Faculty Resarch Scholar, Center for Research on Families (2011-2012)

7 03 2011

Tight Knit: Two Familisms in One Country

My current research seeks to illuminate how families negotiate the terms of transnational capitalism and the novel models of social organization and practices that underwrite its dynamics in one region of southern Europe. Here, a demographic “crisis” of very low fertility collides with an economic “crisis” of globalization. The “family” as a social unit has become politically charged. An industrial district in Central Italy serves as an ethnographic laboratory to explore how two populations contend with the structural inequalities, power dynamics and governing strategies of globalization. My new project focuses on relations between and within local Italian and transnational Chinese families in Prato, Italy, where small- to medium-sized firms predominate. Each of these populations has specific histories of flexibility and networking strategies moored in familistic regimes. The project seeks to understand how different varieties of familism persist or morph. It pursues three interrelated lines of inquiry: 1) How do meanings and practices related to familism manifest and matter within and between Chinese and Italian textile entrepreneurs and workers? 2) How do Italian and Chinese families recollect and deploy diverse histories of flexibility and deep values of trust, reciprocity and obligation to negotiate globalization? and 3) How do these familistic regimes respond to local-global formations and conditions, such as new forms of surveillance, intervention, and discipline directed at the body?


14 07 2010

Cultural Anthropology has launched its new website on social class and citizenship. It’s a great site! I’m honored to have it feature my work on Italian reproductive politics.


Book launch party!

24 09 2009

About the cover art: Original painting by Quinto Martini, Donne di campagna – Trecciaiole che dormono (Country women – Straw weavers sleeping), 1925

Amherst Books is hosting a book launch party Wednesday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the release of my new book, Unraveled. Jazz Sketches will provide tunes.

Hot off the press…

24 07 2009

The University of California Press has just released my new book, Unraveled: A Weaver’s Tale of Life Gone Modern. The catalog makes it sound doggone good:

“Deftly bridging literary conventions, this compelling work exposes the cultural origins of a quiet revolution that occurred over the course of the twentieth century. Krause combines novelistic and ethnographic techniques to get at population dynamics that have raised alarm across Europe and the United States, and manifested, for example, in Italy’s extremely low birthrate. But what actually motivates people to have fewer children? Krause turns to the evocative story of one woman, Emilia Raugei, who was born in a Tuscan hill town in 1920 and worked as a straw weaver in a rapidly globalizing economy….” Read more at the University of California Press.

In the news…

29 03 2009


Read the interview with me in the March 3, 2008, issue of The Nation.

Missing: The ‘Right’ Babies

Kathryn Joyce : Christian-right activists look at falling birthrates among whites and rising Muslim immigration in Europe and warn of a looming “demographic winter.”