Daily Archives: April 8, 2016

Book Review: Carbonella and Kasmir, In Blood and Fire: Toward a Global Anthropology of Labor

by Eva Schwab

The informal sector in the economy has been rising recently from a concept that designated marginal forms of labor occurring in Third World cities – that grew in the 1970s without formal growth and created a from Western perspective atypical ‘Third World unemployment’ (cf. Hart 2009) – to one designating flexibilized, temporary or quasi-self-employed work in the neoliberal era in cities around the world. The volume at hand provides six ethnographies from cities in Spain, India, Poland, Columbia, and US that use dispossession as analytical lens to conceptually frame these processes, which they call the multiplication of labor (informal, criminalized, military, child labor etc.) emerging through programs of structural adjustment, penalization, military and paramilitary violence in both North and South (East and West). Looking at the multiple processes by which once negotiated protections are successively removed and collective resources are privatized – not as separate processes dispersed in time and space, but actually intertwining – the authors effectively question the North-South divide so prominent in labor analysis. However, as I will argue below, through the focus on a certain form of dispossession of workers, which worldwide reorganizes the allegedly well-known divisions between forced (slave) and skilled labor, male (productive) and female (reproductive) work, between dependent wageless poor lumpen and those who can offer their labor as free and equal subjects on the market in exchange for monetary wage, they fail to reformulate the relation between wage and politics that assumed a particular form under Fordist production, but has undergone changes since then.

UK | The media is ignoring France’s mass protests, but their spirit is spreading

In France, there is currently a growing movement of anger at the government of President François Hollande. People’s assemblies have been organised, and city squares have been occupied. This spirit is now spreading to other cities in Europe. And Britain could be next.

Sweden | World military spending resumes upward course, says SIPRI

World military expenditure totalled almost $1.7 trillion in 2015, an increase of 1 per cent in real terms from 2014, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The data is being released to coincide with the start of the Stockholm Forum on Security and Development.