Ethnicity, Commodity, In/corporation
In the economics of everyday life, ethnicity has become a potential resource to be tapped, generating new sources of profit and power, new ways of being social, new expressions of solidarity and affect, and new visions of the future. Throughout much of Africa, ethnic corporations have been repurposed to do business in mining, tourism, and the culture industry; in the USA, Native American groupings have expanded their involvement in gaming, design, and other domains of the market; and all over the world, the commodification of culture has sown itself deeply into everything from medicine through music to fashion – and much else besides. Ethnic groups increasingly seek empowerment by formally incorporating themselves, by deploying their sovereign status for material ends, and by copyrighting their cultural practices as intellectual property. Building on ethnographic case studies from Kenya, Nepal, Peru, Russia, and several other countries, this collection poses the question: Does the turn to the incorporation and commodification of ethnicity really herald a new historical moment in the global politics of identity, or is it merely an extension of long existing practices and potentials? The answer offer in this volume is…both, albeit in complicated ways.