Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice, and Inequality by James G. Carrier, Don Kalb

By James G. Carrier, Don Kalb

Emerging social, political and fiscal inequality in lots of international locations, and emerging protest opposed to it, has noticeable the recovery of the concept that of 'class' to a famous position in modern anthropological debates. A well timed intervention in those discussions, this ebook explores the concept that of sophistication and its significance for realizing the foremost assets of that inequality and of people's makes an attempt to accommodate it. hugely topical, it situates classification in the context of the present fiscal situation, integrating parts from at the present time into the dialogue of an previous time table. utilizing circumstances from North and South the United States, Western Europe and South Asia, it exhibits the - occasionally mind-blowing - types that category can take, in addition to some of the results it has on people's lives and societies.

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While I have presented the ideas of Marx and Weber in terms of a structure of classes, it is important to remember that a structure is made of, and hence depends on, the relations among its parts. So, Marx’s and Weber’s models of class structure are based on sets of people who stand in different relations to key activities in the economic realm, and who are in relationships with each other in the daily activities of economic life, as well as in other areas of their lives. In those daily activities, people view things from a specific location in that political–social economy.

As well as describing these classic writers, Carrier’s chapter considers developments in work on class in the twentieth century, and especially since the 1960s. Those developments reflected changes in the world that writers described, but they also reflected changes in disciplinary preferences that became marked after the Neo-Marxist academic wave around 1970 began to recede. The result was that, for many in the social sciences in the 1980s and 1990s, the idea of class came close to being nothing but consumption and identity.

The first five chapters explore some of the macroscopic linkages, relational bases and situated manifestations of class. The next three are concerned with something different: how particular sets of people experience class as part of their public identities and how those public identities, in their turn, are shaped by the relational logics of class. In these chapters there is again a strong emphasis on local and global histories. The first of them is Luisa Steur’s “Class trajectories and indigenism among agricultural workers in Kerala,” which focuses on a group of poor laborers identified as Adivasis, a legal category of indigenous people in India, to which the government and NGOs offer some benefits and support.

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