mexico-U.S. border: The making of an anthropology of borderlands" Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 447-470.

Appadurai, Arjun. 1991. "Global ethnoscapes: Notes on queries for a transnational anthropology" In Recapturing anthropology. Richard Fox, Ed. Santa Fe, N.M.: School of American Research Press.

Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. "Soveriegnty without territoriality: Notes for a postnational geography" In The geography of identity. Patricia Yaeger, Ed. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Appadurai, Arjun. 1996. Modernity at large: Cultural dimensions of globalization. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Anderson, Benedict. 1983. Imagined communities: Reflections on the origins and spread of nationalism. London: Verso.

Gupta, Akhil, and James Ferguson. 1992. "Beyond 'culture': Space, identity, and the politics of difference" Cultural Anthropology 7: 6-23.

Gupta, Akhil, and James Ferguson. Eds. 1997. Culture, power, place: Explorations in critical anthropology. Durnham, N.C.: Duke University Press.

Hannerz, Ulf. 1996. Transnational connections: Culture, people, places. New York: Routeledge.

Kearney, Michael. 1991. "Borders and boundaries of state and self at the end of an empire" Journal of Historical Sociology 4: 52-74.

Kearney, Michael. 1995. "The local and the global: The anthropology of globalization and transnationalism" Annual Review of Anthropology 24: 547-565.

Rouse, Roger. 1995. "Thinking through transnationalism: Notes on the cultural politics of class relations in the contemporary United States" Public Culture 7: 353:402.

Pop Anthropology in the Movies

Pop Anthropology: The Reverse | Savage Minds

by on September 13th, 2007

Is there an upsurge in pop culture representations of both anthropologists and anthropological topics taking place right now? A little ‘buzz’ around our discipline? Is anthropology hot–or not? Exhibit A: The Nanny Diaries. Scarlett Johansson plays a recent anthropology graduate who dreams of becoming an anthropologist (imagine!). Exhibit B: National Geographic’s Taboo, a program that promises to help us “understand seemingly shocking practices from around the world.” Exhibit C: “Meet the Natives,” a three-part documentary airing on British TV, about a group of Vanuatu men brought to the UK as “reverse anthropologists.” There is a lot to say individually about these different representations of anthropological themes in pop culture, and examples can be multiplied — I’m hoping SM’s enormous readership will provide further examples in comments. I think these ‘texts’ mostly play on the conceit of reflexive defamiliarization or ironic self-otherization. The putative “we” of the audience is invited to see itself as odd, as exotic, even as savage. This is perhaps merely a mainstreaming of a possibility inherent in the structure of anthropological knowledge, which has always promised to expose one’s own cultural conceits as arbitrary constructions. Yet, I suspect that many of these programs and pop culture texts thereby allow certain damaging stereotypes about other cultures to circulate by putting them in ironic quotation marks. I’m curious what people think about this stuff. Is there something a little different about newer iterations of pop culture “primitives” vis-a-vis older ones (e.g., the figure of the primitive in 20th century art)? What do you guys think? For discussion, Exhibit D: “Fierce People,” a new film:

Anthropology and Popular Culture: Ideology

Anthropology and Popular Culture

Good comp.:


Having considered the processes of aestheticization and commodification, we are now in a position to approach ideology, the most important concept in cultural studies. But - and let's be clear about this - ideology is a challenging concept, and all our preparations to this point, helpful as they are, will not transform this rough hike into a cake walk. As Terry Eagleton's treatment of this concept suggests, ideology means many different things, and our first task is to appreciate its polysemy.

Ideology and False Consciousness

For Karl Marx, ideology is a false consciousness that swaddles people like blankets in winter to ward off the chill of deep critical reflection. An apt paraphrase for the famous Marxian quip that "religion is the opiate of the masses," would be, religion is the ideology of the masses. From his point of view, people would do well to escape any and every ideological moment. To the degree that they do not, they are setting themselves up for self-mystification in service to the economic system. People should crawl out from under ideology, and flee towards a liberated awareness - frighteningly insecure though it might be - towards a truthful take on social life.

As Marx saw it, ideology performs two related functions. On the negative side, it smothers liberal (open) and critical thought. On the positive side, it legitimates power. Here, we should pause to consider this heavy word "legitimates." Consider our common uses: legitimate theater is serious; a legitimate Van Gogh is authentic; an illegitimate child is a bastard. "Legitimacy" is almost always associated with a claim to a bona fide membership in a class. Legitimate theater, legitimate painting, and legitimate children consist of performance, art works, and people who enjoy a well-founded and deeply rooted claim to their status. They seem to come by that status naturally. By contrast, do guerilla theatre, a Van Gogh reprint, or a child born out of wedlock get treated less respectfully? Well, I don't know, but I do remember that I tossed my faux van Gogh out in the rubbish. However vague this notion of legitimacy may be, we can nevertheless recognize the role of ideology in legitimating some form of power insofar as it encourages thought and discourse that naturalizes political regimes, rendering them proper, bona fide, and worthy of respect. You don't toss a legitimate government out in the rubbish.

