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Fetishistic Causation

Hornborg, Alf LU (2017) In HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory 7(3). p.89-103
Abstract
In this lecture I argue that anthropology can grasp the cultural peculiarity of modernity by critically scrutinizing its foundational categories of “economy” and “technology” and its particular ways of detaching exchange and production from morality. Economic and technological developments in nineteenth-century Britain are interpreted as local manifestations of global processes of unequal exchange and accumulation. The so-called Industrial Revolution reconfigured both the material circumstances and the worldview of the people at its imperial core. This modern worldview continues to shape contemporary aspirations to deal with global inequalities and environmental change, but remains incapable of grasping the interfusion of social and... (More)
In this lecture I argue that anthropology can grasp the cultural peculiarity of modernity by critically scrutinizing its foundational categories of “economy” and “technology” and its particular ways of detaching exchange and production from morality. Economic and technological developments in nineteenth-century Britain are interpreted as local manifestations of global processes of unequal exchange and accumulation. The so-called Industrial Revolution reconfigured both the material circumstances and the worldview of the people at its imperial core. This modern worldview continues to shape contemporary aspirations to deal with global inequalities and environmental change, but remains incapable of grasping the interfusion of social and natural aspects of economic and technological development. Its delineation of the categories of “economy” and “technology” is conducive to a specific modality of exploitation that can be understood as a modern form of magic, defined as contingent on the unacknowledged material efficacy of human beliefs. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory
volume
7
issue
3
pages
89 - 103
publisher
University of Cambridge * The Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit
external identifiers
  • scopus:85041742616
ISSN
2049-1115
DOI
10.14318/hau7.3.005
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a0c5dc72-2aef-4faf-9bc1-fcc63a87db42
date added to LUP
2017-11-17 21:47:51
date last changed
2018-02-25 04:20:37
@article{a0c5dc72-2aef-4faf-9bc1-fcc63a87db42,
  abstract     = {In this lecture I argue that anthropology can grasp the cultural peculiarity of modernity by critically scrutinizing its foundational categories of “economy” and “technology” and its particular ways of detaching exchange and production from morality. Economic and technological developments in nineteenth-century Britain are interpreted as local manifestations of global processes of unequal exchange and accumulation. The so-called Industrial Revolution reconfigured both the material circumstances and the worldview of the people at its imperial core. This modern worldview continues to shape contemporary aspirations to deal with global inequalities and environmental change, but remains incapable of grasping the interfusion of social and natural aspects of economic and technological development. Its delineation of the categories of “economy” and “technology” is conducive to a specific modality of exploitation that can be understood as a modern form of magic, defined as contingent on the unacknowledged material efficacy of human beliefs.},
  author       = {Hornborg, Alf},
  issn         = {2049-1115},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {12},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {89--103},
  publisher    = {University of Cambridge * The Mongolia & Inner Asia Studies Unit},
  series       = {HAU: Journal of Ethnographic Theory},
  title        = {Fetishistic Causation},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.14318/hau7.3.005},
  volume       = {7},
  year         = {2017},
}