Essays in Political Anthropology: Reviewing the Essence of Capitalism

Maximiliano E. Korstanje
University of Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Series: Anthropology Research and Developments
BISAC: SOC002000

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Special issue: Resilience in breaking the cycle of children’s environmental health disparities
Edited by I Leslie Rubin, Robert J Geller, Abby Mutic, Benjamin A Gitterman, Nathan Mutic, Wayne Garfinkel, Claire D Coles, Kurt Martinuzzi, and Joav Merrick

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In 1992, Ulrich Beck published his classic Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity, which over the years has been situated as a must-read book in anthropology and sociology. The turn of the century brought many unseen political, economic and of course ecological risks for contemporary society. Though brilliant in essence, Beck’s argument does not suffice to explain the times that humans live in now. Risk society has been replaced by a new stage of capitalism, where disasters, human suffering and pain have been commoditized as products to be instantly gazed and consumed by a global spectorship.

The term “Thana-Capitalism” is used to describe the rise of a new form of capitalism, centered in the consumption of death and pain. This book captivates the needs of discussing capitalism from a new angle, introducing new theories, insights and debates revolving around political anthropology. In five short chapters, the authors did their best to explore this idea with different but interrelated topics such as leisure, tourism, consumption, terrorism, disasters, climate change, and political violence. The present book is useful for pre-graduate students (in humanities and social sciences) interested in politics, cultural studies and anthropology.

Introduction

Chapter 1. Leisure and Society

Chapter 2. The Myths of Risk, Dialogues between Agamemnon and the Youth Jedi Skywalker

Chapter 3. The Tourism Imaginaries Reconsidered

Chapter 4. The Anthropology of Disasters an Alternative Viewpoint

Chapter 5. The Climate Change and Thana Capitalism

Conclusion: Terrorism Today

“Essays in Political Anthropology: Reviewing the Essence of Capitalism is a valuable book that inscribes in the fields of emotions, where the dichotomies of fear/terror/risk captivate scholars as the signs of our times. Essays in Political Anthropology… as a very attractive way of understanding political anthropology leaves the reader in a position to understand the role of fear as an emotion prevalent on the planet. Likewise, it allows capturing the restructuring potential of terror as a feature of consumer societies as a tool of power. With this book, Korstanje shows how the radicalization of risk in fear/terror "made the body" allows us to understand how “…the risk is dead, long live the risk”. Definitely: a must-read book.” - Adrian Scribano CONICET-UBA //CIES

"Kostanje’s latest book brings anthropology’s comparative cultural perspective to contemporary global politics. This approach offers a fresh analysis of the chaotic violence which has characterized the first decades of the twenty-first century. It is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the present circumstances of world politics." - Geoffrey Skoll, Emeritus Professor at SUNY Buffalo, US

“How should government leaders and corporate investors make the hardest decisions like whether to risk helping sick people or hostages in another country? This is not actually a moral decision – the easy answer of yes is not what is at stake anymore in the era of global terrorism. If it were, that would be a psychology study. To better understand the relevant global decision-making factors that leaders must learn about the social-cultural philosophy and behavioral impacts. Groups make decisions differently as compared to individuals. When actions in one country can be discovered so quickly using today’s technology, leaders of businesses and government must go back to political anthropology school to learn about the underlying theories and how the philosophical factors can be integrated into contemporary decision-making models. Likewise, researchers and professors must also go back to political anthropology school so they can update the body of knowledge and revise what is taught to students. This is where Max Korstanje’s book comes into play as he explains the domain of knowledge and impacts about political anthropology in the modern global terrorism era. It is valuable and relevant.” - Kenneth David Strang, Associate Professor at SUNY Plattsburgh, US (Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the International Journal of Risk and Contingency Management IGI Global US)

Keywords: risk, sociology, globalization, terrorism, terror, consumption, leisure

Audience: students, professors interested in the study of risk and disasters

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