Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order

Transparency and Conspiracy: Ethnographies of Suspicion in the New World Order

by Harry G. West
     
 

ISBN-10: 0822330245

ISBN-13: 9780822330240

Pub. Date: 04/17/2003

Publisher: Duke University Press Books

Transparency has, in recent years, become a watchword for good governance. Policymakers and analysts alike evaluate political and economic institutions—courts, corporations, nation-states—according to the transparency of their operating procedures. With the dawn of the New World Order and the “mutual veil dropping” of the post–Cold War

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Overview

Transparency has, in recent years, become a watchword for good governance. Policymakers and analysts alike evaluate political and economic institutions—courts, corporations, nation-states—according to the transparency of their operating procedures. With the dawn of the New World Order and the “mutual veil dropping” of the post–Cold War era, many have asserted that power in our contemporary world is more transparent than ever. Yet from the perspective of the relatively less privileged, the operation of power often appears opaque and unpredictable. Through vivid ethnographic analyses, Transparency and Conspiracy examines a vast range of expressions of the popular suspicion of power—including forms of shamanism, sorcery, conspiracy theory, and urban legends—illuminating them as ways of making sense of the world in the midst of tumultuous and uneven processes of modernization.

In this collection leading anthropologists reveal the variations and commonalities in conspiratorial thinking or occult cosmologies around the globe—in Korea, Tanzania, Mozambique, New York City, Indonesia, Mongolia, Nigeria, and Orange County, California. The contributors chronicle how people express profound suspicions of the United Nations, the state, political parties, police, courts, international financial institutions, banks, traders and shopkeepers, media, churches, intellectuals, and the wealthy. Rather than focusing on the veracity of these convictions, Transparency and Conspiracy investigates who believes what and why. It makes a compelling argument against the dismissal of conspiracy theories and occult cosmologies as antimodern, irrational oversimplifications, showing how these beliefs render the world more complex by calling attention to its contradictions and proposing alternative ways of understanding it.

Contributors.
Misty Bastian, Karen McCarthy Brown, Jean Comaroff, John Comaroff, Susan Harding, Daniel Hellinger, Caroline Humphrey, Laurel Kendall, Todd Sanders, Albert Schrauwers, Kathleen Stewart, Harry G. West

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780822330240
Publisher:
Duke University Press Books
Publication date:
04/17/2003
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
328
Product dimensions:
6.13(w) x 9.25(h) x (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Power Revealed and Concealed in the New World Order / Todd Sanders and Harry G. West 1

1. Gods, Markets, and the IMF in the Korean Spirit World / Laurel Kendall 38

2. "Diabolic Realities": Narratives of Conspiracy, Transparency, and "Ritual Murder" in the Nigerian Popular Print and Electronic Media / Misty L. Bastian 65

3. "Who Rules Us Now?" Identity Tokens, Sorcery, and Other Metaphors in the 1994 Mozambican Elections / Harry G. West 92

4. Through a Glass Darkly: Charity, Conspiracy, and Power in New Order Indonesia / Albert Schrauwers 125

5. Invisible Hands and Visible Goods: Revealed and Concealed Economies in Millennial Tanzania / Todd Sanders 148

6. Stalin and the Blue Elephant: Paranoia and Complicity in Post-Communist Metahistories / Caroline Humphrey 175

7. Paranoia, Conspiracy, and Hegemony in American Politics / Daniel Hellinger 204

8. Making Wanga: Reality Constructions and the Magical Manipulation of Power / Karen McCarthy Brown 233

9. Anxieties of Influence: Conspiracy Theory and Therapeutic Culture in Millennial America / Susan Harding and Kathleen Stewart 258

Transparent Fictions; or, The Conspiracies of a Liberal Imagination: An Afterword / Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff 287

Contributors 301

Index 305

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