By John Hutnyk
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Additional resources for Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies
But neither man feels comfortable with their predicament, and neither can find a path through. Travellers stranded again. * * * I would like to ask a slightly different set of questions in the context of contemporary anthropological criticism as practised by Clifford. The first and perhaps most difficult to ask of travel is: what sort of solidarity politics can emerge from this? But also: what sort of politics operates in Clifford’s text? Where in the various spectrums of Left and Right (admittedly these can be overly reifying constructions today) does Clifford’s work lie?
Necessary accoutrements, markers of real presence (more so than postcards of the very same scenes). qxd 5/8/04 10:45 PM Page 30 30 Bad Marxism The ‘subject’, James Bosu, has been cropped for the cover, although remaining curiously ‘hybrid’ with traditional ‘mind-boggling’ headdress and necktie. Clifford ‘gravitates towards the incongruous detail’ (Clifford 1997:178), but Bosu’s stubbie of beer is kept for the inside enlargement. This doctoring – not necessarily by Clifford, but by design – may well change readings of the image, and it is not without significance that the cover evokes a schoolbook with its background map of the world (or rather, of the West Coast of North America, Clifford’s institutional base).
What matters today is the capacity of scholarship to understand the current complexities of the human (global) condition, and, as Gayatri Spivak adds, ‘tamper with it’ (1995a:10; see below). An area where I think the Malinowski–Clifford concurrence becomes important has to do with the politics of multi-site ethnography. For Clifford this takes the contemporary form of diasporic research projects and – I argue – flirtation with trans/global-isation as the ideology of transnational corporate enterprise.