1. University of Virginia
  2. Arts & Sciences

Political Economy: Local Lives in a Global World

Anthropology at the University of Virginia is a center for research on the diversity of systems of production, consumption, and exchange around the world. Our faculty are known for studying both small and large scale regional systems. At the global level we focus on the fact that the experiences and perspectives of policy makers, corporate managers, and NGO leaders are in many ways as local as those of indigenous and local people who have traditionally been the subjects of anthropological investigation. Accordingly, Virginia Anthropology integrates ethnographic study with the advancement of theory to explore questions like: How are ideas about globalization and “the global” as a field of action inflected by specificities of culture, privilege, and local political economy in both elite and non-elite social worlds? How are powerful corporate actors such as business corporations, states, and NGOs actualized across different contexts and scales? A major focus is on how communication systems organize regional dynamics. So, how do virtual connections created by internet representations feed particular transformations of physical spaces in economic development and environmental conservation? What forms of kinship and social networks are emerging from and shaping contemporary transformations of local and global political economies? What forms of disconnection, exclusion, and inequality are co-emerging alongside regional and transnational flows and connections? In examining such questions, we attend to the situatedness of value, desire, and morality in particular contexts, as well as the deep history of regional and global interconnections and transformation. Studying global realities from these perspectives generates important questions and insights for an emerging ethics of globalization.