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Crisis of the State: War and Social Upheaval

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Crisis of the State

War and Social Upheaval

Edited by Bruce Kapferer and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

338 pages, 6 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-84545-583-5 $135.00/£99.00 Hb Published (April 2009)

ISBN  978-0-85745-653-3 $34.95/£27.95 Pb Published (June 2012)

eISBN 978-1-84545-909-3 eBook

Hb Pb View cartYour country: United States - Click here to remove geolocation   Buy the eBook! $34.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


The variety of the essays and empirical cases demonstrate clearly the necessity of careful analysis of local situations and provide strong arguments for avoiding the overemphasis of singular explanations, such as those based on human rights…Because of its theoretical sophistication as well as empirical force the volume deserves a careful reading.  ·  Helsinki Review of Global Governance

“…this volume…provides rich theoretical and empirical inputs for discussions of some of the most important current issues concerning the state, globalization, and the use of violence.  ·  Anthropos


Analyzing both historical contexts and geographical locations, this volume explores the continuous reformation of state power and its potential in situations of violent conflict. The state, otherwise understood as an abstract and transcendent concept in many works on globalization in political philosophy, is instead located and analyzed here as an embedded part of lived reality. This relationship to the state is exposed as an integral factor to the formation of the social – whether in Africa, the Middle East, South America or the United States. Through the examination of these particular empirical settings of war or war-like situations, the book further argues for the continued importance of the state in shifting social and political circumstances. In doing so, the authors provide a critical contribution to debates within a broad spectrum of fields that are concerned with the future of the state, the nature of sovereignty, and globalization.

Bruce Kapferer is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Bergen. He has held academic positions in Zambia, Manchester, Adelaide, London and Queensland and carried out extensive fieldwork in Zambia, Sri Lanka, India, Australia and South Africa. His major publications include The Feast of the Sorcerer (University of Chicago Press) and Legends of People, Myths of State (Smithsonian Institution Press).

Bjørn Enge Bertelsen is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Bergen University. His fieldwork focuses on Mozambique, on violence, war, history, sovereignty and the postcolonial state. His publications include "'It Will Rain until We Are in Power’: Floods, Elections and Memory in Mozambique" in Rights and the Politics of Recognition in Africa (Zed Books).

Other Bruce Kapferer titles published by Berghahn Books:
Beyond Rationalism: Rethinking Magic, Witchcraft and Sorcery
The World Trade Center and Global Crisis: Some Critical Perspectives
State, Sovereignty, War: Civil Violence in Emerging Global Realities
The Retreat of the Social: The Rise and Rise of Reductionism
Oligarchs and Oligopolies: New Formations of Global Power
Aesthetics in Performance: Formations of Symbolic Construction and Experience, co-edited with Angela Hobart
Subject: Anthropology (General) Political and Economic Anthropology



Introduction: The Crisis of Power and Reformations of the State in Globalizing Realities
Bruce Kapferer and Bjørn Enge Bertelsen


Chapter 1. The Military Industrial Complex and the U.S. Empire
June Nash

Chapter 2. Post-Soviet Formation of the Russian State and the War in Chechnya. Chaotic Form of Sovereignty
Jakob Rigi

Chapter 3. Market Forces, Political Violence and War. The End of Nation-states, the Rise of Ethnic and Global Sovereignties?
Caroline Ifeka


Chapter 4. Rebel Ravages in Bundibugyo, Uganda’s Forgotten District
Kirsten Alnaes

Chapter 5. The Fear of the Midnight Knock. State Sovereignty and Internal Enemies in Uganda
Sverker Finnström

Chapter 6. Scales of Confrontations, or the Pastoral Staff
Frode Storaas


Chapter 7. The Sovereign as Savage. The Pathos of Ethno-nationalist Passion
Christopher Taylor

Chapter 8. The Paramilitary Function of Transparency in Latin America and Beyond
Staffan Löfving

Chapter 9. Sorcery and Death Squads. Transformations of State, Sovereignty and Violence in Postcolonial Mozambique
Bjørn Enge Bertelsen

Chapter 10. Collective Violence and Counter State-building. Algeria 1954-1962
Rasmus Boserup

Chapter 11. Malignant Organisms. Continuities of State-run Violence in Rural Liberia
Mats Utas

Chapter 12. Israel’s Wall and the Logic of Encystation. Sovereign Exception or Wild Sovereignty?
Glenn Bowman

Notes on contributors

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