Handbook of Political Anthropology
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Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
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Chapter 24: The fall and rise of class

Andrew Sanchez


This chapter first explores the reasons for the decline of class analysis in the age of neoliberalism before engaging with the arguments for the return of class. The chapter considers social anthropology’s changing relationship to the class concept by asking what ethnographers have done with the idea, why it fell out of favour during the 1980s and 1990s, and how attention to the topic has since been reinvigorated by analyses of precarity, economic crisis and social capital. The chapter concludes by considering why contemporary political anthropology must continue to engage carefully with the types of power relations described by the term ‘class’.

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