By Stephen C. Lubkemann
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Extra resources for Culture in Chaos: An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War
The fact that this book is not only an analysis, but also a constitution, of the “historical record” of Machazian labor, war-time, and postconﬂict social process, provokes enough historiographic angst that it prevents me from cutting through such a Gordian knot with two sentences. 32 introduction Anthropologies of war and displacement have generally suffered minimally, if at all, from such historiographic angst. Yet, this may very well be only because the theorization of these processes as “violent events” purports (mistakenly) to locate the full scope of their explanatory reference within war’s violence.
It is this shared culture across all the many differences deﬁning life and living that interests me. (1997, 10 –11) Nordstrom thus theorizes violence as a socializing frame in its own right, casting it as a force capable of carrying the entirety of its own meaning within itself—a meaning that is somehow both culturally and socially uninformed in its own constitution and capable of imposing itself in common ways on all those who experience it regardless of their prior social and cultural differences.
Kupilikula is particularly distinctive in its historical depth, tracing the continuities and changes in uwavi throughout the most signiﬁcant political-economic shifts in twentieth-century social existence on the Muedan plateau, including missionization, colonialism, the anticolonial struggle, civil war, and postconﬂict neoliberal reform. Through careful ethnohistorical reconstruction the author demonstrates that the remarkable resilience of uwavi discourse as a “distinctive sensibility about the workings of power in the worlds [Muedans] inhabit” (2005, 6) is related to its capacity to explain dramatic change, its penchant for incorporating new forms of knowledge, and its ability to reinterpret in its own terms even those ideological propositions that have sought to directly supplant it.