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History in Person

Enduring Struggles, Contentious Practice, Intimate Identities

Edited by Dorothy Holland and Jean Lave

Extended conflict situations in Northern Ireland or South Africa, the local effects of the rise of multinational corporations, and conflicts in workplaces, households, and academic fields are all crucibles for the forging of identities. In this volume, the authors bring their research to bear on enduring struggles and the practices of identity within those struggles. This collection of essays explores the innermost, generative aspects of subjects as social, cultural, and historical beings and raises serious questions about long-term conflicts and sustained identities in the world today. Nine ethnographers address such topics as the politically sexualized transformation of identities of women political prisoners in Northern Ireland; the changing character of political activism across generations in a Guatemala Mayan family; the cultural forms that mediate the struggles of working-class men on shop floors in England; and class and community struggles between the state and grassroots activists in New York.

2001. 408 pp., 6 black-and-white illustrations, notes, references, index, 6 x 9

Contributors: Carole L. Crumley, Joel D. Gunn, Fekri A. Hassan, Alice E. Ingerson, William H. Marquardt, Thomas H. McGovern, Thomas C. Patterson, Peter R. Schmidt, Bruce P. Winterhalder

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“The theory of Holland and Lave helps resolve the recent debate in anthropology of education over identity replacing culture as the key organizing concept of the field…. The editors’ theory shows quite explicitly how both identity and culture are part of the same complex processes…. A rich lode of concepts, ideas for research, and empirical examples.”
—Dr. Jacquetta Hill, Anthropology and Education Quarterly

“This is an impressive collection of high-quality, well-written articles that deal with urgent social problems and central dilemmas of contemporary social and cultural anthropology.”
—Dr. Peter Hervik, University of Oslo, Norway

“This volume offers a richly textured sense of the persons, of individuals as agents acting within, reflection on and transcending the structures of identity….They [the authors] have successfully pulled together vital ethnographics out of which compelling, new questions arise.”
—Janet Keller, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana


  1. History in Person: An Introduction
    Dorothy Holland and Jean Lave
  2. Engendering Violence: Strip-Searching of Women in Northern Ireland
    Begona Aretxaga
  3. Indigenous Activism across Generations: An Intimate Social History of Antiracism Organizing in Guatemala
    Kay B. Warren
  4. From Women’s Suffering to Women’s Politics: Reimagining Women after Nepal’s 1990 Pro-Democracy Movement
  5. Placing the Politics of Black Class Formation
    Steven Gregory
  6. “Tekin’ the Piss”
    Paul Willis
  7. The Identity Path of Eduardo Mori
    Daniel T. Linger
  8. Class and Identity: The Jujitsu of Domination and Resistance in Oaxacalifornia
    Michael Kearny
  9. Getting to Be British
    Jean Lave
  10. Figures of the Future: Dystopia and Subjectivity in the Social Imagination of the Future
    Liisa H. Malkki

There are no working papers for this book at the present time.