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China Inside Out

Pál Nyíri
Joana Breidenbach

Chapter 10. The Contemporary Intellectual Context of the China Inside Out Project

George E. Marcus

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1The conception of the China Inside Out project is shaped by an effort at a “take,” a set of observations, on the contemporary history of theory and intellectual fashion as it unfolds in certain interdisciplinary and reformed disciplinary arenas concerned with issues of culture, ideas, ideology, and the classic themes of qualitative social science. We are especially interested in the substantive effects of these tendencies on the practices of anthropologists, historians, and sociologists, among others—not only on research practices (particularly on the signature fieldwork-ethnography paradigm of anthropology), but also on the imaginaries (the current ideas, evoked images, moral stances) that inspire the shaping of research projects as well as on the rhetorics that justify the writings that are the product of research.

2We have therefore followed with considerable interest the recent pleas to reconceptualize area studies according to new influences defined largely by interdisciplinary critiques and initiatives from the 1980s (for which, for example, Writing Culture [Clifford and Marcus 1986] remains a strongly symbolic and evocative text). China Inside Out is an effort to enact a transformation of area studies in pedagogical text-making. It is an opportunity to examine how successfully a set of intellectual inspirations to see the world differently, so to speak, can change the older conventions of area studies—in this case, of China, a powerfully and essentially constructed object of Western social science (Shambaugh 1997). Here we offer some preliminary comments about the way that this project is framed and the way that it manages some of its key concepts and intellectual tendencies.

3Since about 1990, globalization has become the most generic macrosociological term and image for the present era, in a sense replacing the earlier, but more controversial currency of the concept of postmodernity fashionable (at least in the United States and in academic circles) during the 1970s and through the 1980s. Globalization is a much more widely distributed and sustained term of reference for our contemporary condition. It signals many things in social thought and has stimulated more or less elaborate and theoretically substantive discussions across a variety of fields.

Breidenbach and Zukrigl on the dynamics of cultural globalization see pp. 9-15

4In some circles the interest in globalization is whether it is an irresistible homogenization through Americanization or not. In others, it is in what form it takes and how these spread and take shape locally through privatization, democratic politics, humanitarianism, wars, patron- client relationships, and information technology (see Berger and Huntington 2002; Kalb et al. 2000; Featherstone 1996 for some discussions of globalization). In others again, the interest is in defining the prime movers of globalization—is it, for example, the international financial system, or marketing science that is most constitutive of globalization?—and in still others, the stakes are in the politics and ambitions of knowledge industries—whether globalization requires adjustments in the older metanarratives like Marxism, or whether it requires a break with past hegemonic theories in favor of sustained “bricolage” (the survival of the postmodernist ethos).

The first wave of area studies critique

5In academia, certainly, the first wave of theory about globalization suggested radical changes in the conventional framings of area studies based on new realities such as qualitatively different and intensified transnational processes (e.g., the renovation of long established thinking about migration brought about by new theorizations of diaspora). These coincided with the end of the Cold War (with immense implications for preexisting habits of thought and writing among left/liberal scholars). They also arrived both with, as noted, a clear sense of the exhaustion concerning politically ambiguous discussions about postmodernity, and with excitement about postcolonial theory now at the center of critical inquiry into culture. Also, there was the specter of millennial technological change in the arrival of the Internet (recall the discussions of “Y2K,” the possible social implications of a technological failure if computers could not have managed the date change to year 2000!), evoking seamless connection, network, and global reach. All of these events contributed to the particular milieu of early expressions of the conceptual imaginary that defined the alternative to conventional area studies.

6The key issue on which this early expression of transformed area studies focused was the fate of the nation-state in the emergence of new (transnational, globalizing) conditions. This is indeed the central conceptual issue to which the China Inside Out project is oriented. This first-wave expression foresaw, optimistically, and perhaps desirously, the displacement of the nation-state in importance as a form of organization in these changes, in favor of new, emergent, transnational forms. It created the sort of provocation that inspired debate and led to the overthrow of conventions in area studies. But this formulation was also, in several respects, highly ideological: the idea that the (bourgeois or authoritarian) nation-state, always a nemesis in left/liberal thought, was losing ground to more populist developments in the space of the transnational was, in a sense, a compensation for the loss of a Marxist or socialist alternative. Diaspora, the transnational became an idealized space of possibility. The tropes and claims of literature on colonialism and postcoloniality (produced largely by scholars of South Asian origin) reanimated work in fields like anthropology by providing analytic strategies that emphasized identity struggles and weighed the agency of subject peoples by probing their resistance and accommodation to states, market regimes, and dominating political economies. This body of scholarship represented an opposition to the post-Cold War triumphalism that proclaimed through the form of nation-states that the world was becoming more homogeneous in the spread of neoliberal models.

