The politics of cultural identity, far from receding with the modernity, appears to have taken on new force in the wake of the cold war — especially with the triumphal rise of neoliberal capitalism on a global scale. This has yielded many efforts to explain the continued salience of ethnicity in a “new” world order that, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, was widely predicted to dissolve difference in the face of global flows of people, objects, currencies, signs, styles, desires. Less attention, however, has been paid to a subtle shift in the nature of ethnicity: its commodification. This lecture is devoted to showing that, increasingly, ethnic groups across the planet are beginning to act like corporations that own a “natural” copyright to their “culture” and “cultural products” — framed in terms, also, of heritage and indigenous knowledge — which they protect, often by recourse to the law, and on which they capitalize in much the same way as do incorporated businesses in the private sector. Why is this occurring? What are its political, economic, social, and ethical consequences? How is it transforming the nature of ethnicity and citizenship in the nation-state? And what are its theoretical implications for understanding such foundational social science concepts as culture and identity? It is these questions, finally, that Ethnicity, Inc. is addressed. In Ethnicity, Inc. anthropologists John L. and Jean Comaroff analyze a new moment in the history of human identity: its rampant commodification. Through a wide-ranging exploration of the changing relationship between culture and the market, they address a pressing question: Wherein lies the future of ethnicity? Their account begins in South Africa, with the incorporation of an ethno-business in venture capital by a group of traditional African chiefs. But their horizons are global: Native American casinos; Scotland’s efforts to brand itself; a Zulu ethno-theme park named Shakaland; a world religion declared to be intellectual property; a chiefdom made into a global business by means of its platinum holdings; San “Bushmen” with patent rights potentially worth millions of dollars; nations acting as commercial enterprises; and the rapid growth of marketing firms that target specific ethnic populations are just some of the diverse examples that fall under the Comaroffs’ incisive scrutiny. These phenomena range from the disturbing through the intriguing to the absurd. Through them, the Comaroffs trace the contradictory effects of neoliberalism as it transforms identities and social being across the globe. Ethnicity, Inc. is a penetrating account of the ways in which ethnic populations are remaking themselves in the image of the corporation—while corporations coopt ethnic practices to open up new markets and regimes of consumption. Intellectually rigorous but leavened with wit, this is a powerful, highly original portrayal of a new world being born in a tectonic collision of culture, capitalism, and identity.