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: Cultural Anthropology, Vol. 7, No. 1, Space, Identity, and the Politics of Difference (Feb., 1992), pp. 6-23 Published by: Wiley on behalf of the American Anthropological Association Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/656518 . Accessed: 04/04/2013 08:39
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renewed interest in theorizing space in postmodernistand feminist theory (Anzaldua 1987. disjunction. there has been surprisinglylittle self-consciousness about the issue of space in anthropological theory. whose criticalfunctionis seen to lie in its juxtapositionof radicallydifferentways of being (located "elsewhere") with that of the anthropologists'own. and of between culturesand societies. Baudrillard 1988. 1988]. and the Politics of Difference Akhil Gupta Departmentof Anthropology StanfordUniversity James Ferguson Departmentof Anthropology Universityof California. images division of space. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . simulacra. the idea of "culconceptsin anthropology turaldifference.panopticism. Malkki. For example. 1989].and identity. postmodernhyperandmarginality-forces us to reevaluatesuch centralanalytic space. on tions. It is so taken for grantedthateach countryembodies its own distinctivecultureand society that the terms "society" and "culture" are routinely simply appendedto the names 6 This content downloaded from 130. rupture. sees it as an inherentlyfragmentedspace. each "rooted" in its properplace (cf. by extension.whose romancehas rested on its explorationof the remote("the most otherof others" [Hannerz1986:363]).deterritorialization.180 on Thu.community.culture." as in most world maps.121. divided by differentcolors into diverse nationalsocieties. Foucault 1982. Martinand Mohanty 1986)-embodied in such notions as surveillance. break. along with some necessarilyrelatedconcernssuch as those of location. Jameson 1984. the representation contradiction the world as a collection of "countries. this issue). (Some notableexceptions areAppadurai Rosaldo [1988.Beyond "Culture": Space. we wish to explorehow the displacement. andculturesis based upon a seemingly unproblematic the fact thatthey occupy "naturally"discontinuousspaces.209. conflict. Deleuze and Guattari1987. as thatof "culture" and. usually Western. a modest articles attemptto deal with the issues of space ethnographic represents andplace. In particular. The premise of discontinuityforms the startingpoint from which to theorize contact. borderlands.Irvine Fora subjectwhose centralriteof passage is fieldwork." of space in the social sciences are remarkably dependenton Representations naof distinctiveness The and of societies.) This collection of five and Hannerz [1986. . Kaplan 1987. Identity.
It is in this way that space functions as a centralorganizingprinciple in the social sciences at the same time that it disappearsfrom analyticalpurview. have ideas about culture-areas that overlap several nation-states. there is the importantquestion of postcoloniality. they fail to interrogate this assumptionin a trulyfundamental manner.or of multicultural nations. even when used to describeculturaldifferencesin settings where people from differentregions live side by side. there are those who cross bordersmore or less permanently-immigrants. and societal organizationare inscribed." or Thailandto experience "Thai culture.' Although such concepts are suggestive because they endeavorto stretchthe naturalizedassociation of culturewith place. "the Nuer" live in "Nuerland" and so forth. What is "the culture" of farmworkerswho spend half a year in Mexico and half a year in the United States? Finally. there is the issue of those who inhabitthe border. This assumedisomorphismof space. perhaps.The fiction of culturesas discrete." Of course.121." or the United States to get a whiff of "Americanculture.BEYOND "CULTURE" 7 of nation-states. We do.180 on Thu.Relatedto borderinhabitants arethose who live a life of bordercrossings-migrant workers. A second set of problems raised by the implicit mapping of cultures onto places is to accountfor culturaldifferences withina locality. and expatriates. "Multiculturalism" is both a feeble acknowledgmentof the fact thatcultureshave lost theirmoorings in definite places and an attemptto subsume this pluralityof cultureswithin the frameworkof a nationalidentity. To which places do the hybrid cultures of postcoloniality belong? Does the colonial encounter create a "new culture" in both the colonized and colonizing country. Conventionalaccountsof ethnicity. place. exiles. or does it This content downloaded from 130. and cultures. Similarly. First. The clearest illustrationof this kind of to display the spatial thinkingarethe classic "ethnographicmaps" thatpurported distributionof peoples. rely on an unproblematiclink between identity and place. tribes.209. space itself becomes a kind of neutralgrid on which culturaldifference. the geographicalterritories thatculturesandsocieties arebelieved to map onto do not have to be nations.nomads.as when a touristvisits Indiato understand "Indianculture" and "Indiansociety. the disjunctureof place and cultureis especially clear: Khmerrefugees in the United States take "Khmer culture" with them in the same complicated way that Indian immigrantsin Englandtransport"Indianculture" to their new homeland. object-like phenomenaoccupying discrete spaces becomes implausiblefor those who inhabitthe borderlands. Third. that "narrowstripalong steep edges" (Anzaldua 1987:3) of nationalboundaries. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .In their case.We need to ask how to deal with culturaldifferencewhile abandoning received ideas of (localized) culture. and cultureresults in some significantproblems. refugees. historicalmemory.are our disciplinaryassumptionsaboutthe associationof culturallyunitarygroups (tribes or peoples) with "their" territories:thus. for example. On a smallerscale. the idea of "subcultures" attempts to preservethe idea of distinct "cultures" while acknowledgingthe relation of differentculturesto a dominantculture within the same geographicaland territorialspace. But in all these cases. and membersof the transnational business and professionalelite.