The second wave

7The contributions to China Inside Out clearly recognize that the original formulations of globalization were overly optimistic about the demise of the nation-state, and sensibly, they collectively take a more empirical view of the “state” of the nation-state in relation to transnational movements. In the specific case of China, they demonstrate, the nation-state is both weakened and strengthened in complex ways by transnational phenomena.

8Any distinctive contribution by anthropology (and for that matter, by the traditions of area studies scholarship) to the multilateral and multidisciplinary fascination with the era of contemporary change as a process of globalization depends on specifying and focusing objects of study that are consistent with the tradition of “thick description” in ethnographic reporting and microanalysis, yet require fundamental shifts in the “optics” and techniques of situating by which these traditions have succeeded in the past. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, anthropology participated in both the fascination with globalization as the new and politically relevant context of those changes in cultures that had earlier been discussed under the sign of postmodernism, and its spirited critique. This participation generated new ways of thinking about nationalism, identity struggles, and ethnicity. In these, first attempts at trying to conceptualize globalization, anthropology, sociology, and geography produced a few visionary writings of great influence, perhaps best exemplified by the “scapes” and “flows” essays of Arjun Appadurai (1993, 1996). Other such texts include those by Glick Schiller et al. (1994), Ulf Hannerz (1991, 1996), and David Harvey (1989).

New ways but no new norms

9Through much of the 1990s, in the absence of new methods or a concerted renovation of tried and true practices of fieldwork and ethnography, these works stood not so much as the framework on which new research programs were built, but as the context in which work done in the traditional ways could be interpreted. These visionary rhetorics provided the impetus for reconceiving the ways in which the inventories of peoples and places long researched by anthropology and area studies scholarship could still be relevant and remain the center of attention. Although limited, this was a start in the incorporating of issues of globalization into area studies and ethnography, and as such, it was no mean achievement.

10In anthropology, then, the majority of studies are still of local situations, the fate of peoples, sometimes as they are displaced, rather than the engines and central processes of globalization itself. Yet the new context of anthropology—and of area studies—means that one can no longer “just” study a group or a location without the justification of some unbounded intellectual agenda. The mise en scène for fieldwork has been permanently altered, to the approval of some and the regret of others. While this is undoubtedly constraining for the sorts of inquiries that traditional fieldwork served, it can be liberating for projects such as James Farrer’s (2002), who could legitimately live a student’s party life in Shanghai and then make a valuable ethnography of it.

11Academic departments whose traditional focus is on fieldwork are thus infused with new ideas, but many of their leading practitioners are trained classically. Those who have promoted new views of nationalism and the transnational, and of changing local transformations in the face of globalizing processes, are products of traditional disciplinary educations, to which they are provocatively reacting. They have not yet been in a position to design the modalities or exemplars of research practice to institutionalize the alternative visions that they have been pioneering. China Inside Out represents predominantly this state of area studies scholarship in transition. It is an attempt to implement the vision and discussion of the first wave of globalization-inspired area studies critique while maintaining a traditional sense of the object of study.

12This vast wave of research following the initial visionary formulations is realizing, in sustained projects of historical and ethnographic research, some of the “first-wave” ideas about the transnational and the transformations of the nation-state in the vortex of contemporary change. As noted, most of its authors are still traditionally trained in terms of the modalities that produced earlier area studies scholarship. They do not have new norms of technique or method for how to do this work, and many are making it up as they go along. This describes a number of the chapters of this project, those in particular that are self-conscious about the need for changed research practices, and especially those that provide discussions about readapting classic ethnography to new circumstances, the need to mix methods, and pay particular attention to media, for example.

