It speaks for culture, customary law, and the collective rights of indigenous peoples. Also for the authority of chiefs who, as a power bloc, seek to change the national constitution. Their objective is a nation-state that accords them sovereign autonomy over their realms, a nation-state that puts the dictates of indigeneity before the universal rights of citizens. According to Business Day, Contralesa had decided to move ethnicity into the global market place: it was creating a corporation to investin mining, forestry, industry and tourism, that archetypical site for the commodification of culture. Since then, Contralesa has become a truly cosmopolitan concern, a multi-million dollar business with interests carefully diversified across the planetary economy.
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Through a wide-ranging exploration of the changing relationship between culture and the market, they address a pressing question: Wherein lies the future of ethnicity? Their account begins in South Africa, with the incorporation of an ethno-business in venture capital by a group of traditional African chiefs. 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. 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. Read more Collapse About the author John L. Comaroff is the Harold W. Jean Comaroff is the Bernard E. Both are honorary professors at the University of Cape Town.
Together they have coauthored or coedited numerous books, including Of Revelation and Revolution, volumes 1 and 2, Ethnography and the Historical Imagination, Millennial Capitalism and the Culture of Neoliberalism, and Law and Disorder in the Postcolony. Read more.