Yet. Colonialism. it fails to examine sufficiently the processes of feeling that pervadethe imagining of community)that (such as the structures into the construction of space as place or locality in the firstinstance. which is thenviolatedby global capitalism. we can see that the identity of a place emerges by the intersectionof its specific involvementin a system of hierarchicallyorganizedspaces with its culturalconstructionas a communityor locality. or an expandingcapitalism.let us examine one powerful model of culturalchange that attemptsto relatedialecticallythe local to largerspatialarenas:articulation. capitalism. The inherentlyfragmentedspace assumedin the definitionof anthropologyas the study of cultures(in the plural) may have been one of the reasons behind the long-standingfailure to write anthropology'shistory as the biographyof imperialism. we can betterunderstand a distinctiveidentityas a place. representsthe displacementof one form of interconnection by another. where explore richly loss occurs alongside invention. by taking a preexisting." posit primeval autonomy(usually "precapitalist"). we need out of the interconnected to examinehow it was formedas a community space that always already existed.does indeedhave profoundlydislocatingeffects on existing societies. Keeping in mind that notions of locality or communityrefer both to a demarcatedphysical space and to clusters of interaction.209. whetherthey come from Marxist structuralism or from "moral labeled a state of economy. then culturaland social change becomes not a matterof culturalcontactand articulation but one of rethinkingdifferencethroughconnection. postcoloniality furtherproblematizesthe relationshipbetween space and culture.This notion of articulation necessarilyin a predetermined colonial the unintended of. In other go words.Articulation models. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .emphasizingextremelylarge productionfacilities. andmost important.instead of naturallydisconnected. The that spaces are autonomoushas enabledthe power of topographyto presumption conceal successfully the topographyof power.The resultis thatboth local and larger spatialarenasare transformed. then. This is not to deny that colonialism.180 on Thu. It is for this reasonthat what Jameson(1984) has dubbed "postmodernhyperspace" has so fundamentallychallenged the convenient fiction that mapped culturesonto places and peoples. challengingthe ruptured landscapeof independent nations and autonomous cultures raises the question of understandingsocial as situatedwithin interconnected change and culturaltransformation spaces. localized "community" as a given startingpoint.the local more than the global to be sure. a Fordistregime of accumulation. Last. To illustrate. but not allows one to direction. In the capitalistWest.For if one begins with the premise that spaces have always been hierarchicallyinterconnected. But by always foregroundingthe spatial distributionof hierarchical the process whereby a space achieves power relations.121. consequences say. combined to create urban "communities" whose outlines were most clearly visible in companytowns (Davis 1984.8 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY destabilizethe notion that nations and culturesare isomorphic?As discussed below. and the welfare state. a relatively stable work force. Harvey This content downloaded from 130. insteadof assuming the autonomyof the primevalcommunity.
The apparent ritorialization of identity that accompanies such processes has made Clifford's question(1988:275) a key one for recent anthropologicalinquiry:"What does it mean.rapidshifts in productlines. the "laws" of the marketto encouragethe international flow of capital."'Multilateral agencies andpowerful Westernstatespreached. the industrial productionof culture. tion-statesof the postcolonial "ThirdWorld. . migrants. while nationalimmigration policies ensuredthat there would be no free (i.121. Imagined Places People have undoubtedlyalways been more mobile and identities less fixed thanthe static and typologizing approachesof classical anthropologywould suggest.displaced and stateless peoples-these are perhapsthe first to live out these realities in their most This content downloaded from 130. It is this that forces us to the politics of community. of a 'native land'? What processes ratherthan essences are involved in present experiences of cultural identity?" Such questionsareof course not wholly new. .Refugees. Something like a transnational public sphere has certainlyrendered any strictlyboundedsense of communityor locality obsolete.solidarity.209.and where necessarymilitarilyenforced.when more and more of us live in what Said (1979:18) has called "a generalized condition of homelessness.180 on Thu. ploited cheap independentnaprimarygoods. anarchic. Fordistpatternsof accumulationhave now been replaced by a regime of flexible accumulation-characterizedby small-batchproduction. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . At the same time. The counterpart the of the United under multinational States. it has enabled the creationof forms of solidarityand identity that do not rest on an appropriation of space where contiguity and face-to-face contact are paramount. and of fermentin anthropological detertheory.disruptive)flow of labor to the high-wage islands in the capitalistcore. if not wholly deterritorialized. labor of and the the raw materials." a world where identities are increasinglycoming to be. In the pulverized space of postmodernity. to speak . At the same time. entertainment. extremely fast movementsof capitalto exploit the smallestdifferentialsin laborandraw material costs-built on a more sophisticatedcommunicationsand informationnetwork and bettermeans of transporting goods and people. steadily exleadership corporations.. paradoxically. at least differentlyterritorialized.and leisure that first achieved somethingapproaching global distribution duringthe Fordistera led. the rapidly expanding and quickening mobility of people combines with the refusal of culturalproductsand practicesto "stay put" to give a roots. Mandel 1975). but issues of collective identity today do seem to take on a special character.BEYOND "CULTURE" 9 of this in the international arenawas that 1989. at the end of the twentieth century.to the invention of new forms of culturaldifference and new forms of imagining community. of an erosion of the culturaldistincprofoundsense of a loss of territorial tiveness of places.space has not become irrelevant:it has been reterritorialized in a way thatdoes not conformto the experience of space that characterized the era of high modernity.identity. Imagined Communities. and reconceptualize fundamentally culturaldifference.e. But today.
