Canadian Anthropology Society (CASCA)
Oral Presentation Session
Abstract: These two panels address the radical possibilities for challenging capitalism. Panellists explore how people’s contestation and, potentially political mobilizations, are being reshaped by their dialectical interaction with changing forms of capital. While capitalism’s inexorable capacity to reproduce itself through accumulation and exploitation remains constant over time and space, its predations and depredations have multiplied and intensified. The political and economic climate that sustains class domination continues with state support of tax evasion, unchecked property speculation, land grabs, the appropriation of intellectual property rights, enclosures of the commons, privatisations, and financialization. These dynamics and their implications for social reproduction, in its many senses, have become a lightning rod for popular struggle and solidarity. Often met with violent suppression, both in the past and present, such struggles have appeared in both predictable and unexpected forms. The participants on these panels explore the mechanisms of accumulation that prevail in capitalism and that result in socio-spatial displacement and the dispossession of people from their livelihoods. They also consider how ordinary people confront the predatory imperative inherent in capitalism. In doing this, panellists ask: What do comparisons from different regions, historical periods, and social locations reveal about the conditionalities for confronting capitalism? What can be learned from a comparative analysis of the historical contingencies and contemporary possibilities associated with a politics of resistance, insurgency and/or acquiescence? Papers will engage a perspective that attends to new theoretical possibilities, while engaging with classical Marxist scholarship. Our aim is to provoke new conversations as anthropologists who grapple with some of the consequences of capitalist accumulation manifest in the changing climates for political struggle.