Their account begins in South Africa, with the incorporation of an ethno-business in venture capital by a group of traditional African chiefs. But their horizons are global: Native American casinos; Scotland’s efforts to brand itself; a Zulu ethno-theme park named Shakaland; a world religion declared to be intellectual property; a chiefdom made into a global business by means of its platinum holdings; San “Bushmen” with patent rights potentially worth millions of dollars; nations acting as commercial enterprises; and the rapid growth of marketing firms that target specific ethnic populations are just some of the diverse examples that fall under the Comaroffs’ incisive scrutiny. These phenomena range from the disturbing through the intriguing to the absurd. Through them, the Comaroffs trace the contradictory effects of neoliberalism as it transforms identities and social being across the globe.
Ethnicity, Inc. is a penetrating account of the ways in which ethnic populations are remaking themselves in the image of the corporation—while corporations coopt ethnic practices to open up new markets and regimes of consumption. Intellectually rigorous but leavened with wit, this is a powerful, highly original portrayal of a new world being born in a tectonic collision of culture, capitalism, and identity.
Contributors. Scott Bradwell, Jean Comaroff, John L. Comaroff, Fernando Coronil, Peter Geschiere, David Harvey, Luiz Paulo Lima, Caitrin Lynch, Rosalind C. Morris, David G. Nicholls, Francis Nyamnjoh, Elizabeth A. Povinelli, Paul Ryer, Allan Sekula, Irene Stengs, Michael Storper, Seamus Walsh, Robert P. Weller, Hylton White, Melissa W. Wright, Jeffrey A. Zimmerman
Part One is by Isaac Schapera whose documentation of life and times in the Bechuanaland Protectorate stands as a starkly detailed chronical of an African population in a rapidly changing world. Schapera was one of the few anthropologists who spoke frankly of the rural predicament of rural Africans under colonialism. Far from describing the Tswana as a closed or timeless ‘society’, he locates the people in their political and economic context, and in so doing, has left behind an extraordinary record.
This edition of The Tswana consists of the original text to which has been added a second part by John L. Comaroff, which covers the transformation of Tswana life in Botswana and South Africa 1953-85, plus a much enlarged bibliography. Together, the parts of the book make a valuable summary of an exceedingly rich and ethnographic and historical record that will continue to serve as an indispensable tool in research and teaching.