. I was broughtup with blacks. I'm just a broadperson. Tell me who I belong to? They criticize me. the culturalcertaintiesand fixities of the metropoleare upset as surely. . Asians. There is no England.. . as those of the colonized periphery. you name it . the good old England. man. . Bhabha 1989:66). transnationalculture flows. if not in the same way. That's the way I see it.internationalizedEnglandis just as complicatedand nearly as deterritorialized a notion as Palestinian-ness or Armenian-ness. .In this sense. . Consider. you know we was not born in Jamaica . . cease to be plausibly identifiableas spots on the map. In a world of diaspora. but the problem is more general. the following quote from a young white reggae fan in the ethnicallychaotic neighborhoodof Balsall Heathin Birmingham: there's no such thing as "England" any more . old-fashioned attemptsto map the globe as a set of cultureregions or homelandsare bewildered by a dazzlingarrayof postcolonialsimulacra. It is here that it becomes most visible how imagined communities (Anderson 1983) come to be attached to imagined places. in contemporary." for instance.half-Jamaican.for instance. welcome to India brothers!This is the Caribbean!. but there can be little doubt that the explosion of a culturallystable and unitary"England" into the cut-and-mix "here" of contemporary Balsall Heath is an example of a phenomenon that is real and spreading. who am I? .half-Pakistani. It's our right. Where "here" and "there" become blurredin this way. That's the way I deal with it. . who do I belong to? . Balsall Heathis the centerof the melting pot.familiarlines between "here" and "there. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." centerandperiphery.121." We were born here. .209.colony and metropolebecome blurred. [Hebdige 1987:158159] The broad-minded acceptanceof cosmopolitanismthat seems to be implied here is perhaps more the exception than the rule. is that as actual places and localities become ever more blurred and indeterminate. . Pakistanis.10 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY complete form.doublingsandredoublings. "Englishness. man. . ideas of culturally and ethnically distinct places become perhaps even more salient.half-Scottish." however persistentthey may be. everything. where do I belong? You know. Nigeria! . prerevolutionTehranrises fromthe ashes in Los Angeles. For even people remainingin familiarand ancestralplaces find the natureof their relationto place ineluctably changed.since "England" ("the real England") refers less to a boundedplace thanto an imaginedstate of being or moral location. and mass movements of populations. it is not only the displacedwho experiencea displacement(cf. . The earth is mine . This is what is coming..180 on Thu. and the illusion of a naturaland essential connectionbetween the place and the culturebroken. The irony of these times. however. But "cultures" and "peoples.as India and Pakistanapparently reappearin postcolonial simulationin London. half-Irish. 'cos all I ever see when I go out is half-Arab. In this culture-playof diaspora. we was not born in "England. and a thousandsimilarcultural dreamsare played out in urbanand ruralsettings all across the globe. . I know 'cos I am [half Scottish/halfIrish] . Alright.It is clear that the erosion of such supposedlynaturalconnections betweenpeoples and places has not led to the modernistspecterof global cultural homogenization(Clifford 1988). as displaced peoples cluster around remembered or imagined home- This content downloaded from 130. ..Africans..
This has long been true of immigrants. or communities in a world that seems increasinglyto deny such firm territorialized anchors in their actuality. is to politicize this uncontestableobservation. For places are always that have a logic of imaginedin the context of political-economicdeterminations their own. A second. however. important been imagined at a distance must become lived spaces.209.The more urgenttask. As tensions may arise when places that have Ferguson(this issue) shows.who (as Leonard  shows vividly) use memoryof place to constructimaginativelytheir new lived world. indeed. We need to give up naive ideas of communitiesas literalentities (cf. themselves must be situated within the highly spatializedterms of a global capitalisteconomy. The idea thatspace is made meaningfulis of course a familiarone to anthropologists. Territorialityis thus reinscribedat just the point it threatensto be erased. Moreover. we could say. left or right. how are spatial meanings established? Who has the power to make places of spaces? Who contests this? What is at stake? Such questions are particularly importantwhere the meaningfulassociation of places andpeoples is concerned.121. The partialerosion of spatiallyboundedsocial worlds and the growing role of the imaginationof places from a distance. Firstis what we will call the ethnologicalhabitof taking the associationof a culturallyunitarygroup (the "tribe" or "people") and "its" territoryas natural. though the relationto homelandmay be very differentlyconstructedin differentsettings (see Malkki.which is discussed in the previous section. Cohen 1985).As Malkki(this issue) shows. even in more completely deterritorialized times and settings-settings where "home" is not only distant. two naturalisms mustbe challengedhere. The set of issues surroundingthe of place and homelandby mobile and displacedpeople is addressed construction in differentways by a numberof the articles in this issue.BEYOND "CULTURE" 11 lands. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . this issue). between place and space.East or West. naturalismis what we will call the national habit of taking the associationof citizens of statesand theirterritoriesas natural.180 on Thu. The special challenge here is to use a focus on the way space is imagined (but not imaginary!) as a way to explore the processes throughwhich such conceptual processes of place making meet the changing global economic and political conditions of lived spaces-the relation. "Homeland" in this way remainsone of the most powerfulunifying symbols for mobile and displaced peoples. as Peters(1992) argues. and closely related.Herethe exemplary This content downloaded from 130. but remainsensitive to the profound "bifocality" that characterizeslocally lived lives in a globally interconnected world. inside or outside. there is hardly an older or better established anthropological truth. takenup by several articles in this issue. and the powerful role of place in the "near view" of lived experience (Peters 1992). moundor floodplain-from at least the time of Durkheim. Rememberedplaces have often served as symbolic anchors of community for dispersedpeople.Withmeaningmaking understoodas a practice.anthropologyhas known thatthe experienceof space is always socially constructed. places. but also where the very notion of "home" as a durablyfixed place is in doubt-aspects of our lives remainhighly "localized" in a social sense.
