Popular anthropology has recently questioned assumptions about the role of farming in the emergence of the bureaucratic state and the inevitable connection between inequality and urban life. But while it is important to challenge doctrines of civilizational development, their origins must also be examined if conventional knowledge and its blind spots are not to be reproduced.
For all their importance, human rights have become ineffectual in the face of market fundamentalism, writes historian Samuel Moyn. In order to confront material inequality, human rights must overcome their individualist and anti-statist origins.
Shocked liberals have cast Trump as an ideological novelty appealing to a new electoral majority: the white working class. This overlooks his conventionality and mistakes rhetoric for reality, argues Michael Kinnucan.
Brave new world?
Britain’s imperial cultural residue has always expressed itself through reluctance about Europe, coupled with an obsession with the idea of British international leadership. With Brexit, Britain’s ‘go-it-alone’ syndrome has returned with a vengeance, writes Anne Deighton.
Anarchism, work and bureaucracy
‘On a deep, cultural level, people actually believe that if you don’t do something that at least mildly frustrates you, then your work is not valuable.’ Anthropologist, activist and bestselling anarchist David Graeber on the police state, bullshit jobs and why people need no telling that capitalism is bad.