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WYSE Series in Social Anthropology
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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 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (November 2013)
ISBN 978-1-78533-215-9 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (April 2016)
eISBN 978-1-78238-221-8 eBook
“The Social Life of Achievement is a very interesting and engaging collection, made up of 10 essays covering a very wide range of social achievement. The purpose of the book is to explore some forms of achievement rather than define what achievement is, and in this it succeeds by being thought-provoking and inspiring.” • Social Analysis
“The range of ethnographic settings is dazzling… there is something here for everyone and a veritable cornucopia for the lover of ethnographic diversity.” • American Ethnologist
“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, 2013).
Henrietta L. Moore is Director of the Institute for Global Prosperity, University College London where she is also Chair of Culture, Philosophy and Design. Among her recent books is Still Life: Hopes, Desires and Satisfactions (Polity Press, 2011).
Subject: Anthropology (General) Sociology
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