Shifting States: New Perspectives on Security, Infrastructure and Political Affect

Alison Dundon (Editor), Richard Vokes (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportEdited book/Anthologypeer-review


Shifting States draws on a rich history of anthropological theorising on all kinds of states – from the pre- to the post- industrial – and explores topics as diverse as bureaucracy, infrastructure, surveillance, securitization, and public health.

As we enter the third decade of the twentieth century, there is a growing sense that ‘the state’ is everywhere in crisis. Although the nature of this perceived crisis varies from place to place, it is everywhere seen to have been caused by some combination of the (inter-related) forces of ‘globalisation’, of successive economic shocks, and of the rise of social media-fuelled populist movements. Yet, conversely, there is also a creeping perception that state power is becoming more pervasive in its reach, and in its effects, in ways which make it ever more imminent to the material worlds in which we live, more fundamental to the ways in which we conceive of the future, and more foundational to our very sense of self. How might we try to make sense of, and to mediate, these apparently contradictory impressions?

Based on ethnographic case studies from all over the world, this timely volume forges new ways of thinking about how state power manifests, and is imagined, and about the effects it has on ordinary people’s lives. In so doing, it provides tools not only for understanding states’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also for judging what effects these responses are likely to have.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages234
ISBN (Electronic)9781003086673
ISBN (Print)9781350125575
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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