Producing Culture and Capital is a major theoretical contribution to the anthropological literature on capitalism, as well as a rich case study of kinship and gender relations in northern Italy.
Drawing on ethnographic and archival research on thirty-eight firms in northern Italy's silk industry, Sylvia Yanagisako illuminates the cultural processes through which sentiments, desires, and commitments motivate and shape capitalist family firms. She shows how flexible specialization is produced through the cultural dynamics of capital accumulation, management succession, firm expansion and diversification, and the reproduction and division of firms. In doing so, Yanagisako addresses two gaps in Marx's and Weber's theories of capitalism: the absence of an adequate cultural theory of capitalist motivation and the absence of attention to kinship and gender. By demonstrating that kinship and gender are crucial in structuring capitalist action, this study reveals these two gaps to be different facets of the same omission. A process-oriented approach to class formation and class subjectivity enables the author to incorporate the material and ideological struggles within families into an analysis of class-making and self-making.
Yanagisako concludes that both "provincial" and "global" capitalist orientations and strategies operate in an industry that has always been integrated into regional and international relations of production and distribution. Her approach to culture and capitalism as mutually constituted processes offers an alternative to both universal models of capitalism as a mode of production and essentialist models of distinctive "cultures of capitalism."
"A welcome and refreshing addition to the existing literature."--Anna Centro Bull, Anthropological Quarterly
"[An] engaging, provocative, and important book."--Victoria Goddard, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute
"Yanagisako develops an important theoretical critique of both Marxist and Weberian analyses of capitalism. Her study is especially trenchant with regard to entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial culture. Along the way, Yanagisako raises questions about kinship, and we discover that betrayal and estrangement are as integral to the workings of kin relations as are trust and solidarity."--Jane Schneider, City University of New York
"This book masterfully brings together data and theory in such a way that one does not colonize the other but constantly questions and deepens it. This kind of anthropological work takes time to accomplish; Yanagisako has gone against the grain to produce a work of enduring value."--Donald D. Donham, Emory University
"Producing Culture and Capital is a long-awaited book that delivers on its promises. It offers both a sustained theoretical argument and a detailed case study of the silk industry in northern Italy. Consequently, it provides one of the rare examples of a detailed study of modern capitalism from an anthropological perspective. Clearly written, it will be used in courses as well as widely debated and reviewed."--Paul Rabinow, University of California, Berkeley
Table of Contents:
List of Figures and Tables ix
Preface and Acknowledgments xi
Chapter One: PRODUCING CULTURE AND CAPITAL 1
Chapter Two: THE GENERATION OF FIRMS 35
Chapter Three: PATRIARCHAL DESIRE 70
Chapter Four: BETRAYAL AS A FORCE OF PRODUCTION 110
Chapter Five: CAPITAL AND GENDERED SENTIMENTS 145
Chapter Six: CONCLUSION 174