13Some authors are self-consciously operating with a methodological eclecticism, while others attempt to stretch existing theoretical models. One promising development here is the reconciliation of the concerns of institutional sociology—as exemplified by Michael Burawoy (2000)—with anthropology under the influence of cultural studies styles of designing ethnography. Sociology remained relatively uninfluenced by literary theory and therefore dares to offer conclusions. In this respect, it has stayed in better health when it speaks to power and policymaking circles than anthropological theory and practice, which, critically concerned about its own contexts of production, has lost much of its confidence in offering unambiguous and apparently usable conclusions about what is going on in the world. This unwillingness to produce “results” is one reason that anthropology has more difficulty in attracting the attention of policy-makers and activists than does sociology. Yet, these influences from the humanistic disciplines have made anthropology healthier than sociology in terms of a greater experimental play of ideas and an exploration of plausibly alternative imaginaries and possibilities within the frame of doing ethnography. So the reconciliation between the two would certainly be beneficial to each.

14It would also be beneficial to area studies, where the methodological focus shifted first from sociology and political science in the postwar period to anthropology and history in the eighties and nineties, and then—although brilliant exein part as an answer to the first wave of critique-to cultural/postcolonial studies as well as to applied fields (public health, urban studies, business studies, environmental studies) in the 2000s. In other words, area studies, which started their postwar American career in touch with broad (though often flawed) social and political theorizing, have increasingly veered toward the speculative or the applied. But area studies continue to provide a fruitful meeting ground for the two approaches.

What this project does

15Virtually all of China Inside Out’s chapters stay focused largely on the range of questions and orientations provided for in the early formulations for revising conventional area studies. This means that this project emphasizes the politics of identity foremost, that it tends to look at the predicaments of mostly marginalized peoples and minorities, or simply at the situation of peoples in their everyday lives and possibilities. Some of the chapters, however, also provide discussions of the changing and adaptive character of the state in relation to new transnational political economies. For example, Duara speaks of a cultural narrative now dominating statecraft rather than the older class-based views, and he mentions the new role of markets in framing or giving new terms to the thinking of politicians. This would suggest that the symbols of the nation-state are now transacted differently by those who are most invested with perpetuating it. At the very least, the changing relations between the state and media are important, as is the rise of a consumer culture overseen by advertising industries, marketing science, real estate development and other kinds of expert adaptations to a new horizon and scale in which Chinese identities are constructed. These are the sorts of issues involved when one speaks of post-Tiananmen China. The resonances of these concerns are already in the chapters, but as we will discuss below, their focused treatment is one of the promising directions to pursue in a future agenda for area studies.

16Pragmatically speaking, however, making area studies more relevant to global processes and vice versa depends not on some further spectacular vision or how-to technique-although brilliant exemplars and conceptions of ethnography continue to be useful along the way—but on the more modest, simple move of bringing together research traditions in area studies that had largely been kept apart. This is what this project does. Often in area studies, especially in response to theoretical tendencies of the past two decades and more, geographically focused, nation-state bounded objects of study of older traditions have developed alongside but in virtual isolation from studies influenced by newer interdisciplinary tendencies of studying culture in motion—emphasizing diasporas, flows, circuits, and transnational phenomena. Merely bringing these tendencies into juxtaposition and stimulating a certain dialogue between them—where none existed before—creates the space in which globalization issues are given great specificity for the reigning conventions of defining area studies.

17This is indeed what we see as the merit of China Inside Out: it illuminates the complex mutuality of issues of China as geopolity and economy, the considerable tradition of studying overseas Chinese, and the reinvigorating “culture in motion” perspectives of recent culture theories. Bringing these research traditions together in the same textual space is a step forward that should stimulate attention to what globalization might mean for each of them.

18What the chapters of this project demonstrate, finally, is that some integrated vision of China under the guidance or macroframe of “new theory” is unlikely anytime soon to replace the older conventions of Chinese area studies. The effect of juxtaposition that this project achieves is to demonstrate that to think of China geographically is important for some issues; to think of it transnationally is important for other issues. It is a question of optics, of regimes or ratios of blindness and insight, and there is probably no way to make the best of the older and newer traditions of area studies fit together, mesh, or replace one another. But we see this messiness as a good thing, as a productive response to connecting scholarship on China to the evocation of globalization.