contexts. in anticolonial empowering revolutionswill probablybe struck Indeed. Herzfeld 1987. Both the ethnological and the nationalnaturalisms presentassociationsof people and place as solid. Discussions of nationalismmake it clear that states play a crucialrole in the links between popularpolitics of place making and in the creationof naturalized note that state and But it is to ideologies are far from important places peoples.and the Armenians. and agreedupon.) Borneman(this issue) presentsa case where state constructions of nationalterritoryare complicatedby a very particularsort of displacedivision andreformation of Germanyfollowing the Second ment. and so on. when they are in fact contested. the postwarGermanstates and their citterritory izens employedoppositionalstrategies. of course. showing both how specific constructionsof "homeland" have changed in response to political circumstancesand how a deeply felt relationto "the land" continuesto informand Bisharat'sarticleserves as inspirethe Palestinianstrugglefor self-determination. Hobsbawm and Ranger 1983.12 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY image is of the conventionalworld map of nation-states.Bisharat(1992) traces some of the ways in which the imaginingof place has played into the Palestinianstruggle. and it is clear that the very question of what is a "real American" is largely up for grabs. Anderson 1983. (See. of is the at which the being only point imagination place politicized.in the light nationalism's reactionaryconnotationsin often notions of home and "own place" have been of how the Westernworld. commonsensical. Bornemanargues. because we assume a naturalassociationof a understanding culture ("American culture"). Neither could their citizens rely on such appeals in constructing theirown identities. knows that not only Americanslive in America. Gupta (this issue) discusses the difficulties raised in attemptingto rally people aroundsuch a nonnationalcollectivity as the nonaligned This content downloaded from 130. Muchrecentwork in anthropologyand relatedfields has focused on the process throughwhich such reified and naturalizednationalrepresentations are constructed and maintained by states andnationalelites. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Even a casual observer. America is where the Americanslive. Wright 1985. But even anthropologistsstill talk of "American culture" with no clear of what that means. futureobserversof 20th-century of the difficulty formulatinglarge-scalepolitical movementswithoutreference by to nationalhomelands.180 on Thu.throughwhich schoolchildren are taught such deceptively simple-soundingbeliefs as that France is where the Frenchlive. Kapferer 1988. Handler 1988. the Eritreans. a people ("Americans"). Oppositional images of place have of course been extremely importantin anticolonialnationand sovereignty alist movements. uncertain. as well as in campaignsfor self-determination on the partof ethnic counter-nationssuch as the Hutu (Malkki. for instance. In forging nationalidentitiesestrangedin this way from both and culture.121. of often a useful reminder. this issue).ultimatelyresultingin versionsof the displaced and decenteredidentities that mark what is often called the postmodern condition. as the territorial WorldWarmadeunavailableto the two statesthe claims to a territorially circumscribedhome and culturallydelineatednationthat are usually so centralto establish legitimacy. and a place ("the United States of America").209.and in flux.
and Anthropological Representation Changingour conceptions of the relationbetween space and culturaldifference offers a new perspectiveon recent debates surrounding issues of anthropoand writing. how the durabilityof memoryand localized meaningsof sites and "modernibodies calls into questionthe very idea of a universal. One example of this is the way idealizednotionsof "the country" have been used in urbansettings to constructcritiquesof industrialcapitalism (cf.BEYOND "CULTURE" 13 movement. analysis shows meanings spaces both how specific factory locations acquiredmeanings over time and how these localizedspatialmeaningsconfoundedthe modernizing.this issue).209. As Marcus and Fischerput it. since. as in the contemporaryUnited States.and he points out that similar problems are raised by the proletarian internationalist movement." which often play into and complementantifeministidealizationsof "the home" and "family. Often enough. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Politics. The foundationof culturalcritique-a dialogic relationwith an "other" culturethatyields a critical viewpoint on "our own culture"-assumes an alreadydisexisting world of many different. it also seems to us that recent notions of "culturalcritique" (Marcus and Fischer 1986) depend on a spatialized understanding of culturaldifference thatneeds to be problematized. however. show clearly the importance of attaching causes to places and the ubiquityof place making in collective political mobilization. need not be nationalin scale. for Zambia. This is truenot only of explicitly nationalimages long associated with the Right.Ferguson. the goal is "to apply both the This content downloaded from 130. Class-based internationalism's or that of the U.S.). where "nowhere" [utopia] turnsout to be a specifically English "somewhere"). the associationof place with memory. and alism (as in the historyof the Second International. with this said." It must be noted thatsuch popularpolitics of place can as easily be conservative as progressive. distinct "cultures. Such place making. Williams 1973. but also of imagined locales and nostalgic settings such as "small-town America" or "the frontier. the purpose of culturalcritique is "to generate critical questions from one society to probe the other" (1986:117).R."2 Space. However.panopticdesigns of planners-indeed. this issue). loss.undifferentiated ty.121. "as generationsof Marxistsafter Marx found out.S. it is one thing to liberatea nation. The new attentionto representational logical representation practices has alreadyled to more sophisticatedunderstandings of processes of objectification and the constructionof other-nessin anthropological writing. and nostalgiaplays directlyinto the hands of reactionary popularmovements." and an unproblematic tinction between "our own society" and an "other" society.180 on Thu. to utopianismimaginedin local ratherthan universalterms (as in Morris'sNews from Nowhere . Rofel (this issue) gives anotherexample in her treatment of Chinese Her of the and local a history factory. in Britain. quite anotherto liberatethe workersof the tendencies to nationworld" (Gupta. Anothercase is the reworkingof ideas of "home" and "community" by feminists like Martin and Mohanty (1986) and Kaplan of the contested (1987).
