Abélès examines the new global politics, which assumes many forms and is enacted by diverse figures with varied sympathies: the officials at meetings of the WTO and the demonstrators outside them, celebrity activists, and online contributors to international charities. He makes an impassioned case that our accounts of globalization need to reckon with the preoccupations and affiliations now driving global politics. The Politics of Survival was first published in France in 2006. This English-language edition has been revised and includes a new preface.
Marc Abélès is a professor at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and he holds a research professorship at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. He is the author of numerous books, including Anthropologie de la globalisation, Le Spectacle du pouvoir, and Quiet Days in Burgundy: A Study of Local Politics.
It draws on ethnographic fieldwork carried out in the early 2000s in the highland region in the south of Poland, focusing on local knowledge about the state, power, politics, and democracy. It describes how rural social imaginaries translate categories derived from the organisation of life and work at the farm into ideas about politics. In this regard, the state is seen as a huge farm, the authorities as the farmer or manager, and the nation as the farmer’s family. Politics is perceived as a dishonest but profitable profession and democracy as a political system that could only work in the Garden of Eden.
In this highly anticipated revision, editors Barbara Norrander and Clyde Wilcox expose students to the substance and process of public opinion research in an accessible way. Capturing the diversity of this research with 12 essays—10 new to this edition and 2 fully updated—well-respected contributors highlight the many approaches social scientists use to explore public opinion while citing actual research and teasing out the political implications of their findings.
Understanding Public Opinion expands on important ideas that basic textbooks cover only briefly, such as public views of those on trial for terrorist acts, public attitudes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, and the rise and fall of public support for George W. Bush. Part introductions provide important thematic context, and a statistics primer in the appendix offers students a handy reference. More relevant and thought-provoking than ever, Understanding Public Opinion is the ideal supplement for any public opinion course.
Abélès observes that while interdependence and interconnection have become characteristic features of our globalized era, there is no indication that a concomitant evolution in thinking about political systems has occurred. The state remains the shield—for both the Right and the Left—against the turbulent effects of globalization. According to Abélès, we live in a geopolitical universe that, in many respects, reproduces alienating logics. His book, therefore, is a primer on how to see beyond the state. It is also a testament to anthropology’s centrality and importance in any analysis of the global human predicament. Thinking beyond the State will find wide application in anthropology, political science and philosophy courses dealing with the state and globalization.