Beyond the second wave

19One could propose a third wave of work in this continuing transformation of area studies, which is just now emerging, marked by a direct (and ethnographic) concern with the institutions and mechanisms of globalization, equivalent to the attention to its effects on the peoples and places which have been the customary object of area studies scholarship. This is the research conducted now by a new generation of graduate students as well as some senior scholars who have the example of a decade of work in this arena to think about, including Paul Rabinow (1999), Annelise Riles (2000) and Douglas Holmes (2000). They seem to be moving beyond the tropes and concepts that informed the earlier waves of area studies critique, and they seem to be experimenting with different forms and functions for ethnography produced in, and more fully acclimated, so to speak, to doing global-oriented area studies. The caveat of this newer, emergent tendency is not to take the earlier visionary statements and imaginaries of globalization for granted, but rather to figure out strategies of research that make all of their terms deeply ethnographic. The concepts of context in globalization studies—flows, scapes, circulation—have to be reinvented in the field just like the original basic terms (such as myth, kinship, ritual) of traditional ethnography had to be. This orientation of the emerging work is captured in a recent essay by Anna Tsing, in which she reflects the spirit of studies that seek objects that cannot be captured in dichotomies like “global” and “local”:

Globalization draws our enthusiasm because it helps us imagine interconnections travel, and sudden transformation. Yet it also draws us inside its rhetoric until we take its claims for true descriptions ... national and regional units are mapped as the baseline of change without attention to their shifting and contested ability to define the landscape. We lose sight of the coalitions and claimants as well as their partial shifting claims. We lose touch with the material and institutional components through which powerful and central sites are constructed, from which convincing claims about units and scales can be made. We describe the landscape imagined within these claims rather than the culture and politics of scalemaking. This essay suggests approaches to the study of the global that seem to me to hold onto the excitement of this endorsement of planetary interconnection without trading our critical stance for globalist wishes and fantasies” (Tsing 2000: 330).


20This emergent body of new work is characterized by mixed methods of research and styles of writing. It goes beyond, while still incorporating, the central concerns with gender, identity, and subalternity of much recent scholarship on culture, and moves toward a focus on those activities or enterprises that seem to define current institutional orders at global and state levels: corporate science (especially in biogenetics and information areas), markets, financial systems, health care, media conglomerations, and the politics of international security, among others. This work is not theory-driven; it selects elements pragmatically from various theories conventionally seen as mutually exclusive. Theories may be “misused” or misinterpreted, but the primary concern is with the logic of closely observed and interpreted practices. The ethno-graphically sensitive visions of, for instance, Bruno Latour (1987, 1988) and Donna Haraway (1991), out of science studies, are more inspirational in this work than are grand systemic theories.

21In general, this emergent scholarship in area studies, anthropology, and related fields owes much to the style evolved in the interdisciplinary space of generic cultural studies over the past decade, which seems to suit the arenas of discontinuity with previous traditions of study (e.g., the noted bringing together of national and transnational bodies of scholarship in China studies) necessary to apprehend globalizing processes.

22As we suggested earlier, the idea here is that the object of study is an “assemblage,” a technology in the making, an emergent form brought about by events, in which the articulation of people in situ, people in motion, to institutional thinking and policies is what is examined. In this arena of configuring research, the tendencies and motivations of the early formulations of globalization in relation to anthropology and area studies are different and require a decentering of the questions toward which the primary and traditional concern with peoples and places proceeds. What China is, fixed geographically and imagined transnationally, has a lot to do with new arrangements among peoples, technologies, circulations, and institutions. Identity questions are still very relevant, but they are embedded in processes of a different sort than as yet configured in most of these chapters; they are a function of doing, competing, achieving in a globalized arena of activity, with quite different centers of assemblage, so to speak (see an exemplary ethnographic achievement of this sort of configuration in Susan Ossman’s (2002) Three Faces of Beauty, based on circulations observed from work in beauty parlors in Casablanca, Paris, and Cairo).

23The typical objects of cultural studies scholarship are values, techniques, artifacts, cognitive and emotional states—nostalgia, intimacy, machines, consumption, particular texts—which, if they did not produce combinations of cultural history, readings, ethnography, and microanalyses in various genres so well, would be perilously susceptible to the charge of obsession with curiosities. But it is in its design and contextualizations of objects that cultural studies scholarship is most daring, original, and convincing. Through intensive ethnographic and cultural historic perspectives on such objects, this scholarship provides novel cultural accounts of complex social, economic, and political processes (as in the current era of globalization) in ways that reconfigure existing research traditions.