Ideology and Practice

One feature of ideology that was overlooked by early Marxists is that ideology is a process of practice as well as of thought. Ideology is an accomplishment rather than a static inert system of thought. We grow ideologies just as we grow peas, and we do so by our daily words and practices. The Quakers seemed to sense this when they objected so strenuously in seventeenth-century England to the then common contrast between formal (elite) and informal (common) second-person pronouns. They seemed to understand that the act of talking class distinctions helps to concretize them. And by contrast, to refuse to use pronouns of class is a step in the direction of de-legitimating class distinctions. Such a focus on discourse counters the intuitively heavy emphasis given to thought and ideas when talking about ideology. We should be able to see, with Eagleton, that "ideologies are action-oriented sets of beliefs rather than speculative theoretical systems." Such a notion of words that "grow" ideologies is central to Pierre Bourdieu's so-called "reproduction theory" according to which everyday action reproduces the conditions of ideological domination.

Ideologies are accomplished in and through the repetitious actions of everyday life. Brushing your teeth after waking up in the morning, covering your mouth when you cough, saying "Hi!" to a colleague who passes in the hallway, kissing your kids at night before they go to sleep, all these routine are occasions for reproducing ideology. They reflect our social commitments while simultaneously rooting those commitments deeper in daily practice. With each new rehearsal of such habits, those habits become more solidly entrenched and more thoroughly legitimated. Ideological foundations are built, through these habits, in a sedimentary fashion, layer over layer over layer of action, with the weight of the whole compressed and compacted in memory, as Paul Connerton says, squeezing aside details, and leaving only the most general outlines of our sociality. In this way, as Clifford Geertz has argued, the simple and unconsciously performed social acts of everyday life become "models of" but also "models for" our social lives. They constitute us ideologically at the same time that they reveal our social constitution.

We can better appreciate the ideologies that are accomplished in the dimly lit corners of everyday practice by focussing our attention on ideological accomplishments that take place in more clearly defined and brightly shining areas of social life, namely, in "public performances." Public performances are sharply defined moments of public display of a talent or competence, playful moments of heightened intensity that idealize the management of power in social life. Performances are sharply defined, often physically so, and set off from the practices of everyday life. The curtain goes up to start the play, the whistle blows to start the game, and the heavy silence of the church defines the space dedicated to liturgical performance. In all these ways, public performances are set apart, and endowed with a special kind of seriousness, even if it's the playful seriousness of a Robin Williams or a Steven Wright doing a comic monologue. Public performances are as serious as they are because they embody ideals of how we are to be social and, more specifically, of how we are to manage power, that is, ideological ideals.

Those who take in performances, whether those performances are films, or musical events, museum displays, football games, stand-up comedy acts or advertising photographs in magazines operate by unconsciously inserting themselves into the roles being performed. That's why we get so tense on third-and-eight plays in football. Momentarily, we become Brett Favres. In a basketball game that goes into double overtime, we become Michael Jordans and we expect ourselves to perform to perfection. Some aspects of our identification are more conscious than others. When we see a magazine ad that features a handsome couple sipping wine in a posh hotel room, we can easily recognize the spotlight placed on their grace and beauty. But, we also identify with a host of less clearly spotlighted aspects of the photo. Our eyes, glancing over the glossy, instantly connect disparate points and reconstitute idealized relations. Like the eyes that stare up at a theater marquee and swear that the lights are hopping from bulb to bulb, our manner of discerning a magazine ad is one that discovers habits of sociality and takes them to be models for our social life. In this way ideology is accomplished.

Debating the Concept of Dominant Ideology "Industrialized Peasants" Georg Scholz, 1920
However ideology is portrayed, whether as ideas or as actions, the strong suggestion remains that a single powerful ideology reigns supreme in modern life. This ideology serves the interests of the powerful and shapes the thoughts and actions of the weak.
Such a claim for a "dominant ideology" that serves elites and oppresses the powerless has been criticized by Abercrombie, Hill and Turner in The Dominant Ideology Thesis (1980), by James Scott in Domination and the Arts of Resistance (1990), and by Terry Eagleton in Ideology (1991). The criticisms of the claim offered by Abercrombie et al. were, according to Eagleton, "a valuable correction to a left idealism which would overestimate the significance of culture and ideology for the maintenance of political power. Such "culturalism," pervasive throughout the 1970s, was itself a reaction to an earlier Marxist economism" (p. 36).

Scott mulled over the links between "dominant ideology" and "false consciousness" and arrived at the following helpful distinction. "I believe we can discern a thick and a thin version of false consciousness. The thick version claims that a dominant ideology works its magic by persuading subordinate groups to believe actively in the values that explain and justify their own subordination. Evidence against this thick theory of mystification is pervasive enough to convince me that it is generally untenable....The thin theory of false consciousness, on the other hand, maintains only that the dominant ideology achieves compliance by convincing subordinate groups that the social order in which they live is natural and inevitable. The thick claims consent; the thin theory settles for resignation. In its most subtle form, the thin theory is eminently plausible, and, some would claim, true by definition. I believe, nevertheless, that it is fundemantally wrong and hope to show why..." (p. 72).


An additional weakness of the claim for a "dominant ideology" is its assumption that ideologies are fabrications of the powerful only and not of the powerful. The assumption that only established power, governments in place, and regimes already in control of a populace get the opportunity to create and promote ideologies is specious. One might get the idea that IBM, GM, and Ma Bell are in the business of manufacturing ideologies, while Joe Sixpack and his family, pure as the driven snow, are never responsible for false consciousnesses. It is to the credit of contemporary critical Marxists that the notion of ideology has been expanded. First, we know that ideologies are historically deep-seated systems of practice-and-thought. However, there were no IBMs or GMs present in the first centuries of Christianity, when believers cobbled together some attractive new ways of talking about and caring for the "self". And no Ma Bell encouraged these Platonic ways to persist in the West for 2000 years to the point that they now serve as the foundation for our market economy, for our legal system that assigns responsibility and culpability for action, and for our political system with its assumptions about the native faculties of citizens and about their rights to exercise those faculties in our democratic system of government.

Furthermore, we know that ideologies are diverse and not unitary. Cultural studies has been forced to rethink both idea of a single "dominant ideology" and the idea that that "dominant ideology serves the interests of those in power. As Raymond Williams argued,, "No mode of production and therefore no dominant social order and therefore no dominant culture ever in reality includes or exhausts all human practice, human energy, and human intention."

Finally, a strong opinion has been encouraged by the work of both Antonio Gramsci and Mikhail Bakhtin to the effect that ideological effects are always the result of confrontations and accomodations among competing ideological forces. If power in the modern world is exercised through hegemony, then one can suspect that hegemonic power is multifaceted, the result of a confrontation between multiple forces of domination and multiple forces of resistance. The task of analyzing such complex hegemonic conditions is one that stands high on the list of priorities for cultural studies. We will revisit this issue in the course of examining three domains of popular culture that are bound to be of interest to anthropologists while being, at the same time, riddled with hegemonic contest. These three domains are museum, music, and film.

Modesty and style in Islamic attire: Refashioning Muslim garments in a Western context

Modesty and style in Islamic attire: Refashioning Muslim garments in a Western context:

My ethnographic fieldwork conducted with female converts to Islam in France and in Quebec (Canada) shows that, for these women,
being Muslim does not necessarily mean wearing clothes with ‘oriental’ designs. Rather, they are starting their own clothing
companies so as to produce distinct Muslim-Western fashions that they promote through the Internet. By interpreting Islam
in a context where Muslims are a minority religious group, converts construct alternative religious and social representations
of Muslim identity that accord with their feminist interpretation of the Qu’ran while simultaneously incorporating the Western background within which they were socialized. In this regard, the strategies that they develop for wearing the veil and for integrating into their environment (family, workplace, etc.) make it clear
that fashion, religion and politics are interacting in multiple, creative ways. In this paper, I look at how new Muslim feminist
subjectivities are produced and realized through habits of dress, resulting in new representations of the body. I explore
this issue by considering dress and hairstyle strategies developed by Muslim converts, in order to examine new perspectives
on the place of gender in religion as it relates to particular social contexts.

Public Anthropology “at the Fair”: 1893 Origins, 21st-Century Opportunities

Public Anthropology “at the Fair”: 1893 Origins, 21st-Century Opportunities:

ABSTRACT  What have been the connections between anthropology and public fairs and festivals in the United States? Anthropologists have been involved in public fairs and festivals in the United States for over 100 years. Back in 1893, members of the new discipline of anthropology played a major role in the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition, both in the huge Anthropology Building and on the sprawling Midway Plaisance. Today, the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, D.C., is in many ways a modern laboratory for research and experience in public anthropology, ethnomusicology, and folklore. In this essay, I examine the profound changes in the control of voices and discourse surrounding the activities at these types of fairs and festivals. I challenge anthropologists to observe and participate in this expanding discursive field and ask how sites like YouTube can aid in the process and enable critical future developments in pubic anthropology.

Gift and Value in Jerusalem's Third Sector

Gift and Value in Jerusalem's Third Sector:

ABSTRACT  Contemporary social activism lends itself to critique from the standpoint of Maussian gift giving, wherein generosity and interests coconstitute a sociality that is at once politically significant, morally resonant, and economically viable. Among Jerusalem's vibrant third sector, the vision that Marcel Mauss delineates emerges out of the same practices and policies that restrict its manifestation. In this article, I try to explain how and why this happens. I mobilize value—a form of indirect domination that Karl Marx attributes to capitalist society—to account for failures in the implementation of gifting values. Building on an ethnography of third-sector activism, I discuss some premises and potentialities in the anthropology of gift and value and argue for the primacy of Marxian value over Maussian gifting.

inline image

MUSLIM WOMEN IN AMERICA: THE CHALLENGE OF ISLAMIC IDENTITY TODAY by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore

MUSLIM WOMEN IN AMERICA: THE CHALLENGE OF ISLAMIC IDENTITY TODAY by Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, and Kathleen M. Moore



Do Jews Feel Like Outsiders in America? The Impact of Anti-Semitism, Friendships, and Religious Geography

Do Jews Feel Like Outsiders in America? The Impact of Anti-Semitism, Friendships, and Religious Geography:

While once the archetypical outsiders, most Jews today do not feel like outsiders in the United States. Using the 2001 National Jewish Population Survey, we examine the factors that differentiate those who feel like outsiders from those who do not. We find that feeling like an outsider is largely associated with having experienced anti-Semitism, the number of Jews living nearby, the proportion of a respondent's friends’ that are Jewish, and whether Jews identify with some branch of Judaism versus those who identify as ethnic Jews. Although the effects of discrimination on feeling like an outsider are unsurprising, the smaller but persistent effect of geographic context deserves more attention. Jews feel less like outsiders when they live in places where they can and do have more contact with other Jews. The increased within-group ties that are possible in areas of greater Jewish concentration appear to facilitate psychological integration into the larger community.

