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The World Trade Center and Global Crisis

The World Trade Center and Global Crisis: Some Critical Perspectives

Edited by Bruce Kapferer
Copyright Date: 2004
Edition: 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 94
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  • Book Info
    The World Trade Center and Global Crisis
    Book Description:

    Numerous humanly caused destructions of just the last hundred years dwarf the World Trade Center disaster, and the attention still addressed to it may over the next few years appear disproportionate. But the significance of events is always determined by the social, political, and cultural forces that are articulated through a particular event. The attack of 9/11 was an event waiting to happen, and when it did occur the even itself became a catalyst and impetus for the changing and redirection of global realities. This volume offers provocative assessments of the reaction to the event from a variety of perspectives that will no doubt stimulate the debate on the meaning and consequences of 9/11.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-864-3
    Subjects: Anthropology, Political Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. [i]-[iv])
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. [v]-[vi])
  3. The World Trade Center and Global Crisis: Some Critical Perspectives
    (pp. 1-4)
    Bruce Kapferer

    The World Trade Center disaster is an event of such significance that it exhausts interpretation. This is not because of the enormity of the event in itself. Numerous humanly caused destructions of just the last hundred years dwarf it in scale, and the attention now addressed to it may over the next yearappeardisproportionate. But events are never significant in the imagination of human beings independently of the way they are socially constructed into significance in the context of the social, political and cultural forces that somehow are articulated through a particular event, and thrown into relief by its...

  4. An Empire of a Certain Kind
    (pp. 5-10)
    Marshall Sahlins

    Rallying the Athenians after a second year of war with the Spartans, the second year of the Peloponnesian War, Pericles warned his countrymen that they were not only in peril of losing their empire but of suffering “from the animosities incurred in its exercise.” “For what you hold,” he told them, “is, to speak somewhat plainly, a tyranny. Perhaps it was wrong to take it, but it would be dangerous to let it go.” Tyranny abroad was the work of the first and (some would say) the greatest democracy known to history. But then, the same sort of contradiction between...

  5. September 11th and After
    (pp. 11-17)
    Keith Hart

    We are connected at last, humanity that is. World society is a reality. It has come home to roost in America. The reduction of the World Trade Center to rubble marked this in the most vivid way possible. The world is one. Boom. That unity is violent. Boom. The sudden shock of recognition that America is in the world, not apart from it. The curious thing about the first decade after the Cold War is that, even as America took over the world, Americans, who come from all over the world, became more insular, more separated from it than before....

  6. From Nine-Eleven to Seven-Eleven: The Poverty of Interpretation
    (pp. 18-25)
    Jonathan Friedman

    Since September 11 2001, there have been a limited number of reactions beyond the initial shock which some might say was the result of media coverage, the actual horror of seeing two planes crash into the Twin Towers. The fact of witnessing the event must be understood here, and the proof of its significance is that the attack on the all-important Pentagon which could not be seen directly, did not provoke the same kind of immediate response. The actual incident is worth consideration since quite a bit has been written and said about it.

    “I watched the scene over and...

  7. Ground Zero Point One: On The Cinematics Of History
    (pp. 26-36)
    Allen Feldman

    The title is already a theory of disaster, of its epistemology and its historiography, which I address as a cinematics of history. I want to examine the imaginary of disaster, the fantasies the disaster of Sepember eleventh both draws upon and has authorized. I view these fantasies as formations of collective memory, and therefore of collective forgetfulness. Thus, they conserve the memory of disaster, but in particular forms that comply with the contours of power and hegemony, in particular forms that divorce the disaster from a multiplex and open-ended history. Thus, I am interested in exploring how disaster is pathologized...

  8. Humanitarianism, Terrorism and the Transnational Border
    (pp. 37-45)
    Michael Humphrey

    Is the legacy of political violence, terror and trauma being used to bring people together or to separate them? Are the consequences of globalization enhancing or undermining the prospects for the development of global ethics and global citizenship?

    The growing hostility towards increasing numbers of asylum seekers in the West, and the impact of the ‘new terrorism’, suggests that the 1990s optimism about the expansion of human rights law, the global media-engendered humanitarianism and humanitarian intervention by states, on behalf of human rights victims, is very fragile. Firstly, victims only made visible through global media can too easily be robbed...

  9. Arab Americans and the Criminalization of Dissent
    (pp. 46-51)
    Ibrahim Aoude

    George W. Bush depicted the events of September 11 in uncomplicated terms: EVIL.

    Good, in the end, shall triumph becauseGodis on America’s side. Civilization, through its destructive military forces, shall go to Afghanistan and rid the world of the Taliban regime and ‘the evil one.’ America has entered into a global conflict with Terrorism. To appease the Arab world and the Islamic countries, Bush declared that “this is not a war against Islam.” His administration also declared that it would seek a resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Meanwhile, on the home front, hate crimes against Arab Americans and...

  10. “My Son is a Fanatic” or How to Have Things Both Ways in a Heritage Debate
    (pp. 52-58)
    Michael Rowlands

    There were sixty thousand applications for British citizenship (i.e., nationality applications) made last year in the UK. The immigration service keeps records of the origins and conditions of all asylum applications which form the basis on which adjudicators make decisions about rights of appeal and permissions to stay. Moreover, all refusals of asylum applications should be made on the basis of whether conditions of origin would imply a significant risk of persecution if they were returned. Much of the controversy over these decisions comes from the nature of the evidence used by the Home Office, and by adjudicators to decide...

  11. Just Wars, Civilisation and Empire in Postmodernity: Perspectives from South of the Rio Grande
    (pp. 59-70)
    John Gledhill

    My periods of fieldwork in Mexico bizarrely always seem to coincide with an international crisis: first the Malvinas, then the Gulf War and now September 11th2001 and its aftermath. Local responses to each of these episodes were, however, different. Beyond a horror of war in general (a legacy of the country’s own revolutionary wars), sympathy for the Argentine position and hostility to Britain was not pervasive in 1982, a salutary reminder that ‘Latin America’ is not a unit of identity for most people. The Gulf War, in contrast, provoked a stronger reaction against the United States in the region...

  12. September 11 and October 7: From Human Tragedy to Power Politics
    (pp. 71-78)
    Leif Manger

    The attack on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center on September 11 will, of course, remain a landmark in modern world history. But so will October 7, when the Americans started bombing Afghanistan. The first event produced reactions around the world that were mostly humanitarian in tone. People were shocked, and no one had any problem sympathizing with the human suffering involved in the attack. The second event started a series of reactions that were political in nature. The American reaction brought us all back to the realm of power politics, and by that the understanding of September 11...

  13. The New Leviathan and the Crisis of Criticism in the Social Sciences
    (pp. 79-85)
    Bruce Kapferer

    The WTC event raises major issues concerning the current state of the social sciences and most especially anthropology. The last twenty or so years have seen major redirections in the course of anthropology as a discipline. Many of these have been necessary and stimulating. Nonetheless, there appears to be a retreat in anthropology from a challenging and critical role that had become one of its most important stocks in trade. This retreat is shared with other disciplines across the spectrum of the humanities and social sciences, and I think is connected with the decline of the liberal institution of the...

  14. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 86-88)