" In all of this." "there. but "across cultures" and "between societies. We are interestedless in establishinga dialogic relationbetween geographicallydistinct societies than in exploringthe processes of productionof and differencein a worldof culturally. as ethnographybecomes." As an alternativeto this way of thinkingaboutculturaldifference.socially.121. the terms of the opposition ("here" and "there." too.180 on Thu. interdependent brief examinationof one text that has been highly praised within the "cultural critique"movement." The anthropological relation is not simply with people who are different. "the West. a link between an unproblematized "home" and "abroad." "us" and "them. perhapsagainstthe authors'intentions." andquesto problematize tion the radicalseparationbetween the two that makes the oppositionpossible in the firstplace." "the other" is subtlynativized-placed in a separate frameof analysis and "spatially incarcerated"(Appadurai1988) in that "other place" thatis properto an "other culture.bridgedat the initiationof the anthropological lematic is one of "contact": communicationnot within a sharedsocial and economic world. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . as we fear." then we must ask precisely who is to be includedand excluded from this club.209.14 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY substantiveresults and the epistemological lessons learned from ethnography abroadto a renewal of the critical function of anthropologyas it is pursuedin ethnographic projectsat home" (1986:112).for manyanthropologists-and perhapsespecially for displaced Third World scholars-the identity of "one's own society" is an open question. Nor is the problem solved simply by substitutingfor "our own society." Who is this "we"? If the answeris. A second problemwith the way culturaldifferencehas been conceptualized withinthe "culturalcritique" projectis that. MarcusandFischerare sensitive to the fact thatculturaldifferenceis present "here at home." "a different culture." Thereare a numberof problemswith this way of conceptualizingthe anthropological project." "our own" and "other" societies) are takenas received:the problem for anthropologistsis to use our encounterwith "them." "the ethnographer's own society. andhas been hailed in ethnographicwriting as a noteworthyexample of polyphonicexperimentation This content downloaded from 130. we want the unity of the "us" and the othernessof the "other. But the fundamentalconception of culturalcritiqueas a relationbetween "differentsocieties" ends up. the postcolonial world is an interconnected social space." "here. by a spaces. and that "the other" need not be exotic or far away to be other. inevitably. as above. once excluded from that privileged domain"our own society. a relation between "here" and "there." Culturalcritiqueassumes an original fieldworker.as for other natives." and thus." For ethnographers. andeconomically interconnected and can be illustrated The is difference fundamental. Perhapsthe most obvious is the question of the identityof the "we" thatkeeps coming up in phrasessuch as "ourselves" and "our own society. Shostak'sNisa: TheLife and Wordsof a !KungWoman(1981) has Marjorie beenvery widely admiredfor its innovativeuse of life history.spatializing culturaldifference in familiar ways. but with "a differentsociety." to constructa critiqueof "our own society.The probseparation.
