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Distributed for University of Wales Press

Capitalism and Its Discontents

Power and Accumulation in Latin-American Culture

In this book, John Kraniauskas uses close examinations of a number of modern and contemporary Latin American and North American novels and films to highlight the relationship between such texts and their regional cultural, political, and social contexts. Studies of a novel by James Ellroy and the TV series The Wire enable Kraniauskas to consider how ideas developed in one context can be used to explain experiences in another; he also explores an ongoing shift from texts that are centered on the state and its actions to those in which other groups come to the fore. Throughout, there’s a useful emphasis on the cultural experience of money, and how it can be traced through a wide variety of texts and cultural productions.

320 pages | 5.5 x 8.5 | © 2017

History: Latin American History

Literature and Literary Criticism:

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“This major volume brings together a set of essays by one of the most stimulating writers in English on Latin American culture. John Kraniauskas boasts an astonishing critical and cultural range—in three sections and a series of chapters, he tours with consummate skill both canonical and less feted novels. His meticulous grounding in Marxist and critical theory allows Kraniauskas to study the experience of capitalism in Latin America, and in particular the relationship between literature as a cultural form and the role of the state. The resulting work will be of great importance to all those studying or researching Latin American culture and politics, and provides tools for wider disciplines, including literary and cultural studies.”

Ben Bollig, University of Oxford

Capitalism and its Discontents is the result of a decades-long passionate engagement with Latin American cultural and political development. It traces a history of twentieth-century responses to the transculturating State-form. Writing—some writing—in the different grammars Kraniauskas exposes, undoes primitive political accumulation: such would be its function in its concrete Latin American determination. Critique is here state-critique, and thought is the sustained effort, nevertheless rare, to oppose history’s violent engorgement. This is a deeply original work, one of those books whose disturbing imprint will change the approach to critical work on culture.” 

Alberto Moreiras, Texas A&M University

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