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The notion of ethnicity as it is currently used is theoretically ambivalent, confusing, indeed self-contradictory, according to Rey Chow. To radically reconceptualize the ways ethnicity functions in capitalist society, Chow proposes that it be analyzed in conjunction with Max Weber's famous theory about the protestant work ethic, especially in terms of the economic and psychological, as well as the religious-spiritual, ramifications of the word "protest." In her reading of the politics of ethnicity, she examines a diverse set of texts, works of Foucault, Weber, Derrida, Balibar, Brontë, Asian-American authors Hongo and Yau; films of Hitchcock, Duras, and Resnais; and the drawings of Hong Kong cartoonist Larry Feign.
In The Protestant Ethic, Max Weber opposes the Marxist concept of dialectical materialism and relates the rise of the capitalist economy to the Calvinist belief in the moral value of hard work and the fulfillment of one's worldly duties. Based on the original 1905 edition, this volume includes, along with Weber's treatise, an illuminating introduction, a wealth of explanatory notes, and exemplary responses and remarks-both from Weber and his critics-sparked by publication of The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. This is the first English translation of the 1905 German text and the first volume to include Weber's unexpurgated responses to his critics, which reveal important developments in and clarifications of Weber's argument.
Author's best-known and most controversial study relates the rise of a capitalist economy to the Puritan belief that hard work and good deeds were outward signs of faith and salvation.
The Catholic Church has, for generations, been reluctant to come to terms with capitalism. Novak argues that a 100-year debate within the Catholic Church has yielded a richer and more humane vision of capitalism than that described in Weber's Protestant Ethic.
Although the era of European colonialism has long passed, misgivings about the inequality of the encounters between European and non-European languages persist in many parts of the postcolonial world. This unfinished state of affairs, this lingering historical experience of being caught among unequal languages, is the subject of Rey Chow's book. A diverse group of personae, never before assembled in a similar manner, make their appearances in the various chapters: the young mulatto happening upon a photograph about skin color in a popular magazine; the man from Martinique hearing himself named "Negro" in public in France; call center agents in India trained to Americanize their accents while speaking with customers; the Algerian Jewish philosopher reflecting on his relation to the French language; African intellectuals debating the pros and cons of using English for purposes of creative writing; the translator acting by turns as a traitor and as a mourner in the course of cross-cultural exchange; Cantonese-speaking writers of Chinese contemplating the politics of food consumption; radio drama workers straddling the forms of traditional storytelling and mediatized sound broadcast. In these riveting scenes of speaking and writing imbricated with race, pigmentation, and class demarcations, Chow suggests, postcolonial languaging becomes, de facto, an order of biopolitics. The native speaker, the fulcrum figure often accorded a transcendent status, is realigned here as the repository of illusory linguistic origins and unities. By inserting British and post-British Hong Kong (the city where she grew up) into the languaging controversies that tend to be pursued in Francophone (and occasionally Anglophone) deliberations, and by sketching the fraught situations faced by those coping with the specifics of using Chinese while negotiating with English, Chow not only redefines the geopolitical boundaries of postcolonial inquiry but also demonstrates how such inquiry must articulate historical experience to the habits, practices, affects, and imaginaries based in sounds and scripts.
A century after the publication of Max Weber's The Protestant Ethic and the "Spirit" of Capitalism, a major new work examines network-based organization, employee autonomy and post-Fordist horizontal work structures.
Martin Heidegger once wrote that the world had, in the age of modern science, become a world picture. For Rey Chow, the world has, in the age of atomic bombs, become a world target, to be attacked once it is identified, or so global geopolitics, dominated by the United States since the end of the Second World War, seems repeatedly to confirm. How to articulate the problematics of knowledge production with this aggressive targeting of the world? Chow attempts such an articulation by probing the significance of the chronological proximity of area studies, poststructuralist theory, and comparative literature—fields of inquiry that have each exerted considerable influence but whose mutual implicatedness as postwar U.S. academic phenomena has seldom been theorized. Central to Chow’s discussions is a critique of the predicament of self-referentiality—the compulsive move to interiorize that, in her view, constitutes the collective frenzy of our age—in different contemporary epistemic registers, including the self-consciously avant-garde as well as the militaristic and culturally supremacist. Urging her readers to think beyond the inward-turning focus on EuroAmerica that tends to characterize even the most radical gestures of Western self-deconstruction, Chow envisions much broader intellectual premises for future transcultural work, with reading practices aimed at restoring words and things to their constitutive exteriority.