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The Anthropology of the State: A Reader

Aradhana Sharma (Editor), Akhil Gupta (Editor)
ISBN: 978-1-4051-1468-4
424 pages
January 2006, Wiley-Blackwell
The Anthropology of the State: A Reader (1405114681) cover image
This innovative reader brings together classic theoretical texts and cutting-edge ethnographic analyses of specific state institutions, practices, and processes and outlines an anthropological framework for rethinking future study of “the state”.

  • Focuses on the institutions, spaces, ideas, practices, and representations that constitute the “state”.

  • Promotes cultural and transnational approaches to the subject.

  • Helps readers to make anthropological sense of the state as a cultural artifact, in the context of a neoliberalizing, transnational world.
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Acknowledgements.

Organization of the Book.

Introduction: Rethinking Theories of the State in an Age of Globalization.

Part I: Theoretical Maps: The "Classics".

Section Introduction.

1. Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses (Notes Towards an Investigation): Louis Althusser.

2. Selections from the Prison Notebooks: Antonio Gramsci.

3. Bureaucracy: Max Weber.

4. Notes on the Difficulty of Studying the State: Philip Abrams.

5. Governmentality: Michel Foucault.

6. Governing "Advanced" Liberal Democracies: Nikolas Rose.

Part II: Ethnographic Mappings.

Section I: Bureaucracy/Governmentality.

7. Finding the Man in the State: Wendy Brown.

8. Society, Economy, and the State Effect: Timothy Mitchell.

9. Blurred Boundaries: The Discourse of Corruption, the Culture of Politics, and the Imagined State: Akhil Gupta.

Section II: Development/Planning.

10. Cities, People, and Language: James Scott.

11. The Anti-Politics Machine: Jim Ferguson.

Section III: Welfare/Warfare/Law/Citizenship.

12. The Public/Private Mirage: Mapping Homes and Undomesticating Violence Work in the South Asian Immigrant Community: Ananya Bhattarcharjee.

13. Cultural Logics of Belonging and Movement: Transnationalism, Naturalization, and U.S. Immigration Politics: Susan Bibler Coutin.

14. Making War at Home in the United States: Militarization and the Current Crisis: Catherine Lutz.

Section IV: Popular Culture.

15. Popular Culture and the State: Stuart Hall.

16. The Banality of Power and the Aesthetics of Vulgarity in the Postcolony: Achille Mbembe.

Index
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Aradhana Sharma is Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Women’s Studies at Wesleyan University.


Akhil Gupta is Associate Professor of Cultural and Social Anthropology at Stanford University. His previous publications include Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science (ed. 1997), Culture, Power, Place: Explorations in Critical Anthropology (ed. 1997), Postcolonial Developments: Agriculture in the Making of Modern India (1998), and Caste and Outcast (ed. 2002).

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  • Combines classic theoretical texts with cutting edge anthropological works.

  • Focuses on the institutions, spaces, ideas, practices, and representations that constitute the “state”.

  • Promotes cultural and transnational approaches to the subject.

  • Helps readers to make anthropological sense of the state as a cultural artifact, in the context of a neoliberalizing, transnational world.
See More
"[This) volume's refreshing theoretical approach and range of empirical examples should make it a valuable teaching and reference book for all those concerned with the challenging questions posed by the state." Political Studies Review

“This is a nuanced, original framework for thinking about the state as a highly variable phenomenon of emergent world orders. With its expert selection of readings and comprehensive analysis, this volume is bound to become a standard reference and popular teaching tool.” George Marcus, University of California, Irvine


The Anthropology of the State will be an important resource for teaching and for introducing students to new questions in anthropology. This collection offers a nice balance of historical and contemporary writings and a lucid introduction that advances theoretical claims about the state with the help of ethnographic examples. Contemporary globalization and transnational systems that are redefining the functions of the state make this an opportune moment for a serious reexamination of the processes of governance.” Veena Das, Johns Hopkins University

“One key strength of the volume is its coherence and intertextuality…Recommended.” K. Brown, Brown University

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