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By James G. Carrier, Don Kalb

Emerging social, political and fiscal inequality in lots of nations, and emerging protest opposed to it, has visible the recovery of the idea that of 'class' to a popular position in modern anthropological debates. A well timed intervention in those discussions, this publication explores the concept that of sophistication and its value for figuring out the most important assets of that inequality and of people's makes an attempt to house it. hugely topical, it situates type in the context of the present fiscal concern, integrating components from this present day into the dialogue of an prior time table. utilizing circumstances from North and South the United States, Western Europe and South Asia, it exhibits the - occasionally marvelous - types that type can take, in addition to a number of the results it has on people's lives and societies.

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Extra info for Anthropologies of Class: Power, Practice, and Inequality

Sample text

The working class of Volta Redonda, the site of the largest steelworks in Latin America, founded in 1942, was formed within the paternalist imagery of the Estado Novo, a corporatist legal framework that, at that time, featured some of the world’s most progressive labor legislation. The result was a working class, and a consciousness of class, that emerged without the conflict that was crucial for European history. This corporatist era, however, ended with economic crisis, the military coup in 1964, and violence and repression within the steelworks and the city built around it.

Analysts of modern capitalism from Adam Smith onward have noted systematic pressures that lead to innovation, which is the opposite of reproduction. Marx described one such pressure, the tendency of the rate of profit to fall because competitive pressure leads manufacturers to replace labor with machinery; Weber described another, the systematic and rational pursuit of ever-greater profit that was part of the spirit of capitalism. At a more purely cultural level this takes the form of a fixation on novelty and a strong faith in progress (Edgerton 2008).

Carrier’s “The concept of class”, and it is first because it describes something that I have mentioned already, our conceptual and political patrimony from the nineteenth century. If we are to understand current notions of class, especially among intellectuals, we need to know their historical background and the sort of world that background described. Carrier’s chapter sketches that background primarily in terms of the two central figures in the history of work on class, Karl Marx and Max Weber.

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