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A Casebook against Cynical Reason

Para-Sites, the penultimate volume in the Late Editions series, explores how social actors located within centers of power and privilege develop and express a critical consciousness of their own situations. Departing from the usual focus of ethnography and cultural analysis on the socially marginalized, these pieces probe subjects who are undeniably complicit with powerful institutional engines of contemporary change. In each case, the possibility of alternative thinking or practices is in complex relation to the subject’s source of empowerment.

These cases challenge the condition of cynicism that has been the favored mode of characterizing the mind-set of intellectuals and professionals, comfortable in their lives of middle-class consumption and work. In their effort to establish para-sites of critical awareness parallel to the levels of political and economic power at which they function, these subjects suggest that those who lead ordinary lives of modest power and privilege might not be parasites in relation to the systems they serve, but may be creating unique and independent critical perspectives.

Table of Contents

Preface: A Reintroduction to the Series
George E. Marcus
George E. Marcus
1. "With a Hammer, a Gouge, and a Woodblock": The Work of Art and Medicine in the Age of Social Retraumatization—the Texas Woodcut Art of Dr. Eric Avery
Michael M. J. Fischer
2. Expatriating Culture, Writing Thailand
Kim Fortun, Jeff Petry, and Mike Fortun
3. Performing on a Fault Line: The Making(s) of a South African Spy Novel and Other Stories
Jennifer A. Law
4. Fashioning Women: The Dressmaker as Cultural Producer in Soviet Russia
Olga Vainshtein
5. Academics and the Production of an Intellectual Discourse of Modernity in Russia
Alexei Elfimov
6. Technology, Television, and Myth: Reportajes de Alvarado and the Story of Nuevo León
Marie Theresa Hernandez
7. The Work of Markets: Filming within Indian Mediascapes, 1997
Kim and Mike Fortun
8. Museum in a Hat
Ron Burnett
9. La Laiterie, Strasbourg, France: "From the Singular to the Manifold"
Gudrun Klein
Looking Forward to Late Editions 8, Zeroing In: Y2000
10. If Derrida Is the Gómez-Peña of Philosophy, What Are the Genres of Social Science? Just Gaming: The Y2K Computer Bug and Other Uncertainties, a Critical Simulation Game
Michael M. J. Fischer
Looking Back to Late Editions 5, Corporate Futures
11. Commercializing Outer Space: The SATWG Stories
Robbie E. Davis-Floyd

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