Empire Is in the Details
American Ethnologist, Vol. 33, No. 4, pp. 593-611, 2006
19 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2013 Last revised: 11 Sep 2013
Date Written: 2006
Recent writing that identifies the United States as an empire has focused overwhelmingly on its political-economic underpinnings, without questioning the cultural making of value or examining empire as more than an elite project. This writing has not drawn on ethnographic work that would reshape it in more adequate, less economistic forms, make the human face and frailties of imperialism more visible, and, in so doing, make challenges to imperial practice more likely. Focusing on military institutions, and via some examples from U.S. imperial projects in the Philippines and elsewhere, I suggest where ethnographies of empire might be done and what vulnerabilities they might explore.
Keywords: empire, imperialism, United States, military, Philippines
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation