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Agency at Work

Ethnographies in/of Late Industrialism


Edited By Monika Baer

Rooted in anthropological and ethnological traditions, this volume offers analytical insights into workings of agency in late industrialism revealed in interactions between a coal power plant and a local community in Opole, Silesia, in southwestern Poland. In this context, the authors show by the use of the ethnographic method, how variables and forces of various scales shape political events centered around the power plant; grassroot economic dynamics and entrepreneurship; local semiosphere uniting the divided social group; affective dimensions of a social protest; (un)doing gender in the industrial workplace; and mobile livelihoods of migrant industrial workers. All of them, in one way or another, attempt to escape problems raised by analyses focused solely on human acting subjects.

Opole Power Plant as a socio-political catalyst – Local community in the face of intense economic changes – Bottom-up economic strategies – Revival of local identity under political pressure – Affective togetherness – Femininities in the face of large industrial investment – Mobility, affects and agency in late industrialism