The Effect of Religious Short-Term Mission Trips on Youth Civic Engagement

The Effect of Religious Short-Term Mission Trips on Youth Civic Engagement:

Religious short-term mission trips are an increasingly popular form of American religious practice, especially among young people. Both organizers and participants often emphasize their transformative nature. However, scholarly efforts to evaluate systematically the social consequences of religious short-term mission trips are lacking. To address this neglect, our article investigates whether going on a religious short-term mission trip significantly differentiates youth who engage in civic actions from those who do not. Based on quantitative analysis of Wave I of the National Survey of Youth Religion (NSYR), we find that, controlling for other important factors, taking a mission trip significantly increases the likelihood of adolescents participating in various forms of civic activity, particularly religious-based volunteer work. Drawing on prior scholarship on religious short-term mission and similarly focused trips and in-depth interview data from trip participants, we outline several theoretical mechanisms that likely explain the link between taking a mission trip and civic engagement.

Religious Self-Disclosure in Social Media

Baring Their Souls in Online Profiles or Not? Religious Self-Disclosure in Social Media:

This study measured the prevalence of religious self-disclosure in public MySpace profiles that belonged to a subsample of National Study of Youth and Religion (NSYR) wave 3 respondents (N = 560). Personal attributes associated with religious identification as well as the overall quantity of religious self-disclosures are examined. A majority (62 percent) of profile owners identified their religious affiliations online, although relatively few profile owners (30 percent) said anything about religion outside the religion-designated field. Most affiliation reports (80 percent) were consistent with the profile owner's reported affiliation on the survey. Religious profile owners disclosed more about religion when they also believed that religion is a public matter or if they evaluated organized religion positively. Evangelical Protestants said more about religion than other respondents. Religiosity, believing that religion is a public matter, and the religiosity of profile owners’ friendship group were all positively associated with religious identification and self-disclosure.

A Clash of Civilizations? Preferences for Religious Political Leaders in 86 Nations

A Clash of Civilizations? Preferences for Religious Political Leaders in 86 Nations:

Huntington claimed that today's major conflicts are most likely to erupt between religiously defined “civilizations,” in particular between Christianity and Islam. Using World Values Surveys from 86 nations, we examine differences between Christians and Muslims in preferences for religious political leaders. The results suggest a marked difference between Muslims and Christians in their attitudes toward religious politicians, with Muslims more favorable by 20 points out of 100. Devoutness, education, degree of government corruption, and status as a formerly Communist state account for the difference. Little support is found for the clash-of-civilizations hypothesis. Instead, we find that a clash of individual beliefs—between the devout and the secular—along with enduring differences between the more developed and less developed world explains the difference between Islam and Christianity with regards to preferences for religious political leaders.

Common Core Thesis and Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Mysticism in Chinese Buddhist Monks and Nuns

Common Core Thesis and Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis of Mysticism in Chinese Buddhist Monks and Nuns:

This study explores the phenomenological structure of mystical experience among 139 Chinese Pure Land and Chan Buddhist monks and nuns. Semi-structured interviews, thematic coding, and statistical analyses demonstrated that Stace's common facets of mysticism as measured by Hood's Mysticism Scale (M Scale) successfully described Buddhist experience as modified by Buddhist doctrines. Confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) revealed that these facets could be formed into Stace's three-factor structure. A mystical introvertive unity hypothesized to be separate from an extrovertive unity instead converged in the Chinese Buddhist context. These results lend strong support to the thesis that the phenomenology of mystical experience reveals a common experiential core that can be discerned across religious and spiritual traditions. These data also demonstrated that this common core can and should be explored using mixed methods.

The Essentiality of “Culture” in the Study of Religion and Politics

The Essentiality of “Culture” in the Study of Religion and Politics:

This article reviews various theoretical approaches political scientists employ in the analysis of religion and politics and posits culture as a conceptual bridge between competing approaches. After coming to the study of religion slowly in comparison with other social science disciplines, political science finally has a theoretically diverse and thriving religion and politics subfield. However, political scientists’ contributions to the social scientific study of religion are hampered by a lack of agreement about whether endogenous or exogenous theoretical approaches ought to dominate our scholarship. I assert that the concept of culture—and more specifically, subculture—might help create more connections across theoretical research traditions. I emphasize how the concept of religion-based subculture is inherent in psychological, social psychological, social movement, and contextual approaches to religion and politics scholarship, and I explore these theoretical connections using the example of religion-based “us versus them” discourses in contemporary American politics.

