cover of book

States Of Exception: Everyday Life and Postcolonial Identity
by Keya Ganguly
University of Minnesota Press, 2001
Cloth: 978-0-8166-3716-4 | Paper: 978-0-8166-3717-1
Library of Congress Classification E184.E2G36 2001
Dewey Decimal Classification 305.8914073


A philosophical anthropology of everyday experience, this book is also a deeply informed and thought-provoking reflection on the work of cultural critique. States of Exception looks into a community of immigrants from India living in southern New Jersey—a group to whom the author, as a daughter of two of its members, enjoyed unprecedented access. 

Her position allows Keya Ganguly to approach the culture of a middle-class group (albeit one that is marginalized by racial prejudice), while the group’s relatively comfortable and protected style of life offers unusual insight into the concept of the everyday and the sense in which a seemingly commonplace existence can be understood as in crisis: a state of exception. Thus, Ganguly draws on the work of the Frankfurt School, particularly Walter Benjamin and Theodor Adorno, to explore the possibilities of a dialectical critique of the everyday—a state of exception informing ordinary yet crisis-ridden narratives of the self under late capitalism.

Nearby on shelf for United States / Elements in the population: