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The Devil And Commodity Fetishism In South America

Author: Michael T. Taussig
Publisher: Univ of North Carolina Press
ISBN: 0807898414
Size: 41.36 MB
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In this classic book, Michael Taussig explores the social significance of the devil in the folklore of contemporary plantation workers and miners in South America. Grounding his analysis in Marxist theory, Taussig finds that the fetishization of evil, in the image of the devil, mediates the conflict between precapitalist and capitalist modes of objectifying the human condition. He links traditional narratives of the devil-pact, in which the soul is bartered for illusory or transitory power, with the way in which production in capitalist economies causes workers to become alienated from the commodities they produce. A new chapter for this anniversary edition features a discussion of Walter Benjamin and Georges Bataille that extends Taussig's ideas about the devil-pact metaphor.

The Magic Of The State

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1135249040
Size: 50.33 MB
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Set in the enchanted mountain of a spirit-queen presiding over an unnamed, postcolonial country, this ethnographic work of ficto-criticism recreates in written form the shrines by which the dead--notably the fetishized forms of Europe's Others, Indians and Blacks--generate the magical powers of the modern state.

Shamanism Colonialism And The Wild Man

Author: Michael T. Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226790138
Size: 61.16 MB
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Looks at the interaction between civilized and primitive people in Colombia, examines the role of the shaman, and discusses healing practices in the jungle

Beauty And The Beast

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 0226789853
Size: 76.12 MB
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Beauty and the Beast begins with the question: Is beauty destined to end in tragedy? Drawing on extensive fieldwork in Colombia, Michael Taussig scrutinizes the anxious, audacious, and sometimes destructive attempts people make to transform their bodies through cosmetic surgery and liposuction. He balances an examination of surgeries meant to enhance an individual’s beauty with an often overlooked counterpart, surgeries performed—often on high profile criminals—to disguise one’s identity. Situating this globally shared phenomenon within the economic, cultural, and political history of Colombia, Taussig links the country’s long civil war and its bodily mutilation and torture to the beauty industry at large, sketching Colombia as a country whose high aesthetic stakes make it a stage where some of the most important and problematic ideas about the body are played out. Central to Taussig’s examination is George Bataille’s notion of depense, or “wasting.” While depense is often used as a critique, Taussig also looks at the exuberance such squandering creates and its position as a driving economic force. Depense, he argues, is precisely what these procedures are all about, and the beast on the other side of beauty should not be dismissed as simple recompense. At once theoretical and colloquial, public and intimate, Beauty and the Beast is a true-to-place ethnography—written in Taussig’s trademark voice—that tells a thickly layered but always accessible story about the lengths to which people will go to be physically remade.

My Cocaine Museum

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226790152
Size: 72.96 MB
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In this book, a make-believe cocaine museum becomes a vantage point from which to assess the lives of Afro-Colombian gold miners drawn into the dangerous world of cocaine production in the rain forest of Colombia's Pacific Coast. Although modeled on the famous Gold Museum in Colombia's central bank, the Banco de la República, Taussig's museum is also a parody aimed at the museum's failure to acknowledge the African slaves who mined the country's wealth for almost four hundred years. Combining natural history with political history in a filmic, montage style, Taussig deploys the show-and-tell modality of a museum to engage with the inner life of heat, rain, stone, and swamp, no less than with the life of gold and cocaine. This effort to find a poetry of words becoming things is brought to a head by the explosive qualities of those sublime fetishes of evil beauty, gold and cocaine. At its core, Taussig's museum is about the lure of forbidden things, charged substances that transgress moral codes, the distinctions we use to make sense of the world, and above all the conventional way we write stories.

