Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion and Desire

Front Cover
AK Press, 2007 - Political Science - 433 pages
12 Reviews

"If anthropology consists of making the apparently wild thought of others logically compelling in their own cultural settings and intellectually revealing of the human condition, then David Graeber is the consummate anthropologist. Not only does he accomplish this profound feat, he redoubles it by the critical task—now more urgent than ever—of making the possibilities of other people's worlds the basis for understanding our own." —Marshall Sahlins, University of Chicago
"Graeber's ideas are rich and wide-ranging; he pushes us to expand the boundaries of what we admit to be possible, or even thinkable."—Steven Shaviro, Wayne State University

In this collection, David Graeber revisits questions raised in his popular book, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology. Written in an unpretentious style that uses accessible and entertaining language to convey complex theoretical ideas, these twelve essays cover a lot of ground, including the origins of capitalism, the history of European table manners, love potions in rural Madagascar, and the phenomenology of giant puppets at street protests. But they're linked by a clear purpose: to explore the nature of social power and the forms that resistance to it have taken, or might take in the future.

Anarchism is currently undergoing a worldwide revival, in many ways replacing Marxism as the theoretical and moral center of new revolutionary social movements. It has, however, left little mark on the academy. While anarchists and other visionaries have turned to anthropology for ideas and inspiration, anthropologists are reluctant to enter into serious dialogue. David Graeber is not. These essays, spanning almost twenty years, show how scholarly concerns can be of use to radical social movements, and how the perspectives of such movements shed new light on debates within the academy.

 

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4
4 stars
6
3 stars
2
2 stars
0
1 star
0

Review: Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire

User Review  - Goodreads

The first part was great, but I got slowed up in the middle bit about Madagascar. At the end there is some ranting about giant puppets and direct action that I enjoyed. I wish AK press had double ... Read full review

Review: Possibilities: Essays on Hierarchy, Rebellion, and Desire

User Review  - Goodreads

This is an excellent book. I have read Debt: the first 5000 years by him too, which is also excellent. Read full review

Contents

Manners Deference and Private Property Or Elements for a General Theory of Hierarchy
13
The Very Idea of Consumption Desire Phantasms and the Aesthetics of Destruction from Medieval Times to the Present
57
Turning Modes of Production InsideOut Or Why Capitalism is a Transformation of Slavery short version
85
Fetishism as Social Creativity Or Fetishes are Gods in the Process of Construction
113
PROVISIONAL AUTONOMOUS ZONE DILEMMAS OF AUTHORITY IN RURAL MADAGASCAR
155
Provisional Autonomous Zone Or The GhostState in Madagascar
157
Dancing with Corpses Reconsidered An Interpretation of Famadihana in Arivonimamo Madagascar
181
Love Magic and Political Morality in Central Madagascar 18751990
223
Oppression
255
DIRECT ACTION DIRECT DEMOCRACY AND SOCIAL THEORY
299
The Twilight of Vanguardism
301
Social Theory as Science and Utopia Or Does the Prospect of a General Sociological Theory Still Mean Anything in an Age of Globalization?
313
There Never Was a West Or Democracy Emerges From the Spaces in Between
329
On the Phenomenology of Giant Puppets Broken Windows Imaginary Jars of Urine and the Cosmological Role of the Police in American Culture
375
Index
419
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2007)

David Graeber is an anthropologist and activist who currently teaches at the University of London and has been active in direct-action groups, including the Direct Action Network, People's Global Action, and Anti-Capitalist Convergence. He is the author of Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology, Towards an Anthropological Theory of Value, and Lost People: Magic and the Legacy of Slavery in Madagascar.

Bibliographic information