The Empire of Love
Toward a Theory of Intimacy, Genealogy, and Carnality
By (author) Elizabeth A. Povinelli
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Empire of Love by Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Book DescriptionIn The Empire of Love anthropologist Elizabeth A. Povinelli reflects on a set of ethical and normative claims about the governance of love, sociality, and the body that circulates in liberal settler colonies such as the United States and Australia. She boldly theorizes intimate relations as pivotal sites where liberal logics and aspirations absorbed through settler imperialism are manifest, where discourses of self-sovereignty, social constraint, and value converge. For more than twenty years, Povinelli has traveled to the social worlds of indigenous men and women living at Belyuen, a small community in the Northern Territory of Australia. More recently she has moved across communities of alternative progressive queer movements in the United States, particularly those who identify as radical faeries. In this book she traces how liberal binary concepts of individual freedom and social constraint influence understandings of intimacy in these two worlds. At the same time, she describes alternative models of social relations within each group in order to highlight modes of intimacy that transcend a reductive choice between freedom and constraint. Shifting focus away from identities toward the social matrices out of which identities and divisions emerge, Povinelli offers a framework for thinking through such issues as what counts as sexuality and which forms of intimate social relations result in the distribution of rights, recognition, and resources, and which do not. In The Empire of Love Povinelli calls for, and begins to formulate, a politics of "thick life," a way of representing social life nuanced enough to meet the density and variation of actual social worlds.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780822338895
(204mm x 140mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Duke University Press
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publish Date: 25-Aug-2006
Country of Publication: United States
Books By Author Elizabeth A. Povinelli
Economies of Abandonment, Paperback (November 2011)
This volume explores how contemporary governments, particularly in settler nations such as Australia and the United States, deflect social responsibility for the crushing harms experienced by communities living at the margins.
Cunning of Recognition, Paperback (July 2002)
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.
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 a Professor in the Department of Anthropology and the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Columbia University, where she is also Codirector of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture. She is the author of The Cunning of Recognition: Indigenous Alterities and the Making of Australian Multiculturalism, also published by Duke University Press. She is a former editor of the journal Public Culture.
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