but she is used principallyas the token of a type: "the !Kung.and isolated (1981:4). one might say. Again and again the narrative returnsto the theme of isolation:in a harshecological setting. traditional. He demonstratesthat Sanspeakingpeople have been in continuousinteractionwith othergroupsfor as long as we have evidence for."and "culturecontact" (1981:346)." and their traditionalvalue system "mostly intact" (1981:6). 1988:42. adaptation of violenceandintimidation? three centuries [Pratt 1986:49] Buteven Prattretainsthe notion of "the !Kung" as a preexistingontological entity-"survivors. in conwith a widernetworkof social relations. a way of life thousandsof years old has been preservedonly throughits extraordinary spatial separateness.in which the !Kungappearalmost as living on anotherplanet. But with respect to the issues we have discussed here. and it is only since the 1960s that the isolation of the !Kunghas reallybrokendown. work. The exoticizationimplicit in this portrait. adaptation atthemas survivors of capitalist anda delicate andcomplex to expansion. raisingfor the firsttime the issue of "change. only since the 1920s. and deeply flawed. The individual. Wilmsen shows how. having sufferedthe deadly process of "contact" with "us. Pratt 1986). "the Bushmen" came to be Bushmen. Pratthas rightlypointedout the "blazing contradiction"between the portrait of primalbeings untouchedby historyand the genocidal historyof the white "Bushmanconquest" (1986:48). pological task. is granteda degree of singularity. As she says. a land (as Wilmsen [1989:10] notes) with antiquitybut no history." racially distinct. What of the !Kung wouldonedrawif instead of defining themas survivors of picture thestoneageanda delicate andcomplex to theKalahari onelooked desert.Nisa. this landthattime forgot. the Kalaharidesert. Theirexperienceof "culturechange" is "still quiterecentand subtle. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . possibly even for thousandsof years" (Shostak 1981:6).of history.180 on Thu. is clearly radicallydifferent and separatefrom our own." and apparentlyprimordial"people. to listen to the voices of women. Nisa is a very conventional." The San-speaking !Kungof Botswana("the Bushmen" of old) are presentedas a distinct." A very differentandmuchmore illuminatingway of conceptualizingcultural differencein the region may be found in Wilmsen's devastatingrecentcritiqueof the anthropological cult of "the Bushman" (1989). "They" are victims. accordingto Shostak. Marcusand Fischer 1986:58-59. which might reveal "what theirlives had been like for generations.the differencethatShosstantinteraction tak takes as a startingpoint came to be produced in the first place-how. to enterinto as Shostak it. has drawn surprisinglylittle criticism from theorists of ethnography.BEYOND "CULTURE" 15 (Clifford 1986." not products(still less producers).209. "other." Shostak treats the Dobe !Kung as essentially survivals of a prior evolutionaryage: they are "one of the last remaining traditionalgatherer-hunter societies. The space the !Kunginhabit." "adaptation.The anthroconceives is to cross this spatialdivide.121. "Contact" with "other groups" of agriculturaland pastoralpeoples has occurred. thatpolitical and economic relationslinked the supposedly isolated Kalahariwith a regional political economy both in the colonial and This content downloaded from 130.
then. The move we are calling for. and thatif they give such an as an underclassin a wider social impression.theoutside-whatever mayhavebeenatany of disposandits reality of isolation Theappearance moment-wasalwayspresent. what is needed is a willingness to captureand orchestrate interrogate. and two centuries unfolded over that of a arerecent sessedpoverty products process era. but as a historicallyconstitutedand de-propertiedcategory systematicallyrelegated to the desert. not as "a people. To thoseinside. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions ." Wilmsen performsthe more radicaloperationof interrogatingthe "otherness" of the other. Where Shostak takes difference as given and concentrateson listening "across cultures.180 on Thu." "native" to the desert. Wilmsen demonstrates. is a consequence-not a cause-of the way they have been integratedinto the modem capitalisteconomies of Botswana and Namibia" (1989:12). not as end product.209." difference is taken as startingpoint.thatSan-speakingpeople have often held cattle. how can we use experience in one to commenton another?But if we questiona pre-givenworld of separateand set of discrete "peoples and cultures. Forthe proponents of "culturalcritique. traversed by economic andpoliticalrelations of inequality.occursin continuous. is more than a ready ear and a deft editorialhand to the voices of "others". Given a world of "different societies. This content downloaded from 130.politically and historically. and that "the culturalconservatism uniformly attributedto these people by almost all anthropologistswho have workedwith themuntilrecently. he shows that the "Bushman/San" label has been in existence for barelyhalf a century." and see instead a difference-producing relations.and others" (Wilmsen 1989:270). Wilmsen is unequivocal: it is notpossibleto speakof the Kalahari's isolation. is away from seeing cultural differenceas the correlateof a world of "peoples" whose separatehistorieswait to be bridgedby the anthropologistand towardseeing it as a productof a shared historicalprocessthatdifferentiatesthe world as it connects it. Moreover.connectedspace.121." for instance. and connected spaces-"the San.He arguespowerfullythat separation the Zhu (!Kung)have never been a classless society."it is because they are incorporated formationthatincludes Batswana.andthatno strict of pastoralists andforagerscan be sustained. by its own vastdisprotected there "outside" tances." they ask. the apparent"given" of a world in the firstplace divided into "ourselves" and "others. most generally.[1989:157] of thecolonial in thelastmoments culminated The process of the productionof culturaldifference. we turnfrom a projectof juxtaposingpreexistingdifferencesto one of exploringthe constructionof differences in historicalprocess. What is needed. the category having been producedthroughthe "retribalization" of the colonial period (1989:280).Ovaherero." A first step on this road is to move beyond naturalizedconceptions of spatialized "cultures" and to explore instead the production of difference within common. shared.16 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY precolonialeras. situatingthe productionof culturaldifference within the historical processes of a socially and spatially interconnected world. With respectto space.
