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FocaalBlog is associated with Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology. It aims to accelerate and intensify anthropological conversations beyond what a regular academic journal can do, and to make them more widely, globally, and swiftly available.

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Conversations on the Left

  • David Bozzini: Gabriella Coleman on the ethnography of digital politics – part 2

    David Bozzini is a research fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is researching on Eritrean deserters movements and on the resistance to digital surveillance. He co-edits Tsantsa, the journal of the Swiss Ethnological Society. Gabriella Coleman is an anthropologist and holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University in… more...

  • David Bozzini: Gabriella Coleman on the ethnography of digital politics – part 1

    David Bozzini is a research fellow at the Graduate Center, CUNY, where he is researching on Eritrean deserters movements and on the resistance to digital surveillance. He co-edits Tsantsa, the journal of the Swiss Ethnological Society. Gabriella Coleman is an anthropologist and holds the Wolfe Chair in Scientific and Technological Literacy at McGill University in… more...

  • Zoltán Glück: Of politics and crowds: A conversation with Susan Buck-Morss

    This interview with Susan Buck-Morss took place at the City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate Center on May 12 2015. Buck-Morss is Distinguished Professor of Political Philosophy at the Graduate Center and has been a towering figure in continental theory since her publication of The Origin of Negative Dialectics in 1977. Her books include… more...

  • Ida Susser: From the underground resistance under Franco to Podemos, with Vicente Navarro

    Vicente Navarro is a leading analyst of the history and origins of the financial crisis in Spain (and Europe in general) and an economic adviser to Podemos. His book There Are Alternatives (Hay Alternativas: Propuestas para Crear Empleo y Bienestar Social en España), written with economists Juan Torres and Alberto Garzón, became an inspiration to… more...

  • Zoltán Glück: Archive of a Radical Geographer: Neil Smith’s Papers—An Interview with Don Mitchell

    In 2014, Don Mitchell was a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Advanced Research Collaborative, at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). His primary project during this time was to sort through the large collection of papers, files, clippings, and correspondences left behind by Neil Smith after his untimely death in… more...

  • Zoltán Glück: Focaal Interview with David Harvey – Part 2

    The Conversations on the Left project by Focaal opens its series with an interview with David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. David Harvey’s works have had a profound impact on the direction of leftist social science over the past four decades. A few months before this interview, in May 2013, an impressive… more...

  • Zoltán Glück: Focaal Interview with David Harvey – Part 1

    The Conversations on the Left project by Focaal opens its series with an interview with David Harvey, Distinguished Professor of Anthropology and Geography at the CUNY Graduate Center. David Harvey’s works have had a profound impact on the direction of leftist social science over the past four decades. A few months before this interview, in… more...

Features

Modes of Production

Try again, fail better?

Editors: Patrick Neveling & Joe Trapido

The mode of production (MoP) was an important term in the Marxist anthropology of the 1970s. Its origins can be traced to the diverse uses of the words by Marx himself, to elaborations on this by Louis Althusser and Étienne Balibar, and to contributions from various French Africanist scholars. It was part of a wider conceptual vocabulary—about “articulation,” “social reproduction,” and “social formations”—that underpinned a number of innovative works in history and anthropology.

During the heydays of MoP analyses, anthropologists looked at what happened when human communities and their specific relations of production were integrated into relations of production of higher scale, such as colonial/imperial formations and global systems.

This feature section emerged from a panel at the 2014 American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting in Washington, DC. The call for papers at the time proposed several further inroads for a reassessment and possible resurgence of the modes of production debate in anthropology. Among these were reconsiderations of forms of class struggle that depart from the classic bourgeois/proletarian divide, the relationship between production and reproduction, the (co-)existence of noncapitalist and capitalist modes of production within various social formations, and what analytical possibilities may emerge from an application of the modes of production angle to periodizations of recent capitalism as Keynesian/Fordist or neoliberal/post-Fordist. The editors of this feature section hope that someone, some day, may pick up some of these suggestions.

Contents