Print page

Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra, Holden Fellow in Politics, St Catharine's College, University of Cambridge, UK and Bjørn Thomassen, Professor, Department of Social Sciences and Business, Roskilde University, Denmark
This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
Extent: 512 pp
Hardback Price: $290.00 Web: $261.00
Publication Date: 2018
ISBN: 978 1 78347 900 9
Availability: In Stock

Buy the E-Book @ paperback price

Join our mailing list

  • Politics and Public Policy
  • International Politics
  • Social Policy and Sociology
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory
This ground-breaking collection introduces readers to the fascinating research field of political anthropology. The chapters engage in major theoretical and methodological debates to provide interpretive frames, analytical tools and ethnographic illustrations for culturally based interpretations of political phenomena, revealing the intersection between anthropology, culture, politics and international relations.

Theoretical tools such as liminality, sacrifice, mimesis, ethics, trickster and interpretation of meaning provide understanding of key challenges in a globalised world. These include war zones, revolutions, migration, securitization, territorial borders, climate change and ethno-religious violence. The contributing authors focus on the ethnographies of power, political culture and forms of cultural intimacy in informal networks. Using self-critical and reflexive approaches, they show that disciplinary boundaries have been reshaped by changing meanings of power, including reconfigurations of state and sovereignty. With reflections on the potential and limits of political anthropology, this Handbook explores the art of understanding human interaction within political frameworks in a globalising world.

Offering a unique reference resource in the area with exceptional cross-disciplinary research, this Handbook will suit political, social and cultural anthropologists as well as scholars in comparative political analysis and social theory. Students and researchers of politics, anthropology and international relations will also benefit from the key methodological tools explaining the challenges and consequences of globalisation.
‘This wide-ranging collection challenges disciplinary boundaries to demonstrate the relevance of political anthropology to both old and new audiences. It offers refreshing takes on core anthropological themes and links classical theory to the quintessential questions of political life today in a compelling manner useful to diverse scholars, students, and practitioners.’
– Sara Shneiderman, University of British Columbia, Canada
Contributors: S. Coleman, J.-P. Daloz, G. de Anna, H. Donnan, T.H. Eriksen, R. Farneti, M. Fog Olwig, J. Gledhill, J. Gould, S. Haugbølle, A. Horvath, C. Illies, J. Kubik, N. Long, M. Mälksoo, K. Martin, M. Moodie, M. Nuijten, P. Rabinow, M. Rasaratnam, P. Raman, E. Ranta, A. Sanchez, D. Sausdal, A. Stavrianakis, F. Stepputat, A. Szakolczai, B. Thomassen, H. Vigh, H. Wydra


Introduction: the promise of political anthropology
Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

1. Recovering the classical foundations of political anthropology
Arpad Szakolczai

2. On the mimetic turn in the social sciences
Roberto Farneti

3. Charisma/trickster: on the twofold nature of power
Agnes Horvath

4. Contemporary political stakes: after-lives of the modern
Paul Rabinow and Anthony Stavrianakis

5. Political anthropology: biology, culture, and ethics
Gabriele De Anna and Christian Illies

6. Cultural intimacy and the politics of civility
Michael Herzfeld

7. Politics and the permanence of the sacred
Paul Dumouchel

8. Anthropology and the enigma of the state
Finn Stepputat and Monique Nuijten

9. Liminality and the politics of the transitional
Maria Mälksoo

10. The anthropology of political revolutions
Bjørn Thomassen

11. Comparative political analysis and the interpretation of meaning
Jean-Pascal Daloz

12. Anthropology and political ideology
Sune Haugbolle

13. Post-neoliberalism?
Keir Martin

14. The political and the religious: on the making of virtuous politics
Simon Coleman

15. The politics of development: anthropological perspectives
Jeremy Gould and Eija Ranta

16. Ethnographies of power
Jan Kubik

17. Postdemocracy and a politics of prefiguration
Nicholas J. Long

18. Feminist theory and reproduction
Megan Moodie

19. New war zones or evolving modes of insurgency warfare?
Morten Bøås

20. The political anthropology of borders and territory: European perspectives
Hastings Donnan, Bjørn Thomassen and Harald Wydra

21. The politics of movement and migration
Parvathi Raman

22. Security, securitization, desecuritization: how security produces insecurity
John Gledhill

23. Nature, politics, and climate change
Mette Fog Olwig

24. The fall and rise of class
Andrew Sanchez

25. The politics of ethno-religious violence
Madurika Rasaratnam

26. The anthropology of crime
Henrik Vigh and David Sausdal

27. Globalization
Thomas Hylland Eriksen