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THE SOCIAL LIFE OF ACHIEVEMENT

Edited by Nicholas J. Long and Henrietta Moore

248 pages, 7 illus. & tables, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78238-220-1 $95.00/£60.00 Hb Published (November 2013)

eISBN 978-1-78238-221-8 eBook $95.00/£60.00 Published


Hb eBook
 

"We measure our lives in terms of success without questioning what it actually means to achieve it. The essays in this groundbreaking book show that what we perceive as achievement is highly influenced by culture and that... for some people coming close to a desired goal can be rather traumatic. This compilation of highly original essays truly achieves in presenting a radically new view on the term that has dominated public discourse in today's society, but the meaning of which we too often take for granted."  ·  Renata Salecl, Birkbeck College, University of London

What happens when people “achieve”? Why do reactions to “achievement” vary so profoundly? And how might an anthropological study of achievement and its consequences allow us to develop a more nuanced model of the motivated agency that operates in the social world? These questions lie at the heart of this volume. Drawing on research from Southeast Asia, Europe, the United States, and Latin America, this collection develops an innovative framework for explaining achievement’s multiple effects—one which brings together cutting-edge theoretical insights into politics, psychology, ethics, materiality, aurality, embodiment, affect and narrative. In doing so, the volume advances a new agenda for the study of achievement within anthropology, emphasizing the significance of achievement as a moment of cultural invention, and the complexity of “the achiever” as a subject position.

Nicholas J. Long is an Assistant Professor in Anthropology at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is the co-editor of Southeast Asian Perspectives on Power (Routledge, 2012) and Sociality: New Directions (Berghahn Books, 2013), and author of the monograph Being Malay in Indonesia: Histories, Hopes and Citizenship in the Riau Archipelago (NUS/NIAS/University of Hawai’i Press, forthcoming).

Henrietta L. Moore is the William Wyse Chair of Social Anthropology at the University of Cambridge. She is the co-editor of Understanding Global Sexualities (Routledge, 2012) and Sociality: New Directions (Berghahn Books, 2013). Her most recent monograph is Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions (Polity Press, 2011).

Series: Volume 2, WYSE Series in Social Anthropology


LC: BF503.S63 2013

BL: GRC SPIS302

BISAC: SOC002010 SOCIAL SCIENCE/Anthropology/Cultural; PSY031000 PSYCHOLOGY/Social Psychology

BIC: JHMC Social & cultural anthropology, ethnography; JMH Social, group or collective psychology



Contents

List of illustrations
Acknowledgements

Introduction: Achievement and Its Social Life
Nicholas J. Long & Henrietta L. Moore

Chapter 1. The Achievement of a Life, a List, a Line
Kathleen Stewart

Chapter 2. Against the Odds: A Professional Gambler’s Narrative of Achievement
Rebecca Cassidy

Chapter 3. Men of Sound Reputation: The Passionate Aurality of Achievement in Guyanese Birdsport
Laura H. Mentore

Chapter 4. Political Dimensions of Achievement Psychology: Perspectives on Selfhood, Confidence and Policy from a New Indonesian Province
Nicholas J. Long 

Chapter 5. Directive and Definitive Knowledge: Experiencing Achievement in a Thai Meditation Monastery
Joanna Cook

Chaqpter 6. Autism and Affordances of Achievement: Narrative Genres and Parenting Practices
Olga Solomon

Chapter 7. Achievement and Private Equity in the UK: A Game of Abstraction, Sociality and Making Money
Sarah F. Green

Chapter 8. For Family, State, and Nation: Achieving Cosmopolitan Modernity in Late-Socialist Vietnam
Susan Bayly

Chapter 9. Practicing Responsibilisation: The Unwritten Curriculum for Achievement in an American Suburb
Peter Demerath

Chapter 10. Competing to Lose: (Black) Female School Success as Pyrrhic Victory
Signithia Fordham

Notes on Contributors
Index

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