and space opens the possibility of changingmorethanour texts.then the restrictionof immigrationbecomes visible as one of the main means through which the disempoweredare kept that way. The ability of people to confound the establishedspatial orders. with the politics of anthropological the U.for a greatdeal more involvement. the areaof immigrationand immigrationlaw is one practicalarea where the politics of space and the politics of othernesslink up very directly. operatof culturaldifference. with the political and organizing rights of immigrant of anthropological workers." of popularperceptions "foreigners" A certainunity of place and people has been long assumed in the anthropoand immigration logical concept of culture. as writerslike Clifford and Crapanzano sometimes seem to suggest.power./Mexico border."the native" is "spatially incarcerated"only in part. for poverty.for the culturaldistinctivenessthat the anthropologist attemptsto representhas always already been produced within a field of power relations. power does not enter the anthropological pictureonly at the momentof representation. either throughphysical movementor throughtheir own conceptualand political acts of re-imagination.S.209. it is acknowledgedthatculturaldifference is producedand maintainedin a field of power relations in a world always alreadyspatially interconnected.Textual strategiescan call attentionto the politics of but the issue of otherness itself is not really addressedby the derepresentation. changingthe way we thinkaboutthe relationsof culture. partand task of de-naturalparcelof a global system of domination. An anthropology This content downloaded from 130.then. Indeed. In this sense. In additionto (not insteadof!) textualexperimentation. uncontrolled understanding ing with a spatiallynaturalized to blur or may even appearas a dangerto anthropology.3If we accept a worldof originallyseparate and culturallydistinct places.180 on Thu. But anthropologicalrepresentations laws notwithstanding.andwith the appropriation concepts of "culture" and of law andthe "difference" into the repressiveideological apparatus immigration and "aliens. it is remarkable issues connected had have to say aboutthe contemporary political anthropologists with immigration in the United States.If. There is thus a politics of otherness that is not reducible to a politics of representation. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . on the other hand. means that space and place can never be "given. as it were. In this perspective. in this perspective. immigrationprohibitionsare a relatively minor matter. then the question of immigrationpolicy is just a question of how hard we should try to maintainthis original order. both theoreticaland practical." and that the process of their sociopolitical constructionmust always be considered. Thereis room. vices of polyphonictextual constructionor collaborationwith informant-writers.BEYOND "CULTURE" 17 In this perspective.Indeed.121.threatening immigration erasethe culturaldistinctivenessof places thatis our stock in trade.The anthropological izing culturaland spatialdivisions at this point links up with the political task of of the native" (Appadurai1988) combatinga very literal "spatial incarceration withineconomic spaces zoned. The enforced "difference" of places becomes. thereis a need to addressthe issue of "the West" and its "others" in a way that acknowledges the extra-textual roots of the problem. for instance. if the separatenessof separateplaces how little is not a naturalgiven but an anthropologicalproblem. For example.
questions"the imperialistandcolonialistnotionsof purityas much as it question[s]the nationalistnotions.arepothoseincommensurable contradictions through active.werenot the hybridities of cultural the boundaries influence.contested." "society. societies. In this sense.18 CULTURALANTHROPOLOGY whose objectsare no longerconceived as automaticallyand naturallyanchoredin attentionto the way spaces andplaces are made.to all forms of essentialism." and "nation. but an interstitialzone of displacementand deterthat shapes the identityof the hybridizedsubject. conceptualization Anotherpromisingdirection that takes us beyond culture as a spatially localized phenomenonis providedby the analysisof whatis variouslycalled "mass media.[1989:67] litically The borderlandsare just such a place of incommensurablecontradictions. Theplaceto speak sublated intosomeutopian senseof liberation withinwhichpeoplesurvive.121." It remainsto be seen what kind of politics are enabledby such a theorizationof hybridityand to what extent it can do away with all claims to authenticity. Bhabhapoints to the troublesome connectionbetween claims to purityand utopianteleology in describinghow he came to the realizationthat antheonlyplacein the worldto speakfromwas at a pointwhereby contradiction. it is no paradoxto say thatquestions of space and place are.180 on Thu." we do not presume to lay out a detailedblueprintfor an alternativeconceptualapparatus.as marginalzones. 1989). Rosaldo 1987. however. One extremelyrich vein has been tappedby those attemptingto theorize interstitialityand hybridity:in the postcolonial situation (Bhabha 1989. more centralto anthrothan ever. profoundlyinfluencingeven the remotest people that anthropologists have made such a fetish of studying. adaptivepolitics andculture"of hybridity.Rushdie1989). mass mediapose the clearestchallenge This content downloaded from 130. strategicor otherwise (see especially Radhakrishnan 1987). wish to point out some promisingdirectionsfor the future. in this deterritorialized age." "public culture.We do. cultures). 1988. Ratherthan disritorialization missing them as insignificant.) Existing symbioticallywith the commodity form. Hannerz 1987. pological representation Conclusion In suggesting the requestioningof the spatial assumptionsimplicit in the most fundamental and seemingly innocuousconcepts in the social sciences such as "culture. fromwas orreturn. Public Culture. this issue). and in the case of migrants and workers (Leonard 1992).andchange.Bhabhapoints out (1989:64).209." and the "culture industry. The "syncretic.for people living on culturalandnationalborders(Anzaldua 1987. space will need to pay particular imagined. tagonism. thin slivers of landbetween stais a more adequate ble places." "community. we want to contend that the notion of borderlands of the "normal" locale of the postmodernsubject. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .The termdoes not indicatea fixed topographicalsite between two other fixed locales (nations. for refugees and displaced peoples (Ghosh 1989." (Especially influential here has been the journal. Malkki. of nations. andenforced.
