Toward an Anthropological Framework for Studying Contemporary Europe

Susana Narotzky and Gavin Smith

in Immediate Struggles

Published by University of California Press

Published in print July 2006 | ISBN: 9780520245686
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520939011 | DOI:
Toward an Anthropological Framework for Studying Contemporary Europe

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This chapter takes a schematized and selective path—from the post-civil war interface of coercion with a shadow economy to the embedding of regional development programs within neoliberal doctrine—to illustrate how historical ethnography can raise questions. There are so many crosscutting histories to be dealt with. There are bends and dead ends along the various paths that are taken, belying the possibility of a single history so central to both Spanish governance today and the project of building a coherent European Union into the future. When these projects are pursued through neoliberal corporatist understandings of the social world, a politically vacuous history results, yet it is surely difficult to deny the salience of class differences in what have been discussed. The facts of expropriation inherent in the capitalist relation of production should be accepted if there is an acceptance of class, and this in turn makes it hard to accept an image of social dynamics that denies the salience of conflict. There is a connection between the way expropriation takes place and the way society is regulated, on the one hand, and the way people think about themselves as social subjects and hence the possibilities for praxis, on the other.

Keywords: contemporary Europe; post-civil war; neoliberal doctrine; historical ethnography; European Union

Chapter.  12328 words. 

Subjects: Anthropology

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