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Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems

Aihwa Ong (Editor), Stephen J. Collier (Editor)
ISBN: 978-0-470-69581-4
512 pages
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
Global Assemblages: Technology, Politics, and Ethics as Anthropological Problems (0470695811) cover image
Provides an exciting approach to some of the most contentious issues in discussions around globalization—bioscientific research, neoliberalism, governance—from the perspective of the "anthropological" problems they pose; in other words, in terms of their implications for how individual and collective life is subject to technological, political, and ethical reflection and intervention.

  • Offers a ground-breaking approach to central debates about globalization with chapters written by leading scholars from across the social sciences.
  • Examines a range of phenomena that articulate broad structural transformations: technoscience, circuits of exchange, systems of governance, and regimes of ethics or values.
  • Investigates these phenomena from the perspective of the “anthropological” problems they pose.
  • Covers a broad range of geographical areas: Africa, the Middle East, East and South Asia, North America, South America, and Europe.
  • Grapples with a number of empirical problems of popular and academic interest — from the organ trade, to accountancy, to pharmaceutical research, to neoliberal reform.
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Notes on Contributors.

Acknowledgments.

Part I: Introduction.

1. Global Assemblages, Anthropological Problems. (Stephen J. Collier and Aihwa Ong).

2. On Regimes of Living. (Stephen J. Collier and Andrew Lakoff).

3. Midst Anthropology's Problems. (Paul Rabinow).

Part II: Bioscience And Biological Life.

Ethics of Technoscientific Objects.

4. Stem Cells R Us: Emergent Life Forms and the Global Biological. (Sarah Franklin).

5. Operability, Bioavailability, and Exception. (Lawrence Cohen).

6. The Iceland Controversy: Reflections on the Transnational Market of Civic Virtue. (Gísli Pálsson and Paul Rabinow).

Value and Values.

7. Time, Money, and Biodiversity. (Geoffrey Bowker).

8. Antiretroviral Globalism, Biopolitics, and Therapeutic Citizenship. (Vinh-Kim Nguyen).

9. The Last Commodity: Post-Human Ethics and the Global Traffic in "Fresh" Organs. (Nancy Scheper-Hughes).

Part III: Social Technologies And Disciplines.

Standards.

10. Standards and Person-Making in East Central Europe. (Elizabeth Dunn).

11. The Private Life of Numbers: Audit Firms and the Government of Expertise in Post-Welfare Argentina. (Andrew Lakoff).

12. Implementing Empirical Knowledge in Anthropology and Islamic Accountancy. (Bill Maurer).

Practices of Calculating Selves.

13. Cultures of Expertise and the Management of Globalization. Toward the Re-functioning of Ethnography. (Douglas Holmes and George Marcus).

14. The Discipline of Speculators. (Kate Zaloom).

15. Cultures on the Brink: Re-engineering the Soul of Capitalism - on a Global Scale. (Kris Olds and Nigel Thrift).

Managing Uncertainty.

16. Heterarchies of Value: Distributing Intelligence and Organizing Diversity in a New Media Startup. (Monique Girard and David Stark).

17. Failure as an Endpoint. (Hirokazu Miyazaki and Annelise Riles).

Part IV: Governmentality And Politics.

Governing Populations.

18. Ecologies of Expertise. Asian Governmentality in the Knowledge Society. (Aihwa Ong).

19. Globalization and Population Governance in China. (Susan Greenhalgh).

20. Budgets and Biopolitics. (Stephen J. Collier).

Security, Legitimacy, Justice.

21. State and Urban Space in Brazil: From Modernist Planning to Democratic Interventions. (Theresa Caldeira and Jim Holston).

22. The Garrison-Entrepôt: A Mode of Governing in the Chad Basin. (Janet Roitman).

Citizenship and Ethics.

23. Biological Citizenship. (Nikolas Rose and Carlos Novas).

24. Robust Knowledge and Fragile Futures. (Marilyn Strathern).

Index.

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Aihwa Ong is Professor of Anthropology and Southeast Asian Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.


Stephen J. Collier is a faculty member at the Graduate Program in International Affairs, The New School University.

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  • Offers a ground-breaking approach to central debates about globalization with chapters written by leading scholars from across the social sciences.
  • Examines a range of phenomena that articulate broad structural transformations: technoscience, circuits of exchange, systems of governance, and regimes of ethics or values.
  • Investigates these phenomena from the perspective of the “anthropological” problems they pose.
  • Covers a broad range of geographical areas: Africa, the Middle East, East and South Asia, North America, South America, and Europe.
  • Grapples with a number of empirical problems of popular and academic interest — from the organ trade, to accountancy, to pharmaceutical research, to neoliberal reform.
See More
“This compelling book demonstrates how a very sophisticated anthropological perspective can transform ‘globalization’ into a useful tool for investigating emerging social forms and ways of ruling and living. Certainly this non-structural approach is needed—one that attends to the specificity of combinations, interactions, sites, and effects associated with the spread of technology and risk.”

Ulrich Beck, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München


Global Assemblages provides excellent and rich insight into a developing anthropology of the contemporary world. The intertwining of violence, capital flows, political fragmentation, and regimes of social and moral control are investigated here in what must be recognized as a major contribution to anthropological scholarship.”

Jonathan Friedman, L’ École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, Paris and Lund University, Sweden


“This volume will give assemblages of many types a good name—the authors are astute, varied, and at the top of their game; the geographies do justice to the notion of global; and the book has a core intellectual inquiry about reflexive practices that holds together its wide-ranging essays. From transplanted kidneys to research audit protocols, the uneasy interrelationships of global assemblages emerge in the fleshy details of a knotted world.”

Donna Haraway, University of California, Santa Cruz

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