NLR 78

Göran TherbornClass in the 21st Century

From São Paulo to Beijing, a rising middle class has been hailed by liberal commentators as a bulwark for consumption and democracy in the decades ahead. Taking stock of these claims, Göran Therborn offers a magisterial overview of the global class landscape and the still prodigious numerical weight of manual workers within it.

Jacob CollinsAn Anthropological Turn?

Alongside the familiar pathways of French post-structuralist thought, Jacob Collins detects an alternative trajectory in the work of four thinkers whose allegiances span the political spectrum. The return to ethnographical concepts of social belonging—fraternity, family, faith—amid the multiple crises of the 1970s.

Patrick WilckenThe Reckoning

Unlike its neighbours, Brazil has yet to confront the crimes of its military dictatorship. As a Truth Commission sifts evidence of torture, killings and disappearances—many of whose survivors are now in high office—what will be the upshot of a belated accounting with the past?

Mario Sergio ContiRise of the Image-Makers

A leading journalist considers the transformations in Brazil’s media sphere in the post-dictatorship period. Reporters turned marketeers, policies become products, money and power ever more tightly interwoven, within a landscape reformatted by new technologies.

Andrew SmithOn Shopworking

A meditation on the peculiar relations of power between customers and retail staff, informed by direct experience. Required to enforce the logic of a system over which they have no control, shopworkers take refuge in forms of tacit resistance, distancing themselves from their ambiguous role in the circuits of modern capitalism.

Michael CramerRossellini’s History Lessons

Why did the director of Rome Open City and Journey to Italy devote himself to a vast philosophical-historical education project? Michael Cramer explores the conceptual underpinning and aesthetic iconoclasm of Rossellini’s TV epics.

A Liberal Geoculture?

Jennifer Pitts on Immanuel Wallerstein, The Modern World-System IV: Centrist Liberalism Triumphant, 1789–1914. A seminal multi-volume account of the ‘capitalist world-economy’ reaches the long 19th century.

Under the Flag

Barry Schwabsky on Anne Wagner, A House Divided: American Art since 1955. Painting and sculpture in the age—and shadow—of US hegemony.

Life and Death in Annawadi

Jan Breman on Katherine Boo, Behind the Beautiful Forevers. Close-quarters chronicle of life in a Mumbai slum-settlement.