Individually and collectively, by bringing the insights of anthropology to bear on Iceland, the native and foreign authors of this volume carry Iceland into the realm of modern anthropology, advancing our understanding of the island's people and the practice of anthropology.
Uncertain Times is the first book to use this crucial comparative, ethnographic approach for understanding the new rules of the global labor struggle and the power workers have to change those rules. The volume will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, sociology of work, and labor studies; labor union leadership; and others interested in developing innovative methods for organizing working people, fomenting class consciousness, and expanding social movements.
Contributors: Alpkan Birelma, Emma Braden, Maria Eugenia de la O, Christopher Kelley, Staffan Löfving, Gadi Nissim, Darcy Pan, Steven Payne, Alicia Reigada, Julia Soul, Manos Spyridakis, Christian Zlolniski
Union-organized workplaces consistently afford workers higher wages and better pensions, benefits, and health coverage than their nonunion counterparts. In addition, women and minorities who belong to unions are more likely to receive higher wages and benefits than their nonunion peers. Given the economic advantages of union membership, one might expect to see higher rates of organization across industries, but labor affiliation is at an all-time low. What accounts for this discrepancy?
The contributors in this volume provide a variety of perspectives on this paradox, including discussions of approaches to and findings on the histories, cultures, and practices of organized labor. They also address substantive issues such as race, class, gender, age, generation, ethnicity, health and safety concerns, corporate co-optation of unions, and the cultural context of union-management relationships.
The first to bring together anthropological case studies of labor unions, this volume will appeal to cultural anthropologists, social scientists, sociologists, and those interested in labor studies and labor movements.
Chapters from anthropologists, sociologists, historians, economists, and key local participants focus on the neoliberal policies—mainly the privatization of banks and fishery resources—that concentrated wealth among a select few, skewed the distribution of capital in a way that Iceland had never experienced before, and plunged the country into a full-scale economic crisis. Gambling Debt significantly raises the level of understanding and debate on the issues relevant to financial crises, painting a portrait of the meltdown from many points of view—from bankers to schoolchildren, from fishers in coastal villages to the urban poor and immigrants, and from artists to philosophers and other intellectuals.
This book is for anyone interested in financial troubles and neoliberal politics as well as students and scholars of anthropology, sociology, economics, philosophy, political science, business, and ethics.
Publication supported in part by the National Science Foundation.
Vilhjálmur Árnason, Ásmundur Ásmundsson, Jón Gunnar Bernburg, James Carrier, Sigurlína Davíðsdóttir, Dimitra Doukas, Níels Einarsson, Einar Mar Guðmundsson, Tinna Grétarsdóttir, Birna Gunnlaugsdóttir, Guðný S. Guðbjörnsdóttir, Pamela Joan Innes, Guðni Th. Jóhannesson, Örn D. Jónsson, Hannes Lárusson, Kristín Loftsdóttir, James Maguire, Már Wolfgang Mixa, Evelyn Pinkerton, Hulda Proppé, James G. Rice, Rögnvaldur J. Sæmundsson, Unnur Dís Skaptadóttir, Margaret Willson
Five central ideas unify the collection: the objective basis for class in different social orders; people's understanding of class in relation to race and gender; the relation of ideologies of class to realities of class; the U.S. managerial middle-class denial of class and emphasis on meritocracy in relation to increasing economic insecurity; and personal responses to economic insecurity and their political implications.
Anthropologists who want to understand the nature and dynamics of culture must also understand the nature and dynamics of class. The Anthropological Study of Class and Consciousness addresses the role of the concept of class as an analytical construct in anthropology and how it relates to culture. Although issues of social hierarchy have been studied in anthropology, class has not often been considered as a central element. Yet a better understanding of its role in shaping culture, consciousness, and people's awareness of their social and natural world would in turn lead to better understanding of major trends in social evolution as well as contemporary society. This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of anthropology, labor studies, ethnohistory, and sociology.
The authors call into question the assumptions of policy prescriptions to common resource problems by examining the experiences of people and societies confronted with and adapting to these resource appropriation, allocation, and distribution problems. They suggest that tragedies of resource depletion and institutional failure to deal with them are not characteristic of human nature, but rather are by products of particular cultural practices, institutions, and assumptions. The detailed, empirical ethnographic study of these relationships holds great potential for informing those who are making future policy decisions as well as contributing to the theories of human behavior and cooperation to solve such problems.