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Surrender to the market : thoughts on anthropology, the body shop, and intellectuals

journal contribution
posted on 2003-04-01, 00:00 authored by Rohan BastinRohan Bastin
The direction of anthropology over the last century is tied to the shifts from colonialism to postcolonialism and from modernism to postmodernism. These shifts have seen the thoroughgoing incorporation of the world population into the economic, political and juridical domain established through the last throes of colonialism and the transmutations of capitalism and the State. Anthropology, a discipline whose history shows close and regular links with colonial government, also transforms in association with the world it describes and partly creates. Two dominant trends in contemporary anthropology--applied consultancy and historicist self-reflexivity--are compared for the ways they represent the transmutation, which is characterised, following Fredric Jameson as 'the surrender to the market'. In this way it is asserted that just as the discipline had hitherto revealed its links to colonialism, it now reveals its links to globalisation through a form of commodified self-obsession. To illustrate this quality the paper considers the global chain of cosmetics stores, The Body Shop, as an example of 'late capitalism' and the moral juridical framework of globalisation. Finally, it treats these developments in anthropology as more generally affecting intellectuals and knowledge production through the promotion of intellectual 'silence'.

History

Journal

The Australian journal of anthropology

Volume

14

Issue

1

Pagination

19 - 38

Publisher

Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Asia

Location

Richmond, Vic.

ISSN

1035-8811

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2003, EBSCO Publishing

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