Globalization is at the cutting edge of cultural anthropology at the turn of the 21st century. First, it opens new territory, challenging the bounded world of communities, localities, peasants, tribes, and cultures that has characterized anthropological research in the past. Second, globalization has become the point at which a number of theoretical trends have coalesced: interpretive anthropology, critical anthropology, postmodernism, and poststructuralism. However, this theoretical blending is often combined with a hard-nosed, pragmatic attention to empirical detail that suggests at least a partial resolution to the divisions that have split anthropology over the past decades.
This book draws together numerous disparate studies under the rubric “the anthropology of globalization.” It thus may create an artificial unity, although, as I hope to show, there are already commonalities of viewpoint, agreed-upon assumptions about the nature of globalization and its effects, and well-developed topics within the globalization perspective, such as the studies of transnationalism and global identity.
The book is written for anyone interested in an overview of this frontier subject. Anthropologists and nonanthropologists who still equate globalization with globobabble may find that there is more here than has been widely recognized. Even anthropologists who are involved either directly or marginally in globalization research, or want to incorporate globalization into their future work, may find value in exploring the many trails already blazed by others.