Cloth: 978-0-226-11408-8 | Paper: 978-0-226-11409-5 | Electronic: 978-0-226-11410-1
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ABOUT THIS BOOK
Are postcolonies haunted more by criminal violence than other nation-states? The usual answer is yes. In Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, Jean and John Comaroff and a group of respected theorists show that the question is misplaced: that the predicament of postcolonies arises from their place in a world order dominated by new modes of governance, new sorts of empires, new species of wealth—an order that criminalizes poverty and race, entraps the “south” in relations of corruption, and displaces politics into the realms of the market, criminal economies, and the courts.
As these essays make plain, however, there is another side to postcoloniality: while postcolonies live in states of endemic disorder, many of them fetishize the law, its ways and itsmeans. How is the coincidence of disorder with a fixation on legalities to be explained? Law and Disorder in the Postcolony addresses this question, entering into critical dialogue with such theorists as Benjamin, Agamben, and Bayart. In the process, it also demonstrates how postcolonies have become crucial sites for the production of contemporary theory, not least because they are harbingers of a global future under construction.
Jean Comaroff is the Bernard E. and Ellen C. Sunny Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology and director of the Chicago Center for Contemporary Theory at the University of Chicago. John L. Comaroff is the Harold W. Swift Distinguished Service Professor of Anthropology at the University of Chicago and a senior research fellow at the American Bar Foundation. Both are honorary professors at the University of Cape Town. They are coauthors of the multivolume Of Revelation and Revolution also published by the University of Chicago Press.
“This major collection, with a masterful introduction by the editors, presents new ways to understand how the globalized legal order bears the signs of its colonial heritage while proving a hyperlegal space for new negotiations about order, crime, and justice in many postcolonial societies. It offers a feast of empirical insights that bring the anthropology of legality into the very center of postcolonial studies, places the South African experience in a highly original global perspective, and shows that the relationship between law and legality is both contradictory and generative.”
“This collection deals with an important contemporary issue: the nature of order and disorder in spaces of former colonization. These essays offer provocative insights into the extent of violence and disorder in various situations and the complicated and often ineffectual, performative, and even complicit role played by police and other agents of state order. There are numerous forms of disorder presented here, from more conventional criminality to vigilante justice to state violence. These are rich and fascinating glimpses into a world of disorder that follows its own forms of order.”
TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Law and Disorder in the Postcolony: An Introduction - John L. Comaroff and Jean Comaroff
2. The Mute and the Unspeakable: Political Subjectivity, Violent Crime, and “the Sexual Thing” in a South African Mining Community - Rosalind C. Morris
3. “I Came to Sabotage Your Reasoning!”: Violence and Resignifications of Justice in Brazil - Teresa P. R. Caldeira
4. Death Squads and Democracy in Northeast Brazil - Nancy Scheper-Hughes
5. Some Notes on Disorder in the Indonesian Postcolony - Patricia Spyer
6. Witchcraft and the Limits of the Law: Cameroon and South Africa - Peter Geschiere
7. The Ethics of Illegality in the Chad Basin - Janet Roitman
8. Criminal Obsessions, after Foucault: Postcoloniality, Policing, and the Metaphysics of Disorder - Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff
9. On Politics as a Form of Expenditure - Achille Mbembe