[First paragraph]Capitalism: An Ethnographic Approach. DANIEL MILLER. Oxford: Berg, 1997. x + 357 pp. (Cloth £39.00, Paper £17.99)Women, Labour and Politics in Trinidad and Tobago: A History. RHODA E. REDDOCK. London: Zed, 1994. vi + 346 pp. (Cloth £39.95, Paper £15.95)Despite the underdeveloped state of the scholarship on its admittedly short sugar plantation slavery period, we now have a corpus of studies on various aspects of capitalism in Trinidad - from its historical advent (Sebastien 1978) to its twentieth-century manifestation in the petroleum sector (Seers 1964; Sandoval 1983), and from the ethnic structure of labor markets (Camejo 1971; Harewood 1971) and the role of capitalism in racial/ethnic inequality (Henry 1993; Coppin & Olsen 1998) to the way ethnicity affects business, big (Button 1981; Parris 1985; Centre for Ethnic Studies 1993) and small (Ryan & Barclay 1992; Griffith 1997), and the way ethnicity and gender are used in class recruitment (Yelvington 1995). There are also a number of fine working-class histories (e.g., Rennie 1973; Ramdin 1982; Basdeo 1983) and important works on the labor riots and strikes and the nature of the colonial state during the crises of the 1930s (e.g., Thomas 1987; Singh 1994). The two books under review here complement the works mentioned above, and they complement each other as well: Reddock's deals with the way capitalism up to the mid-century was buttressed by colonial politics, and explores how this formation engendered certain kinds of political responses, while Miller approaches capitalism through the assumption that fundamental changes in the post-Oil Boom period (ca. 1973-80) brought about considerable autonomy between production and consumption that can and should now be read through an analysis of the cultural circulation of images and commodities in the society. These books are both noteworthy because they engage in explicit theorizing on what capitalism was and is, and what it did and does.
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