I’m just back from a year as a fellow at the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, N.C. What a fantastic place to spend a sabbatical! I was so lucky to have a chance to share work space with 35 fellows and associates across the humanities and have such an amazingly nurturing staff. They were so supportive in helping me to reconnect with my intellectual and writerly self. I was able to get three articles out, all on different projects with different co-authors, as well as make substantial headway toward completing my book manuscript, “Tight Knit: A Biography of Globalization.” It tells the story of how families, individuals, and institutions cope with globalization. I encountered lots of surprises. The project allows me to tell a story about how local practices and individual lives create the living biography of globalization.
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?
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.
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.
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.