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Polity publishes a number of textbooks and original works in the fields of anthropology and archaeology. Our authors include some of the leading figures in these fields, such as Clifford Geertz, Marilyn Strathern, Henrietta Moore, Pierre Bourdieu, Maurice Godelier, Daniel Miller and Ian Hodder.
Daniel Miller & Jolynna Sinanan: Webcam
Based on research in London and Trinidad, this book shows how 'always-on' webcam is becoming an entirely different phenomenon from the initial use of webcam as a videophone. Webcam is used to exemplify a theory of attainment that accepts media technologies as aspects of, rather than detracting from, our basic humanity.
Daniel Miller: Consumption and its Consequences
This is a book for those looking for different answers to some of today's most fundamental questions. What is a consumer society? Does being a consumer make us less authentic or more materialistic? How and why do we shop? How should we understand the economy? Is our seemingly insatiable desire for goods destroying the planet? Can we reconcile curbs on consumption with goals such as reducing poverty and social inequality?
Daniel Miller: Tales from Facebook
"For anyone keen to understand what human culture is becoming as the Internet becomes its nearly universal vehicle, Facebook Tales is obligatory reading."
Julian Dibbell, author of My Tiny Life and Play Money, contributing editor for Wired magazine
"A genre-busting tour de force."
Tom Boellstorff, University of California Irvine
Didier Fassin: Enforcing Order
"A brilliant example of public anthropology."
Philippe Bourgeois, University of Pennsylvania
Over the course of 15 months, at the time of the 2005 riots, Didier Fassin carried out an ethnographic study in one of the largest precincts in the Paris region, sharing the life of a police station and cruising with the patrols, in particular the dreaded anti-crime squads. Richly documented and compellingly told, this is a unique account of contemporary urban policing.
Luc Boltanski: Mysteries and Conspiracies
Through an exploration of the work of the great masters of detective stories and spy novels – G.K. Chesterton, Arthur Conan Doyle, John Le Carré and Graham Greene among others – Boltanski shows that these works of fiction and imagination tell us something fundamental about the nature of modern societies and the modern state.
Don Slater: New Media, Development, and Globalization
New media, development and globalization are key terms through which the future is being imagined and performed in governance, development initiatives and public and political discourse. Yet these authoritative terms have arisen within particular cultural and ideological contexts. This compelling book forces us to look at these terms afresh.
Bruno Latour: Rejoicing
Bruno Latour's long term project is to compare the felicity and infelicity conditions of the different values dearest to the heart of those who have 'never been modern'. After his work on science, on technology and, more recently, on law, this book explores the truth conditions of religious speech acts.
Frederick F. Wherry: The Culture of Markets
"Fred Wherry elegantly introduces students to the cultural approach in economic sociology. Wearing his theoretical sophistication lightly, Wherry provides dozens of pithy illustrations from cutting-edge empirical research. This classy essay is deceptively simple. It provides the first synthetic construction of the cultural-economic field."
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University
The Culture of Markets offers a comprehensive introduction to the puzzles found in studies of markets and to the ways that cultural analyses address those puzzles. The clarity of the arguments will make this a welcome resource for upper-level students of cultural sociology, economic sociology, and business/marketing.
Hazem Kandil: Inside the Brotherhood
This is the first in-depth study of the relationship between the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood and its own members. Drawing on extensive research, the book provides an intimate portrayal of the recruitment and socialization of Brothers, the evolution of their social networks, and the construction of the ideology that shapes their everyday practices.
Moore: The Subject of Anthropology
"A very well written book on an important topic by one of the most gifted anthropologists of her generation ... that is bound to become a classic text in the emergent cross-road between psychoanalysis, anthropology and feminist studies."
Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
Fournier: Émile Durkheim: A Biography
"Fournier is the greatest living scholar of French sociology. With this work, he gives us a new Durkheim, a man broiled in the political controversies of his time, an academic patriarch who laid the foundations for a more cultural sociology."
Jeffrey C. Alexander, Yale University
Meticulously documented, Marcel Fournier's new biography sheds fresh light on Durkheim's personality and character, his relationship with Judaism, his family life, his relations with friends and collaborators, his political and administrative responsibilities and his political views.
Corbridge et al: India Today
"If you want a smart, pithy and extremely well-informed take on the central issues facing India today, as well as a guide to all the main debates, then this is the book you need."
Steven Wilkinson, Yale University
Twenty years ago India was still generally thought of as an archetypal developing country, home to the largest number of poor people of any country in the world. Now India is being feted as an economic power-house. How and why has this historic transformation come about? And what are its implications for the people of India, for Indian society and politics? These are the big questions addressed in this book by three scholars who have lived and researched in different parts of India during the period of this great transformation.
Kaufman: Love Online
The internet has changed the face of romantic encounters. In a world where anything is possible, a potential date - whether it be a one-night stand or the start of a more lasting relationship - can be just a click away. Anyone looking for love online can throw off their inhibitions and can say what they have never dared to before.
Jean-Claude Kaufmann: The Meaning of Cooking
In this rich and highly entertaining book the French sociologist Jean-Claude Kaufmann takes us into the kitchens and dining rooms and deciphers the meaning of food, cooking and eating in the lives of families and couples.
"In Archaeological Theory Today, Ian Hodder has assembled a fine collection of papers that, taken together, present a vibrant and exciting overview of current theoretical trends. Reading this volume, one is struck not just by the diversity of archaeological theory today, but by its breadth, depth, and sheer intellectual vitality. This book is not just an overview of current thinking, but an eloquent statement of the importance of archaeology as a modern human science."
Matthew Johnson, Northwestern University
Hann and Hart: Economic Anthropology
"Hann and Hart offer the most sophisticated history of economic anthropology that I have seen. Using a humanistic perspective, their descriptions of the 'prehistory' of economic anthropology and of the socialist and postsocialist eras are neatly joined to an account of research in the twentieth century."
Stephen Gudeman, University of Minnesota
Bourdieu: On Television
A surprising bestseller when it was first published in France, this little book by Pierre Bourdieu offers a brilliant critique of television and its consequences for social and political life.
"This unremitting assault on the impact and pretensions of television demolishes conventional arguments."
Times Literary Supplement
Danny Miller and Zuzana Búriková, Au Pair
This is the first book devoted to the lives of au pairs, their leisure as well as their work time. We see this world from the eyes of the visitors, and their unique perspective on what lies at the heart of our family life. After a year of careful research, this book shows how most of our assumptions and expectations about au pairs are wrong.
Miller: The Comfort of Things
"A wonderful and unusual antidote to the fear that humanity and individuality is losing its battle with modern consumerism. In his book, even the most trivial product of consumerism can be rendered almost magical by its owners."
“This is a unique book that comes from a unique scholar. In this one volume, one can see the power of material culture as a means to study culture and society more generally. The specifics are informative and the larger formulations profound. The writing is consistently clear – at times, endearing – and the content brilliant.”
Harvey Molotch, New York University
Burke: Cultural Hybridity
The period in which we live is marked by increasingly frequent and intense cultural encounters of all kinds. In this concise book, leading historian Peter Burke considers these fascinating and contested phenomena, ranging over theories, practices, processes and events in a manner that is as wide-ranging and vibrant as the topic at hand