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California Series in Public Anthropology #10: Shadows of War: Violence, Power, and International Profiteering in the Twenty-First Centuryby Carolyn Nordstrom
Synopses & Reviews
"This should be made into a movie!"—Katia Lund, Co-director of City of God
"Carolyn Nordstrom destroys the categories through which we normally look at war. This is a major achievement. Her eyewitness reporting, when contrasted with the official histories later compiled of the same events, is a revelation. The amount of 'extra-state' activity surrounding any war is vast, and Nordstrom evokes and analyzes it so fully, so deftly, that no one who reads this book will look at war news quite the same way again. Meanwhile, the extra-state itself, typified by Al Qaeda, has begun to drive world politics and generate wars with terrifying success."—William Finnegan, author of A Complicated War: The Harrowing of Mozambique
"A gripping account of what the author calls 'research into the shadows' — the often dangerous world of the powerful and wealthy who inhabit global extra-governmental organizations. It is also about the dehumanizing effects of war and violence on the victims. Nordstrom says: 'It is the only way I know how to write about war: being there.' This book provides a rare opportunity of 'being there' with a courageous and highly observant anthropologist. I recommend it highly."—Richard Goldstone, Former Chief Prosecutor of the International War Crimes Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda
"Carolyn Nordstrom, a pioneer in warzone ethnography, gives us an up-close view of the shadowy worlds of wartime economics. Money laundering, blood diamonds, gun running — Nordstrom puts faces on each of these. Seeing the faces makes the moral dilemmas of war not simpler, but more realistic. This is an innovative and important book."—Cynthia Enloe, author of Maneuvers: The International Politics of Militarizing Women's Lives
"Nordstrom is a compassionate scholar who simply and doggedly uses ethnography to follow the question. This approach takes Nordstrom from the spectacular violence of armed conflict--the flames and mobs and murder--to the even more destructive but hidden structural violence--the 'shadows' that few seek to understand. This is engaged, urgent scholarship at its best."—Paul Farmer, M.D., author of Pathologies of Power
Violence, power and international profiteering in the twenty-first century.
In this provocative and compelling examination of the deep politics of war, Carolyn Nordstrom takes us from the immediacy of war-zone survival, through the offices of power brokers, to vast extra-legal networks that fuel war and international profiteering. She captures the human face of the front lines, revealing both the visible and the hidden realities of war in the twenty-first century. Shadows of War is grounded in ethnographic research carried out at the epicenters of political violence on several continents. Its pages are populated not only with the perpetrators and victims of war but also with the scoundrels, silent heroes, and average families who live their lives in the midst of explosive violence. War reconfigures our most basic notions of humanity, Nordstrom demonstrates. This book, of crucial importance at the present moment, shows that war is enmeshed in struggles over the very foundations of the sovereign state, the crafting of economic empires both legal and illegal, and innovative searches for peace.
Nordstrom describes the multi-trillion-dollar international financial networks that support warfare. She traces the entangled routes by which illegal drugs, precious gems, weapons, basic food supplies, and pharmaceuticals are moved by an international cast of businesspeople, profiteers, and black-market operators. Shadows of War demonstrates how the experiences of both the architects of war and of ordinary people are deleted from media accounts and replaced with stories about soldiers, weapons, and territory. For the first time, this book retrieves from the shadows the faces of those whose stories seldom reach the light of international recognition.
About the Author
Carolyn Nordstrom is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame. She is the author of A Different Kind of War Story (1997) and the coeditor of Fieldwork under Fire: Contemporary Studies of Violence and Survival (California, 1995) and The Paths to Domination, Resistance, and Terror (California, 1992).
Table of Contents
PART ONE: INTRODUCTIONS
2. A Conversation in a Bar at the Front
3. Making Things Invisible
PART TWO: WAR
4. Finding the Front Lines
PART THREE: SHADOWS
7. Entering the Shadows
8. A First Exploratory Definition of the Shadows
9. The Cultures of the Shadows: The Meat, Potatoes, Diamonds, and Guns of Daily Life
PART FOUR: PEACE?
10. The Institutionalization of the Shadows: (Habits of War Mar Landscapes of Peace)
11. The Autobiography of a Man Called Peace
12. The Time of Not War Not Peace
14. The Problems with Peace
PART FIVE: DANGEROUS PROFITS
15. Ironies in the Shadows: (Literally) Untold Profits and a Key Source of Development
16. Why Dont We Study the Shadows?
17. Epilogue: Two Sides of the Same Coin
Postscript: The War of the Month Club—Iraq
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