© 2012

Governing Cultures

Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power, and Government

  • Editors
  • Kendra Coulter
  • William R. Schumann

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-viii
  2. Kendra Coulter, William R. Schumann
    Pages 1-19
  3. Tara A. Schwegler
    Pages 21-46
  4. Alan Smart, Josephine Smart
    Pages 69-92
  5. William R. Schumann
    Pages 93-109
  6. Kendra Coulter
    Pages 137-157
  7. Susan Brin Hyatt
    Pages 159-181
  8. David V. Fazzino II
    Pages 183-208
  9. John Clarke
    Pages 209-231
  10. Back Matter
    Pages 233-238

About this book


By assembling original, ethnographically-grounded research in legislatures, executives, and bureaucracies, this volume illuminates and unpacks the structures, practices, and values of government actors in local, regional, and national contexts.

About the authors

KIM CLARK University of Western Ontario, Canada JOHN CLARKE The Open University DAVID FAZZINO University of Alaska at Fairbanks, USA ILANA GERSHON Indiana University, USA SUSAN BRIN HYATT Indiana University/Purdue University at Indianapolis, USA TARA SCHWEGLER Independent scholar ALAN SMART University of Calgary, Canada JOSEPHINE SMART University of Calgary, Canada

Bibliographic information


"A groundbreaking collection of innovative studies of the complicated doing of governing, Governing Cultures is essential reading for anyone - in anthropology, sociology, geography, political science, or policy science - interested in productions and relations of labor, power, and meaning in government. Coulter and Schumann bring together analyses of the heterogeneous specificities of governing cultures and cultures of governing that together lay the theoretical and methodological foundations for a much needed new anthropology of government." - Catherine Kingfisher, professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Lethbridge

"This collection provides a fascinating exploration of the work of governing from an anthropological perspective. It presents a range of detailed ethnographic studies which engage with theories of governmentality and the state, and illustrates that the practice of governing is infinitely more contested than theoretical abstraction implies. The empirical focus is wide-ranging and international including discussions of food security, how governments and governing are gendered, the work involved in creating political identities for nations and states, and how indigenous peoples engage with processes of governing. It includes historical analyses as well as more contemporary ethnographic research and is an important contribution to our understanding of the process of government in all its messiness and complexity." - Nickie Charles, professor, Department of Sociology and Director of the Centre for the Study of Women and Gender, University of Warwick