it does not have thatkind of fixable both politically and conceptually . television and radio programs. when the problemof culturaldifference is our- of the familiar thatit becomesmoreproblematic. books. However.too.leaving no room for the active creationby agents of disjuncturesand dislocationsbetween the flow of industrial commoditiesand culturalproducts. despite what is sometimes implied by This content downloaded from 130. clearly." whereas Ferguson (1990) proposes an idea of "cultural style." which searchesfor a logic of surface practices without necessarily mapping such practicesonto a "total way of life" encompassingvalues.and sometimes in a directionthatpromotesresistancerather thanconformity. [1989:72] has Why focus on that borderline?We have arguedthat deterritorialization destabilizedthe fixity of "ourselves" and "others. The productionand distribution of mass culture-films.newspapersand wire services. However.209. has its political subjects who are free-floating monads. others-as-ourselves." This is a yet largely unexplored and area. beliefs. selves-as-others. visibility. attitudes. we worry at least as much about the oppositedangerof celebratingthe inventivenessof those "consumers" of the culture industry(especially on the periphery)who fashion something quite differentout of productsmarketed to them. regional. As MartinandMohanty(1986:194) point out. and thus of evading the powcially the "totalizing" narrative erful political issues associated with Westernglobal hegemony. as in the usual concept of culture.121. The reconceptualization of space implicit in theories of interstitialityand public culture has led to efforts to conceptualize culturaldifference without invoking the orthodox idea of "culture. ." culturaldifferencebecomes a problemnot when you can point to the HottentotVenus. recordedmusic. live concertsis largely controlledby those notoriouslyplaceless organizations.. Recent work in cultural studieshas emphasizedthe dangersof reducingthe receptionof multinational culturalproductionto the passive act of consumption. or to the punkwhose hairis six feet up in the air. and village boundarieshave.The "public sphere" is thereforehardly "public" with respect to controlover the representations that are circulatedin it. We do. the existence of a transnationalpublic sphere means thatthe fiction that such boundariesenclose culturesand regulatecultural exchange can no longer be sustained. of course. We need to explore what Homi Bhabhacalls "the uncannyof culturaldifference. The dangerhere is the temptationto use scatteredexamples of the culturalflows dribblingfrom the "periphery" to the chief centers of the culture industryas a way of dismissing the "grand narrative"of capitalism (espeof late capitalism). find the clusteringof culturalpracticesthat underdeveloped do not "belong" to a particular"people" or to a definite place. sometimes quiteradically. reinterpreting andremakingthem.multinational corporations. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .It is as the strangeness thatborderline.BEYOND "CULTURE" 19 to orthodoxnotions of culture. indeterminacy.180 on Thu. et cetera. Jameson(1984) has attemptedto capturethe distinctivenessof these practices in the notion of a "culturaldominant. nevercontainedculturein the way thatanthropological representations have often implied. National." But it has not therebycreated those eager to celebratethe freedomandplayfulnessof the postmoderncondition.
209. This content downloaded from 130. organizedby Akhil Guptaand Lisa Rofel. concerned "Themes of Place and Locality in the Collective Identity of Mobile and Displaced Populations. 3Weare. 1991) on the politics of nostalgia and "native place-making" in Japan. dealt with "The Cultureand Politics of Space". Instead of stopping with the notion of deterritorialization. nationalismand sexuality.. organized by Liisa Malkki and James Ferguson.20 CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY limits. we need to theorize how space is being reterritorialized in the contemporary world. and who first put us in touch with each other. the pulverization of the space of high modernity. often with a important. and Rouse 1991). It was Arjun Appaduraiwho first suggested that the two themes might be brought together. Kearey 1986." which was writtenlater. for so long the only grid on which cultural difference could be mapped. Another example is Borneman(1986). Her acute article. and sexuality.Akhil Guptawould also like to thankLisa Rofel for co-organizingthe orighas inal paneland PurnimaMankekar. presentedat the 1988 meetings of the AmericanAnthropologicalAssociation in Phoenix. race.whose criticalreadingand commentarythroughout much to the project. and identity.121. of course. as we have suggested is culturalissues surrounding necessary. Yet thereremainsthe challenge of taking up the specifically the mappingof othernessonto space. which follow from the denial of the critic's own location in multiple fields of power. 1990. is thatof Mexicanimmigration Chavez 1991. One. For that. 4 Apr 2013 08:39:58 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . Bustamente1987. Notes This collection of articlesoriginallygrew out of two organizedsessions Acknowledgments. We commentsand imaginativediscussion contributedgreatly to this introductory are both gratefulto John Petersfor a helpful criticalreadingof the articleat a late stage. it seems to us that too much of this work remainsat the level of describing and documentingpatternsand trends of migration.However. We need to account sociologically for the fact that the "distance" between the rich in Bombay and the rich in London may be much shorter than that between different classes in "the same" city. place. Physical location and physical territory. which is noteworthyfor showing the specific links between immigrationlaw and homophobia. the other.180 on Thu. in the case of the Cuban"Marielito" immigrantsto the United States. Kearneyand Nagengast 1989." Earlyversionsof all of the articles in this collection were originallypresentedas papersin these panels.andoften strategicallyeffective policy science focus. with the exceptionof Gupta's"The Song of the Non-AlignedWorld. gender. (1987) and Radhakrishnan 2Seealso Robertson(1988. he has our thanks and appreciation. need to be replaced by multiple grids that enable us to see that connection and contiguity-more generally the representation of territory-vary considerably by factors such as class. One area where at least some anthropologistshave taken such issues seriously to the UnitedStates(e. aware that a considerableamountof recent work in anthropologyhas centeredon immigration.g. Alvarez 1987.James Fergusonwould like to acknowledgethe influence contributed of Liisa Malkki's thinkingin shapinghis ideas about space. Such work is undoubtedly in the formalpolitical arena. 'This is obviously not true of the "new ethnicity" literature. and are differentially available to those in different locations in the field of power.of texts such as Anzaldua (1987).
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