The Cunning of Recognition
Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism
By (author) Elizabeth A. Povinelli
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Cunning of Recognition by Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Book DescriptionThe Cunning of Recognition is an exploration of liberal multiculturalism from the perspective of Australian indigenous social life. Elizabeth A. Povinelli argues that the multicultural legacy of colonialism perpetuates unequal systems of power, not by demanding that colonized subjects identify with their colonizers but by demanding that they identify with an impossible standard of authentic traditional culture. Povinelli draws on seventeen years of ethnographic research among northwest coast indigenous people and her own experience participating in land claims, as well as on public records, legal debates, and anthropological archives to examine how multicultural forms of recognition work to reinforce liberal regimes rather than to open them up to a true cultural democracy. The Cunning of Recognition argues that the inequity of liberal forms of multiculturalism arises not from its weak ethical commitment to difference but from its strongest vision of a new national cohesion. In the end, Australia is revealed as an exemplary site for studying the social effects of the liberal multicultural imaginary: much earlier than the United States and in response to very different geopolitical conditions, Australian nationalism renounced the ideal of a unitary European tradition and embraced cultural and social diversity. While addressing larger theoretical debates in critical anthropology, political theory, cultural studies, and liberal theory, The Cunning of Recognition demonstrates that the impact of the globalization of liberal forms of government can only be truly understood by examining its concrete-and not just philosophical-effects on the world.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780822328681
(5983mm x 3971mm x 22mm)
Imprint: Duke University Press
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2002
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Empire of Love, Paperback (August 2006)
Anthropologist Elizabeth A. Povinelli theorizes intimate relations as sites which bring into view the interplay between liberalism's contradictory ideals of freedom and constraint.
Labor's Lot, Paperback (January 1994)» View all books by Elizabeth A. Povinelli
A study of the Belyuen community of northern Australia, showing how it draws identity from deep connections between labour, language and the landscape. Povinelli's findings challenge Western notions of "productive labour" and long-standing ideas about the role of culture in subsistence economies.
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Author Biography - Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Elizabeth A. Povinelli is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Labor's Lot: The Power, History, and Culture of Aboriginal Action and the editor of the journal Public Culture, also published by Duke University Press.
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