The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital

The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital

Post-Contemporary Interventions

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Book Pages: 608 Illustrations: Published: November 1997

Editor(s): Lisa Lowe, David Lloyd

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

Global in scope, but refusing a familiar totalizing theoretical framework, the essays in The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital demonstrate how localized and resistant social practices—including anticolonial and feminist struggles, peasant revolts, labor organizing, and various cultural movements—challenge contemporary capitalism as a highly differentiated mode of production.
Reworking Marxist critique, these essays on Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, and Europe advance a new understanding of "cultural politics" within the context of transnational neocolonial capitalism. This perspective contributes to an overall critique of traditional approaches to modernity, development, and linear liberal narratives of culture, history, and democratic institutions. It also frames a set of alternative social practices that allows for connections to be made between feminist politics among immigrant women in Britain, women of color in the United States, and Muslim women in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, and Canada; the work of subaltern studies in India, the Philippines, and Mexico; and antiracist social movements in North and South America, the Caribbean, and Europe. These connections displace modes of opposition traditionally defined in relation to the modern state and enable a rethinking of political practice in the era of global capitalism.

Contributors. Tani E. Barlow, Nandi Bhatia, Dipesh Chakrabarty, Chungmoo Choi, Clara Connolly, Angela Davis, Arturo Escobar, Grant Farred, Homa Hoodfar, Reynaldo C. Ileto, George Lipsitz, David Lloyd, Lisa Lowe, Martin F. Manalansan IV, Aihwa Ong, Pragna Patel, José Rabasa, Maria Josefina Saldaña-Portillo, Jaqueline Urla


“[T]he volume raises interesting and important questions. It could provide the basis of some lively debates in a graduate course on postmodern forms of struggle as well as for discussions of the role of culture in the struggle for a new utopia.” — Michael Woost, American Anthropologist

“Arresting and illuminating essays. . . . Lowe and Lloyd tell us that the book aims to show how the contradictions of transnational capitalism are expressed in cultural conflicts. They . . . deploy a neo-Marxian perspective in which the cultural differences of the modern world are viewed as manifestations of the economic and political contradictions of capitalism. They repudiate any narrowly class-based analysis of contemporary capitalism and attack the theory that it is producing a thoroughly homogenized and commodified global culture. . . . The purpose of The Politics of Culture in the Shadow of Capital is to assemble evidence of these struggles and show how they embody singular responses to common dilemmas.” — John Gray, TLS

“The essays in this volume . . . are of a consistent quality rare in collaborative volumes. They contribute to the wider movement in academia highlighting the limitations and implications of linear, traditional narratives of modernity, development, culture, and democracy.” — William Cummings , Journal of World History

“This important collection of essays marks a turning point for radical cultural theory and its critical applications in the age of global capitalism . . . . [A]ny politically engaged future efforts in cultural theory will first have to look to this collection for innovative models engaging with the alternative modernities being constructed in the ‘shadow’ of global capital.” — Alex Benchimol , Thesis Eleven

“Lowe and Lloyd bring together studies on contemporary histories and cultures from all over the world to show where and how they defy or escape prevailing theories, whether liberal, Marxist, or postmodern. The emphasis on the diverse and the singular is a welcome corrective to the globalizing pretensions of much recent theorization.” — Partha Chatterjee, Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta

"This powerful collection renders a most difficult and welcome service: it makes clear the means by which particular culturally-situated struggles remake ‘the global.’ It shows us that the terrain on which economic and political contradictions are fought is culture; that antiracist and feminist struggles remake our understanding of materialist analysis; and that traversing the globe demands theoretical transportation in multiple directions." — Wahneema Lubiano, Duke University


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Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Lisa Lowe is Samuel Knight Professor of American Studies at Yale University and author of Immigrant Acts, published by Duke University Press.

David Lloyd is Hartley Burr Alexander Chair in the Humanities at Scripps College, Claremont and author of Anomalous States, also published by Duke University Press.

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2046-3 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2033-3
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