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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

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Thomas Hylland Eriksen

This chapter argues that a political anthropology of globalization can use the concept of scale to shed light on the global (or glocal) situation, in particular the responses to political challenges by either scaling down or scaling up. Scaling down refers to local communities that try to regain control over their livelihoods in the face of encroaching large-scale actors. Scaling up can take place through the formation of transnational coalitions of social movements, or through more formal channels such as intergovernmental cooperation and treaty negotiations. Anthropologists, by virtue of their ethnographic methodology, are in a privileged position to study significant clashes of scale as they are perceived locally. The local cannot be understood without recourse to higher scalar levels up to the global; but the global and higher-level processes, likewise, cannot be understood without proper knowledge about the local.