Amir Sulaiman on Islam & Culture

REFLECTIONS with Amir Sulaiman on Vimeo

Interesting thoughts on American Muslims & culture:

REFLECTIONS with Amir Sulaiman from Mustafa Davis on Vimeo.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Amrican Muslim makes best comics of 2011: Superhero and mainstream  | Best Of 2011 | Best of | The A.V. Club

The best comics of 2011: Superhero and mainstream | Best Of 2011 | Best of | The A.V. Club

10. Mystic (Marvel)
Marvel’s relaunch of defunct publisher Crossgen’s properties went relatively unnoticed, but G. Willow Wilson and David Lopez’s thrilling fantasy yarn stood out as one of the year’s most charming new titles. An all-ages comic in the fashion of a Disney or Studio Ghibli cartoon, Wilson’s story follows two orphan girls in a magical world who are facing the perils of adolescence. In one of the year’s best first issues, Wilson and Lopez created a richly detailed environment and endearing central relationship that fueled the entire miniseries, which moved at a brisk pace to its all-too-soon conclusion. An ideal book for young female readers, Mystic reveals how the right team and a little imagination can turn an old concept into something fresh and exciting.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Zizek Interview: On Culture & Other Crimes


By Kerry Chance
University of Chicago

Slavoj Zizek, psychoanalytic philosopher and cultural critic at the Institute of Sociology in Slovenia, has taught all over the world, most recently at the University of Chicago. His first public lecture at Chicago, entitled "The Ignorance of Chicken, or, Who Believes What Today", looked every bit the rock show. Crowds stretched across the main campus quad, a 'merch' table featured his latest book The Parallax View, and as the lecture began with crowds still waiting outside, people climbed through the windows of the packed auditorium. While at Chicago, Zizek also taught a seminar as the Critical Inquiry Visiting Professor on topics ranging from Lacanian ethics, political correctness, habit in Hegel, the Big Other, Stalin, theology, politics and the role of the intellectual. Zizek has written innumerable articles and is the author of more than fifty books, including The Sublime Object of Ideology, The Ticklish Subject, Did Somebody Say Totalitarianism?, On Belief and Welcome to the Desert of the RealÑto name just a few that have contributed to his widespread popularity in and outside the academy. Here, Zizek speaks to Exchange about culture, Lacan, cognitive science, neoliberalism and projects for contemporary anthropology.


Chance: In class and in your public lectures here at Chicago, you've frequently talked about culture and have done so in two ways: first, in terms of belief as you have theorized it in your earlier work, and secondly in terms of Hegel's notion of habit. How are you thinking culture in Lacanian terms?

Zizek: Traditionally, Lacanians like to identify culture simply as the symbolic system, within which there is a linguistically limited horizon of meaning, but I think two things should be added.

First, what is for me the zero-sum of culture, if I improvise, is what to do about embarrassing excesses. When somebody does something embarrassing, burps after eating for example, culture is how you react to it in a polite way. To be very vulgar, all seduction rituals are the cultured way of dealing with the fact that people would like to copulate with each other. Now, someone will say, "wait a minute, to feel something as embarrassment, culture must already be there." No, I don't think so. Somehow, embarrassment is first. In other words, we have to presuppose an excess, again, embarrassment apropos of something disgusting, non-social, or an excess of obscenity or enjoyment.

So again, this would be the first specification: to put it in bombastic Lacanian terms, first the excess of the real, embarrassment, shock - and culture is how you deal with it. This is why Lacan in a nice, tasteless way put it that one measure of the passage from the animal to the human kingdom is what to do with shit. He always liked this example, that an animal by definition just shits wherever, for humans shit is always an embarrassment. It always amused me when I was a boy that, at circuses, you have animals, horses and especially elephants that take a big shit and usually you see people hidden behind them ready to make the shit quickly disappear. Animals don't care. The problem with humans is what to do with this embarrassment.

The second thing that interests me, which is a much more concrete historical analysis, is why there is such an obsession with culture today. Why is it that today not only do we have culture studies but everything - and by everything I mean at least the humanities and for some people even the hard sciences - has become a subspecies of cultural studies? In the hard sciences, people will say following Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, their history is the history of culture, of paradigm shifts and so on. Everything becomes culture.

Chance: How is this linked to your notion of belief?

Zizek: Again, this is linked to my notion of belief, to the idea that something is changing in the status of belief. Today, the predominant form is a belief that culture is the name of a belief, which is no longer taken seriously. Culture means, for example, I am a Jew, and although I don't think there was a stupid god coming down and shouting some stupid things to people on Mount Sinai, I nonetheless say out of respect for my lifestyle or whatever, I don't eat pork. This is culture.

To complicate things even further, I think two traps should be avoided here. Among other things, I have tried to focus my work on one of these traps in the last few years. First, it is too simple to say, "does this mean once before people were taking culture seriously." No. Not only conservatives, but even progressives like to criticize the present, evoking, "oh, but once it was different, things were more authentic." No, it wasn't. It is not that before people did believe. If anything, they believe more today. It's just that the modality of distance was different. Before, it wasn't a matter of belief. Rather, it was a feeling of being more attached to, and having more respect for, the power of appearance of ritual as such. Something changed today at that level, I think. So paradoxically these external signs of belief - "nobody takes anything seriously" - if anything, points to how it's more difficult today for us to trust the symbolic ritual, the symbolic institution. But again, there is no time when people 'really meant it.'

