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Land's End: Capitalist Relations on an Indigenous Frontier Paperback – 25 Sep 2014

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"For anyone interested in ongoing dispossession and enduring inequalities, this powerful and compelling book is essential. Tania Murray Li shows how access to land, labor, and food eroded gradually and insidiously for many people, in a manner that undermined oppositional movements." "Tania Murray Li, one of the foremost scholars of the native peoples, economies, and ecologies of Southeast Asia, here tells the subtle and challenging story of the Lauje, a group who defy cliches of indigeneity and whose destructive involvement in commodity production was willingly embraced. Her analysis complicates our understanding of rural agrarian transformation and the expansion of global capitalism, by showing how this adoption of export tree crops-unlike a century ago in Indonesia's outer islands-is leading to a literal 'land's end.' The value and power of this volume, based on twenty years of fieldwork, lies in its telling a difficult, nuanced story of the millions who do not fit into easy, pre-existing categories and narratives of modern rural transformation." "This is a wonderful book. It may have the biggest general impact of a book centered on Southeast Asian rural social dynamics since James Scott's seminal Weapons of the Weak. With unusual clarity and great persuasiveness, Tania Murray Li explores theoretical and methodological issues through vivid depictions of peoples' lives."

About the Author

Tania Murray Li is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Toronto, where she holds the Canada Research Chair in the Political-Economy and Culture of Asia. She is the author of "The Will to Improve: Governmentality, Development, and the Practice of Politics," also published by Duke University Press; coauthor of "Powers of Exclusion: Land Dilemmas in Southeast Asia"; and editor of "Transforming the Indonesian Uplands: Marginality, Power and Production."

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Eminently readable, surprising, and politically relevant ethnography 19 Oct. 2014
By dmc_runs - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is what ethnography should look like: eminently readable yet theoretically grounded, nuanced yet incisive, and both theoretically and politically relevant. Her prose is beautiful and she weaves theory seamlessly into narratives, giving something for both academic and non-academic readers to chew on. Her findings about rural farmers at the margins, for whom capitalism is not brought about with a decisive land grab or "development" scheme, but rather slowly and almost accidentally brought on by their own actions, is both surprising and informative. She challenges both the right's simplistic narrative that the market will save the poor - she demonstrates the reverse - and the left's romantic and idealized narratives about the "alternative development" paths for smallholder farmers. The book is one I'd recommend highly to anyone interested in rural development or food justice, as well as, of course, any student of the anthropology of capitalism, agrarian studies, or political ecology.
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