24It is thus ethnographic method bled into cultural studies designs for composite texts of multiple sites and methods that makes the cultural studies form of ethnography so appealing. The model at stake here is not strictly ethnography in its own earnest values and terms, but a certain style engineered in interdisciplinary spaces particularly combining ethnographic fieldwork and writing tropes with history, literary studies, and a kind of progressive comparative literature scholarship. John Brewer characterized the nature of this genre in a recent review of Mary Poovey’s A History of the Modern Fact:

Poovey’s wide-ranging and erudite study seems to me to exemplify a growing body of American scholarship that is united not by its subject matter but by what Poovey herself calls ‘its mode of argumentation’. Such works written by scholars over the tenure barrier but still far from the twilight zone share a family resemblance, a common poetic. They are lengthy and learned, formulate an object of analysis that has no obvious place in one discipline and experimentally apply critical theory rather than produce it (Brewer 1999).

25This is the “look” and ethos of both text production and research practices that many works in contemporary anthropology seek to borrow while its traditional Malinowskian frames of ethnography are in disarray, especially as they pursue research in new topical arenas and as they have been inspired by existing concerns of diverse cultural studies scholarship. Eventually we would want to ask specifically within the anthropological tradition of ethnography: what methodology, what practices of research and research design generate such a look? This is a pressing question less for the mature scholar, as Brewer notes, who is free to experiment or indulge, but much more for the student ethnographer-in-the making who seeks an established and legitimated set of practices for generating such work—not as charismatic scholarship but as what ethnographers do.

26In Chinese studies, some of the authors in China Urban (Chen et al. 2001) and Popular China (Link et al. 2002) are concerned with new disciplinary mechanisms produced by financial markets (Ellen Hertz), population mobility (Anita Chan, Li Zhang, Leila Fernandez-Stembridge, and Richard P. Madsen), sports (Andrew Morris), the real estate and job markets (Deborah S. Davis, Amy Hanser) and marketing/ advertising (Susan Brownell, Lyn Jeffery, Julia F. Andrews, and Kuiyi Shen). James Farrer (2002) in Opening Up discusses the discursive framing of sexual practices in Shanghai. In different ways, all of these studies query the interplay between market, state, and individual agendas in shaping control mechanisms or the “secret lives” of public actors. Historians such as Frank Dokötter (1995, 1998, 2002) (who has shifted his emphasis from the production of racial identities to prisons, state controls on drug use, reproductive health regimes, and the milieu of criminality) and demographers such as Caroline Hoy (1999) (in state policies on reproduction) are contributing to the definition of new research agendas in line with the styles and trajectories inspired by interdisciplinary cultural studies scholarship.

Ethnographies of the state

27One important object of ethnography that area studies must treat more fully is the nation-state itself, or more specifically, the institutional orders that formally produce it. These are, after all, the major collective actors whose functions are being shifted and pulled apart by the globalizing and transnational forces that China Inside Out highlights.

28This plea for equal ethnographic treatment of institutional orders is not exactly the now familiar call for the study of elites, if what is meant by elites are top leaders and what they are thinking or planning (these are readable, but always frustratingly inaccessible in terms of the ethos of ethnography). What we have in mind is more of a sideways look inside the work, everyday culture, and practices of experts, technocrats, academics, professionals, and intellectuals. In order to develop such engagements, there should be research equally inside institutional orders of the nation-state as in their effects and responses among mobile, transnationalizing segments of the population. The chapters reach toward this at many points: in the repeated discussion of the importance of the study of media, for instance, and in Nyíri’s short text on the coproduction of the image of the Chinese migrant by scholars, bureaucrats, and the media. For a deeper future articulation of these themes, a fruitful meeting of serious sociology of business (not the “Bamboo Network”-style peddling of cultural stereotypes), political economy and anthropologically informed fieldwork holds out a promise. The beginnings of such an approach emerge in the recent volume Social Connections in China (Gold et al. 2002).

29Without more work in this direction, the danger is that the nation-state might be constructed as a less active, less agile collective actor in the flows of transnationalism than the peoples operating within them. The state and institutions otherwise remain some sort of sluggish ancien regime Leviathan, feeding earlier formulations that they are losing out in the face of transnationalism, when the relations among institutions and between institutions and peoples/clients are actually much more complex.

Who are we speaking to?

30The interests and observations of the scholars writing for this project, too, have counterparts in the perspectives of these “sideways” elites who depend on the institutions of the nation-state to make their livings and define their statuses. And there should be some sense in which a transformed Chinese area studies develops its own perspectives in dialogue or engagement with these counterpart perspectives “found” in research. At the very least, the engagement of area studies research with the work of intellectuals and artists should be encouraged.

