The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism

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September 2002



In late-capitalist Western society, cross-ethnic cultural transactions are an inevitable daily routine. Yet, according to acclaimed cultural critic Rey Chow, the notion of ethnicity as it is currently used is theoretically ambivalent, confusing, indeed self-contradictory, straddling as it does an uneasy boundary between a universalist rhetoric of inclusion on the one hand, and actual, lived experiences of violence and intolerance on the other. To drastically reconceptualize ethnicity in the contemporary world, Chow proposes that it be examined in conjunction with Max Weber's famous theory about the Protestant work ethic and capitalism, which holds that secular belief in salvation often collaborates effectively with the interpellation, disciplining, and rewarding of subjects constituted by specific forms of labor. The charged figure that results from such a collaboration, resonant with the economic, psychological, and spiritual implications of the word "protest, " is what she refers to as the protestant ethnic.Chow explores the vicissitudes of cross-ethnic representational politics in a diverse range of texts across multiple genres, including the writings of Georg Lukacs, Michel Foucault, Max Weber, Jacques Derrida, Fredric Jameson, Etienne Balibar, Charlotte Brontë, Garrett Hongo, John Yau, and Frantz Fanon; the films of Alfred Hitchcock, Marguerite Duras, and Alain Resnais; and the cartoon drawings of Larry Feign. Tracing out hauntingly familiar scenarios from stereotyping and coercive mimeticism to collective narcissistic abjection, the rise of white feminist racial power, and intraethnic ressentiment, Chow articulates a series of interlocking critical dialogues that challenge readers into hitherto unimagined ways of thinking about an urgent topic.


Introduction: From Biopower to Ethnic Difference
Chapter 1. The Protestant Ethnic and the Spirit of Capitalism
Chapter 2. Brushes with the-Other-as-Face: Stereotyping and Cross-Ethnic Representation
Chapter 3. Keeping Them in Their Place: Coercive Mimeticism and Cross-Ethnic Representation
Chapter 4. The Secrets of Ethnic Abjection
Chapter 5. When Whiteness Feminizes... : Some Consequences of a Supplementary Logic
Postscript: Beyond Ethnic "Ressentiment"?


Rey Chow


"There is nothing is faced simply with the imperative to think harder and better about the problems that face back from the surface of the world." -- Eric Hayot, Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews
EAN: 9780231124218
ISBN: 023112421X
Untertitel: Illustrations. Sprache: Englisch.
Verlag: Columbia University Press
Erscheinungsdatum: September 2002
Seitenanzahl: 224 Seiten
Format: kartoniert
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