What I know from anthropology, I may be wrong, is that all the great errors started with a phenomenological evolutionary illusion. I think when researchers found a certain gap between reality and beliefs or between form and content, they always thought, "ah, we have a later descendent state of evolution, there must have been some point earlier when people meant it." The dream is that there was an original moment when people really 'meant it.' An example I know from my Marxist past, in anthropology you must know him from the 19th century, Lewis Henry Morgan. I remember from my youth that Engels among other classical Marxists relied on him. Morgan found that in some tribes all the men in one tribe referred to the women of the other tribe as their 'sister wives.' From this he deduced, that this is the linguistic remainder of some primordial form of marriage. The incest prohibition already in place, you were not allowed to have sex with women in your tribe, but only with the women in another tribe. The women were exchanged in a block, collectively. It was basic incest, but regulated. The way I heard it, anthropologists later proved that there never was this nice regulated collective orgy. That is to say, the wrong conclusion was that from this name 'sister wives' you conclude that there was a point when it was really meant. No, the gap is here from the very beginning.

What fascinates me in this example also is the logic of institution. By institution, I mean how, in order for something to function as a belief, you cannot simply say, "okay, let's pretend." In my book, I think the Ticklish Subject (Verso, 1999), I have a wonderful anecdote, which for me again tells about what culture is as an institution. It is a crazy story about elections some fifteen years ago in my country, Slovenia. An ex-friend of mine, who was a candidate told me - okay, he had to do these democratic games like kissing the asses of local constituents - an old lady came to him and said if he wanted her vote he would have to do her a favor. She was obsessed with the idea that something was wrong with her house number (number 24, not even 13), that this number brings misfortune. There was a burglary twice, lightning struck the house, and she's convinced that it's because of the number. She said, can she arrange with the city authorities to change the number, to 23a or something, just not 24. He said to her, "But lady, why even go through all this mess? Why don't you simply paint a new number and change it yourself?" She said, "No, it must be done properly." Though it was only superstition, to be effective it must be done properly through the institution. The must be a minimum reification to take the game seriously.

Chance: Is this a project for anthropology?

Zizek: This returns to another aspect of your question. That is, another lesson of all these notions of culture is the irreducibility of alienation. We should abandon this old phenomenological - and for some people, Marxist motive - that every institutionalization means reification in two directions, the past and the future. For the past, it is the idea that we should try to reconstitute a moment when it was not alienated, when it was 'meant seriously.' For the future, it is to isolate the moment, to dream or to work toward the moment when this transparency and authenticity of meaning will be reinstalled. No, we should also see the liberating aspect of it.

To return here to what I know of anthropology, when anthropology about half a century ago shifted from "let's observe the mating rituals in Southern Samoa or South Pacific" or whatever, to focusing on our daily life rituals. You remember Florida, the scandal elections and the first Bush victory. A guy somewhere from Africa wrote an article imitating that sort of journalistic report, you know, an enlightened Western journalist goes to Africa, where they allegedly have some election and he mocks the election, "ha, ha, what corruption." Well, this guy wrote about Florida in the same way, saying there are votes disappearing, the brother of the candidate is the local government, you know, describing Florida as a provincial Banana Republic case of cheating. It was a wonderful result. It was anthropology at its best.

I think this is what interests me, the anthropology of our lives. Not only is this a politically correct procedure - in this exceptional case, I use the term 'politically correct' in a positive way - but also I find it always a subversive procedure. The starting point is always the implicit racism of the anthropologist: you look at a foreign culture, you study them with this detachment, "oh what strange rituals" and so on. The phenomenological humanist temptation would be to say, "No, in this engaged participating fieldwork, we should immerse ourselves, become one of them to really understand them." This series of presuppositions we should reject. What does it mean that we should be one of them to understand them? They usually don't understand themselves - isn't it the basic experience that people as a rule follow rituals that are just a part of tradition, which they themselves don't get? I think the anthropology of our lives is the true breakthrough from this implicitly racist attitude of studying the eccentricity of others, to adopt the same view of ourselves. It is much better as a double alienation.

This is connected to another central motive of my work, this obsession with not only rules but also habits, which tell you how to obey or disobey rules. Especially social prohibitions never mean what they appear to mean. This is an incredibly wealthy topic of ideology for contemporary anthropology. Why is it so important? Precisely because we live in an era of so-called post-ideology. I claim that at precisely this level, ideology has survived.