The Corn Wolf

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 022631099X
Size: 22.46 MB
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Collecting a decade of work from iconic anthropologist and writer Michael Taussig, The Corn Wolf pinpoints a moment of intellectual development for the master stylist, exemplifying the “nervous system” approach to writing and truth that has characterized his trajectory. Pressured by the permanent state of emergency that imbues our times, this approach marries storytelling with theory, thickening spiraling analysis with ethnography and putting the study of so-called primitive societies back on the anthropological agenda as a way of better understanding the sacred in everyday life. The leading figure of these projects is the corn wolf, whom Wittgenstein used in his fierce polemic on Frazer’s Golden Bough. For just as the corn wolf slips through the magic of language in fields of danger and disaster, so we are emboldened to take on the widespread culture of academic—or what he deems “agribusiness”—writing, which strips ethnography from its capacity to surprise and connect with other worlds, whether peasant farmers in Colombia, Palestinians in Israel, protestors in Zuccotti Park, or eccentric yet fundamental aspects of our condition such as animism, humming, or the acceleration of time. A glance at the chapter titles—such as “The Stories Things Tell” or “Iconoclasm Dictionary”—along with his zany drawings, testifies to the resonant sensibility of these works, which lope like the corn wolf through the boundaries of writing and understanding.

Walter Benjamin S Grave

Author: Michael Taussig
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
ISBN: 9780226790008
Size: 38.20 MB
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In September 1940, Walter Benjamin committed suicide in Port Bou on the Spanish-French border when it appeared that he and his travelling partners would be denied passage into Spain in their attempt to escape the Nazis. In 2002, one of anthropology’s—and indeed today’s—most distinctive writers, Michael Taussig, visited Benjamin’s grave in Port Bou. The result is “Walter Benjamin’s Grave,” a moving essay about the cemetery, eyewitness accounts of Benjamin’s border travails, and the circumstances of his demise. It is the most recent of eight revelatory essays collected in this volume of the same name. “Looking over these essays written over the past decade,” writes Taussig, “I think what they share is a love of muted and defective storytelling as a form of analysis. Strange love indeed; love of the wound, love of the last gasp.” Although thematically these essays run the gamut—covering the monument and graveyard at Port Bou, discussions of peasant poetry in Colombia, a pact with the devil, the peculiarities of a shaman’s body, transgression, the disappearance of the sea, New York City cops, and the relationship between flowers and violence—each shares Taussig’s highly individual brand of storytelling, one that depends on a deep appreciation of objects and things as a way to retrieve even deeper philosophical and anthropological meanings. Whether he finds himself in Australia, Colombia, Manhattan, or Spain, in the midst of a book or a beach, whether talking to friends or staring at a monument, Taussig makes clear through these marvelous essays that materialist knowledge offers a crucial alternative to the increasingly abstract, globalized, homogenized, and digitized world we inhabit. Pursuing an adventure that is part ethnography, part autobiography, and part cultural criticism refracted through the object that is Walter Benjamin’s grave, Taussig, with this collection, provides his own literary memorial to the twentieth century’s greatest cultural critic.

Karl Marx Anthropologist

Author: Thomas C. Patterson
Publisher: Berg
ISBN: 184788542X
Size: 11.20 MB
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After being widely rejected in the late 20th century the work of Karl Marx is now being reassessed by many theorists and activists. Karl Marx, Anthropologist explores how this most influential of modern thinkers is still highly relevant for Anthropology today. Marx was profoundly influenced by critical Enlightenment thought. He believed that humans were social individuals that simultaneously satisfied and forged their needs in the contexts of historically particular social relations and created cultures. Marx continually refined the empirical, philosophical, and practical dimensions of his anthropology throughout his lifetime. Assessing key concepts, from the differences between class-based and classless societies to the roles of exploitation, alienation and domination in the making of social individuals, Karl Marx, Anthropologist is an essential guide to Marx's anthropological thought for the 21st century.

We Eat The Mines And The Mines Eat Us

Author: June C. Nash
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 9780231080514
Size: 44.76 MB
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In this powerful anthropological study of a Bolivian tin mining town, Nash explores the influence of modern industrialization on the traditional culture of Quechua-and-Aymara-speaking Indians.

Defacement

Author: Michael T. Taussig
Publisher: Stanford University Press
ISBN: 9780804732000
Size: 32.13 MB
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Defacement asks what happens when something precious is despoiled. In specifying the human face as the ideal type for thinking through such violation, this book raises the issue of secrecy as the depth that seems to surface with the tearing of surface.