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John Asimakopoulos

In The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste, John Asimakopoulos analyzes the political economy of the society of the spectacle, a philosophical concept developed by Guy Debord and Jean Baudrillard. Using the analytical tools of social science, while historicizing, Asimakopoulos reveals that all societies in every epoch have been and continue to be caste systems legitimized by various ideologies. He concludes there is no such thing as capitalism (or socialism)—only a caste system hidden behind capitalist ideology. Key features of the book include its broad interdisciplinary-nonsectarian approach with quantitative and qualitative data. The Political Economy of the Spectacle and Postmodern Caste is well written and clear, making it accessible to the informed reader.

Paul Robert Gilbert

In this article, I examine the relationship between the speculative projects embarked upon by young entrepreneurs and bankers in Dhaka during 2013, and the attempts made by analysts and nation-branding experts to present Bangladesh as a worthy “frontier” for speculative foreign investment. In order to induce others to speculate on their visions for Bangladesh, they variously positioned the nation via reference to the ratings imposed on it by credit rating agencies, the emergence of regional hegemons including members of the brics, and the apparent decline of “formerly” developed European nations. As purchasing power comes to mark a nation’s position within a hierarchical global market, nationhood comes to be recast as consumer-citizenship. The speculative imaginaries projected by these entrepreneurs, bankers and nation-branding experts have the capacity to both reinforce and rework the hierarchies into which “frontier” nations are routinely placed by analysts in global financial centres.

Antonio De Lauri

Adrienne Pine

In the late teens, the rise of racist, xenophobic nationalism in the United States and around the world has been frequently labeled fascist in popular discourse, and is being increasingly discussed as fascism by scholars as well. In this article, drawing on case studies from Honduras and the United States, I argue that—despite Orwell’s warning that the term has lost its meaning—anthropologists can still productively engage fascism as an analytical category. An anthropological engagement of contemporary fascism must help to elucidate the strong links between neoliberal capitalism and today’s global militarized nationalism. It also requires that anthropologists reframe our work as strategy, from a position of somatic (not pragmatic) solidarity with structurally vulnerable people everywhere.

Robert Borofsky and Antonio De Lauri

Public anthropology is a collective aspiration shaped by generally shared values and intentions within significant sections of social and cultural anthropology. The impetus behind the creation of the journal Public Anthropologist originates in this realm of ongoing discussions and actions inspired by the idea of pushing engagement and participation beyond academic borders. Given that the traditional triadic structure’s assessment standards and their financial and political backers are being reshaped by broader social forces beyond the academy and that the audit culture of accountability, that is replacing earlier standards, has significant problems, we need ask: Where do we go from here? In these changing times, how can anthropologists be more relevant to the broader society in the hope of escaping the worse aspects of the audit culture? We need raise our public profile, we need make clear to the larger society anthropology’s value in addressing the problems that concern them.

Catherine Besteman

The discourse of humanitarianism presumes that the resettlement of refugees into a space of permanent refuge by humanitarian organizations and host country governments represents the end of their experience of loss, displacement, and forced mobility. But many Black Muslim refugees in the u.s. inhabit a prism in which they are targets of misinformation, scrutiny, surveillance, and suspicion that refract gender, race, and faith through security panics. The refuge of resettlement, for the Black Muslim refugees discussed in this paper, is not something given; it is something made, by them, in difficult and even dangerous circumstances. Through a series of vignettes that illustrate the felt and lived effects of racism and surveillance at the gender/race/faith-security nexus on Somali refugees in Maine, the paper explores one context in which refuge is made.