My interest in anthropology, what always fascinated me was people never mean what they say and in order to be a part of a culture you have to get this gap. There is an important role of obscenities here. Let me tell you a comic adventure. This weekend, I was with Fred Jameson at Duke and there Fred invited an old, very distinguished Argentine gentleman - I will not tell you the name it's too embarrassing - because of my wife, who is also Argentinean. This gentleman, you would be afraid of using the f-word in front of him, so I said to myself, okay, can I make him say something dirty? And I did seduce him, you know how? The specificities of Argentine Spanish are very different from say Venezuelan Spanish or Mexican Spanish. So, I told him how I tried to learn Spanish, and then I made my first step into obscenity. I told him I knew the word 'cojo,' which in Spanish simply means 'to catch' something, like "how do I catch a taxi?" Now, this word will be important because I told him I heard somewhere in Argentina there is a series of jokes, where a stupid Spaniard comes to Argentina and asks, "Where do I catch a taxi?" In Argentinean Spanish, 'catch' here means the f-word. Then, the distinguished gentleman smiled briefly and I saw that he knew a really dirty example. And I like it how he broke down. After two or three minutes, he broke down and said, "It's against my nature but I must tell you Argentines have an even more dirty joke..." which is that a Spanish guy says, "How do you catch a cab?," which means to fuck a taxi, and the Argentine says, "Well, the only practical way I can imagine is the exhaust pipe." I was so glad that this distinguished gentleman, that I made him say this joke. For me, this is culture. For me, it is not a violation, but the closest you can get to authentic communication.


Chance: I wanted to talk about Lacanian ethics and about Lacan's injunction to be consistent with your desire -

Zizek: The thing about Lacan's injunction is what if your desire is not consistent? In other words, the way I read Lacan is that more and more in his late work he devalues desire, desire itself as not an ethical category. The Lacan of the fifties and sixties, it is the ethics of desire to not compromise your desire. But later, more and more he emphasizes that desire is a priori something hypocritical, inconsistent. In this sense, desire mostly thinks with a secret code that you will not get, the whole economy is to avoid the realization of desire, which is why Lacan understood that fantasy is a realization of desire. He doesn't mean realization of desire in the sense of getting what you desire, like I want to eat strawberry cakes and I in the fantasy imagine myself realizing it. For Lacan, it is to stage a scene where that desire as such emerges. What would be a nicer example, let's say I have a desire to eat strawberries but as always with desires, you have this suspicion, what if I will be disappointed. A fantasy would be, for example, I am there sleeping and somebody brings me strawberries, then I taste one, then I stop and it goes on. This 'going on' - I never fully have the strawberries - is fantasy. You don't realize desire - getting your dirty mouth full of strawberries - you just stage this scene on a pleasant, hopeful state of desire, on the verge of satisfaction but not yet there. There is a pleasant obstacle preventing it all the time. This is fantasy.

Chance: How does this ethical injunction, both in the early and late Lacan, play out in the political realm, specifically thinking about it in relation to the cartoon depictions of Mohammad, a debate that opposed unlimited freedom of the press to respect for the other?

Zizek: Do you see the piece I wrote - not in The New York Times, which was censored - but "Antinomies of Tolerant Reason"? (See HYPERLINK ""

You know, many leftists were mad at me there. They thought I made too many compromises with Western liberals, too much anti-Muslim compromise. But the reason I did it was that I got a little bit sick and tired with these politically correct Western liberals - didn't you notice this hypocrisy? I noticed it was the same people, who in the West are so sensitive - like I look at you and it already can be harassment - and all of sudden, they say it is a different culture, blah, blah, blah. I hate that even some feminists now are turning to culture as one of the standard defenses of Islam. In the West, we at least have formal equality of women. I am very sorry but there, you have a culture, at least in the predominant mode that is so openly anti-feminine. My god, but they are openly doing what we here are trying to unearth as the anti-feminism beneath the emancipated feminine. My god, are we now even prohibited from stating the obvious?

Do you know this famous, eternal politically correct example of clitoridechtomy? This example is not Islam - it is a ritual independent of Islam. But I remember some Muslim women claiming: isn't it that in the West in order to be attractive to men, women have to remain slim, seductive; isn't this a global clitoridechtomy; isn't it much worse? There, it's only the clitoris, here, it's as if your entire body is clitoridechtomized. I hate this - I remember when I was a youth what the facts were about the Gulag. People would say: but at least here, you are in or out of the Gulag; isn't it that the whole United States is one ideological Gulag? You know, this cheap counter universalization. I don't buy it - this is what I try to say in that text. The first thing is to admit a genuine deadlock and to stop this hypocrisy.

In that text, I hope it is obvious this fury I have at this logic of respect. Sometimes, respect is the most disrespectful category. Respect here is like telling a child false things so not to hurt him. Here, respect means not taking him seriously. I think a lot of the people who preach, "you should show restraint, show respect to Islam," are enacting the worst sort of patronization. Paradoxically, violent critics of Islam, on the most elementary level, show more respect for Islam than those who, out of respect, do not attack it. I am not saying we should turn to this, but at least those critics take people seriously as believers.


Chance: What does it mean to return to big theory?

Zizek: You remember, years ago it was fashionable to say big theory overlooks its own historical, concrete, anthropological conditions and presuppositions. That it is na•ve. Foucault has this attitude in its utmost when he says, before asking what's the meaning of the universe, you should ask in what historical context is it even possible to ask this question. So direct truth questions become questions about the concrete historical conditions in which one can raise such a question. I think this was a deadlock.