31This project incorporates reflexive dimensions and reminders at various moments: a self-consciousness about method; a sensitivity to the positioning and limitations of academic discourse, and a discourse that is produced primarily from the outside; some sensitivity to how area studies discourse might serve its various constituencies and audiences; and a general openness to other possibilities or directions not yet taken in the present conditions and forms for producing research in area studies. These are all manifestations of a critique of standard social science representations that occurred strongly in the 1980s, were momentarily provocative, and have now become an obligatory component of mainstream rhetoric and strategies of qualitative modes of research. Reflexive considerations would suggest somewhat different practices and forms that are evoked in current forms of representation, but these are not yet enacted in writing or research strategies. The aim of research is still to work toward clearer understandings of contemporary change with authoritative representation as the material product of such investigation.

32This may be one direction in which the evolving trend from the early 1990s is most recently moving. The minimum starting point for such research projects would be engaging informed scholarly understandings of contemporary change in China with discourses generated at various sites in China and transnationally. The reflexive obligation of this sort in every research project is to ask: who else knows what this research has discovered? In what modality and version do they know it? And what sort of collaboration does this require to advance the research further? This active connection to subjects in knowledge production suggests the pushing of mere representations of understandings within professional communities of scholars into other spheres of intellectual alliance and reception. In short, deployed reflexive practices in area studies make such endeavors more thoroughly cross(trans?)-cultural in knowledge production.

33We should note, in this regard, the existing realm of collaborative work constituted by a long-established applied practice of area studies scholarship that has taken on a separate life in government (foreign policy and advising on security matters) and corporations (ethical advising, risk analysis, and skills in intercultural communication). This is the form of compromised knowledge production that Edward Said (1979) focused upon in Orientalism, and in the academic industry of postcolonial critique that followed, applied area studies stood for the worst of Western cultural appropriations of others. Yet, this area of activity has changed considerably since the Cold War—perhaps not sufficiently to make a significant difference for critical academics. But in this very altered ideological era, where the center of gravity of applied areas studies has apparently shifted somewhat from classic security issues to the realms of health, commerce, and marketing, cultural differences are increasingly becoming commodified even as globalization is supposed to be eroding them, and the often subtle complicities with this process in the production of even the most enlightened forms of academic knowledge about culture are perhaps the most important targets of reflexive understanding and analysis. And the latter in turn can only be achieved by appreciating the current state of existing collaborations between areas studies scholarship operating in the applied realm under very different kinds of relationships with expert actors (counterparts?) operating within and across the institutions of states, markets, and corporations.

34Several of China Inside Out’s authors point out the essentialist pitfalls of “China experts.” But even as critical scholars seek to understand how “cultural expertise” is operationalized and manipulated by institutions and individuals—including themselves—they lament that the scrutiny of human interaction, power, and identity that they engage in is not reflected in policies. Now conventional reflexivity is thus not enough; it should lead to a constructive and continuously self-questioning relationship with institutions that, in effect, already use a kind of ethnography.

35A different corollary of this question is the one about the counterparts of area studies researchers in the “area” itself. Since Said’s Orientalism Euro-American area studies have come under pressure to engage the voices of “insiders” if they are to claim any credibility. Studies of China have done so less successfully than those of many other areas: although an increasing number of scholars born in the People’s Republic of China have entered academia in the United States, Australia, and other centers of Western research, bringing with them new sensibilities, scholarship produced in China is mostly still regarded as “a representative other that receives dutiful though perfunctory acknowledgment” (Davies 2001: 2) rather than as a source of authoritative analysis. The linguistic, institutional, political, and cognitive reasons for the often surprising mutual irrelevance of China studies inside and outside China must be analyzed in their own right if future studies of China are to form new, productive “sideways” relationships and to fulfill the activist mission we envisage. Here, too, such possible counterparts are not limited to institutionalized academia but may be in nongovernmental or private organizations or in literature and the arts.


George E. Marcus has been Chair of the Department of Anthropology at Rice University since 1980, where he has overseen its reinvention from the critiques of anthropology in the 1980s through to current shifts in styles of anthropological research as critical social practice. He was the founding editor of the journal Cultural Anthropology. He coedited Writing Culture (1986) with James Clifford and coauthored Anthropology as Cultural Critique (1986) with Michael Fischer. More recently he has published Ethnography Through Thick & Thin (1998). Through the 1990s, he created a series of annuals, the Late Editions Series published by the University of Chicago Press, that reflected epochal changes during the fin-de-siecle through experiments with the interview form common to anthropology and journalism, among other disciplines.

© Central European University Press, 2005

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