• Lecture Series
Universität Wien, Sky-Lounge, Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, 1090 Wien
Gavin Smith


Changes in the dominant form of capitalism have implicated the shape of the state and supra-state.  As a result crucial economic and political relations have to be rethought and methods found for that task. The lecture takes up this challenge for the reformulation of ethnography. 


The 2008 economic crisis, followed by people’s disenchantment with governments, exposed the extent of economic polarity and inequalities of power. Yet the complexities of the instruments of finance and the obscurity of the technologies of power provide a challenge to intellectuals wishing to contribute to public understanding and effective politics for ordinary people. This challenge has been met by a flourishing literature explaining the instruments for garnering value and the mechanisms for securing power. While these help us understand current realities, they say little either about the connection between the instruments and mechanisms they explain, or about the ordinary people affected by their operation. Relations between the dominant and the dominated as well as relations among the latter are neglected. Taking the work of the late Eric Wolf as exemplary, Gavin Smith’s lecture seeks to redress this imbalance, by revealing the often obscure complexities of class relations hidden along the “pathways of power.”


Gavin Smith is Professor emeritus of Anthropology at the University of Toronto and author of: “Intellectuals and (Counter-)Politics: Essays in Historical Realism”, New York/Oxford 2014, “Immediate Struggles: People, Power and Place in Rural Spain”, Berkeley 2006, with Susana Narotzky, “Confronting the Present: Towards a Politically Engaged Anthropology”, New York 1999 and “Livelihood and Resistance: Peasants and the Politics of Land in Peru”, Berkeley 1989. 


On the following day, November 10, 2015, at 5.15 p.m., a discussion with Gavin Smith will take place at the IFK.


Eine Kooperation mit dem Institut für Sozialanthropologie (ISA) der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften und dem Institut für Kultur- und Sozialanthropologie der Universität Wien

Ort: Universität Wien, Sky-Lounge, Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1, 1090 Wien