Today's big theory is no longer a na•ve big theory. It's not saying "let's forget about historical context and again ask, does god exist, or are we free." No, the point is that concrete theory - the idea that we cannot ask metaphysical questions, only historical questions - had a skeleton in the closet: it has its own big theory presuppositions. Usually, even some rather primitive historicist, relativist ideas, for example, everything depends on historical circumstances or interactions, there are no universalities, and so on. So for me, it's about not forgetting from where one speaks. It's about including into reflection, into historical reflection, the very historicism, which was unquestioned in this eternal, Foucauldian model. I find it so boring. It's so boring to say, "no, you shouldn't ask are we free, the only question is what does it mean in our society to ask the question are we free."

Chance: The presence of cognitive science is increasingly felt in anthropology. What particular problems does cognitive science pose for social sciences?

Zizek: Big theory brings us nicely to cognitive science because what it so tickling about them is precisely this question of freedom - does it mean we are not free? It's interesting that all the debates about cognitive sciences - the image of the human being emerging from all these interactions, from the brain sciences or more abstract mind sciences - is about are we free.

I don't know about social sciences, but I know about my field, psychoanalysis. I dealt with cognitive sciences extensively in my last book (See The Parallax View, MIT Press 2006). I think firstly, they should be taken seriously. They should not be dismissed as just another na•ve, naturalizing, positivist approach. The question should be seriously asked, how do they compel us to redefine the most basic notions of human dignity, freedom? That is to say, what we experience as dignity and freedom is it all just an illusion, as they put it in computer user terms, a user's illusion. Meaning, for example, when you write a text on a computer, you have this user's illusion scrolling up or down that there is text above or below. There is no text there. Is our freedom the same as a user's illusion or is there a freedom?

The thing to do - and I'm not saying I did it, I'm saying I am trying to do it - is to take these sciences very seriously, and find a point in them where there is a need for an intervention of concepts developed by psychoanalysis. I think - I hope - that I isolated one such point. I noticed how, when they tried to account for consciousness, they all have to resort to almost always the same metaphor of this autopoesis, self-reflexive move, some kind of self-relating, self-referring closed circuit. They are only able to describe it metaphorically. What I claim is that this is what Freud meant by death drive and so on.

But it's not that we psychoanalysts know it and can teach the idiots. I think this is also good for us - and by us I mean, my gang of psychoanalytically oriented people. It compels us also to formulate our terminology, to purify our technology as it were.


Chance: What, if anything, is neoliberalism?

Zizek: You must know, and it has often been noted, that the big shift in the study of the human mind from traditional approaches to modern cognitivism mirrors perfectly the shift from bureaucratic capitalism to neoliberal capitalism with its flexibility and plasticity. It's so interesting to notice how many cognitivists that I've read even say this openly. They say that traditional science of mind was production oriented, organizing up and down, like traditional bureaucratic capitalism. Today, it's like this digital, flexible capitalism - you don't have one central deciding point, you have free interaction, nomadic plasticity and so on. I found this very interesting.

Catherine Malabou wrote a wonderful book called What to Do With the Human Brain. She develops, in a very nice way, that plasticity can have two meanings. One meaning is this neoliberal plasticity. Basically, it's an accommodating plasticity: how to succeed on the market, how to adopt new identity. But there is a more radical plasticity, where the point is not just an adaptive plasticity. It's a plasticity that not only adapts itself to existing circumstances but also tries to form a margin of freedom to intervene, to change the circumstances.

The same would go for me for neoliberalism. My point would be first, there obviously exists something like neoliberalism. That is to say, it is a fact that at the level of relations between the states, within singular economies new rules of capitalism are emerging today.

But my first doubt would be about the process of describing the fact that something new is emerging. I don't think it is adequately described by the way neoliberalism describes itself. For example, saying "the rule is no longer state intervention, but free interaction, flexibility, the diminishing role of the state." But wait a minute, is this really going on? I mean, take Reagan's presidency and Bush's presidency today. While bombasting against big spending Democrats - that is to say, big state - the state has never been as strong as it is today and there is an incredible explosion of state apparatuses. State control today is stronger than ever. That would be my automatic reaction: yes, there is something new but, when covered by the label neoliberalism, it is not adequately described. The self-perception of today's era as neoliberal is a wrong self-perception.

Even leftist critics all too often accept this self-description on its own terms and then proceed to criticize it, saying, "no, we can't leave everything to the market." Wait a minute, who is leaving everything to the market? If we look at today's American economy, how much support there is for American farmers, how much intervention, military contracts, where is there any free market? I mean, sorry, but I don't see much free market here.

Just look at this paradox, which I think is the nicest icon of what goes on today. You know the problem of cotton in the state of Mali I think, which is the producer of cheap cotton far better than the United States' cotton. The country is going to ruin because, as you know, the American cotton producers get more state support than the entire Gross Domestic Product of the state of Mali. And they say there, we don't want American help, what we want is just when you preach about corrupt state intervention and the free market, you play by your own rules. You know, there's so much cheating going on here.

So that would be the kind of anthropological study that's needed: what neoliberalism really means. That's what we have to do.