The Cultural Politics of Markets

The Cultural Politics of Markets : Economic Liberalization and Social Change in Nepal

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'I know of no other book which so effectively addresses the question of culture and development in the contemporary global scene and speaks to both planners and anthropologists alike.' David Holmberg, Cornell University 'An outstanding study of the impact of economic liberalisation in Nepali society.' Professor John Harriss, Director of the Development Studies Insitute, London School of Economics 'With this careful unpacking of the neo-liberal tenet that market access equals social opportunity Katharine Rankin makes a significant contribution to the vibrant growth of new research.' Katherine Gibson, The Australian National University 'A classic study of the interaction between market and non-market relations.' Ben Fine, Professor of Economics, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London This book is a study of the social embeddedness of markets, in an era when the ideology of the 'free market' governs development as much as trade. Using a wide theoretical framework that encompasses both anthropology and geography, Katharine Rankin critiques neoliberal approaches to development, showing that the capitalist market will always be linked to local social structures and cultures of value. Market-led development, therefore, does not necessarily expand opportunity; rather it can deepen existing injustic and inequality. Using the example of a 'traditional' Newar market town located in the Kathmandu Valley in Nepal, Rankin explores how the 'value' ascribed to social prestige relates to economic opportunity. Showing how those in subordinate social locations are positioned to critique inequality, Rankin argues that planners should pursue progressive notions of development that recognise the critical resources within culture.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 136 x 210 x 18mm | 399.17g
  • PLUTO PRESS
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 4 maps /1 figures
  • 0745319440
  • 9780745319445
  • 1,535,454

About Katharine N. Rankin

Katharine Rankin is Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in Canada. Her interest in this topic began with studying the impact of global developments on women in Nepal. Recent research has been published in Economy and Society, International Planning Studies, Journal of Feminist Economics, Gender, Place and Culture, and Progress in Human Geography.show more

Table of contents

1. Cultural Politics of Markets 2. Anthropologies and Georgraphies of Globalisation 3. Genealogy of Markets and Exchange 4.Newer Representations of Finance 5. Caste and Gender Economies 6. Global-Local Articulations in an age of Neoliberalism 7. Planning and Developmentshow more

Review quote

Through a nuanced account of the social organization of economic practice in the Newar town of Sankhu in Nepal, Katharine Rankin distills important debates in anthropology and geography as they relate to planning in a way that is accessible yet intelligent. She makes a highly original contribution to key issues in planning and development by identifying misrecognitions in the neoliberal ideologies which drive much of the contemporary global development effort. She applies practice theory in a convincing critique of planning agendas framed in this mode and develops her argument through engaging ethnographic and historical accounts of trade, money lending and finance, feasting, exchange, caste, class, gender, and symbolic capital in Sankhu, accounts which have relevance well beyond Nepal. Rankin thus powerfully reasserts the importance of taking local social and symbolic production seriously in the planning process. Her immersion in multiple perspectives and her committed position give the book an energy and integrity which absorb the reader. I know of no other book which so effectively addresses the question of culture and development in the contemporary global scene and speaks to both planners and anthropologists alike. -- David Holmberg, Chair, Department of Anthropology, Cornell University Empirically rich and theoretically engaging, Katharine Rankin's book is an outstanding study of cultural practice and the economy in a town of the Kathmandu Valley, and of the impact of economic liberalisation in Nepali society. It also offers an important critique of current uses of the idea of 'culture' in development discourse. -- Professor John Harriss, Director of the Development Studies Institute, LSE With this careful unpacking of the neo-liberal tenet that market access equals social opportunity Katharine Rankin makes a significant contribution to the vibrant growth of new research on diverse economic practices and their implications for imagining alternative futures. -- Katherine Gibson, Department of Human Geography, Research School of Pacific and Asian Studies, The Australian National University Drawing on extensive fieldwork and experience, Rankin provides a classic study of the interaction between market and non-market relations, one that has the added advantage of analytically, empirically and normatively confining neo-liberalism to the dustbin of vulgar apologetics where it belongs. -- Ben Fine, Professor of Economics, SOAS, Londonshow more

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