Title The Battle for Fortune
Subtitle State-Led Development, Personhood, and Power among Tibetans in China
Author Charlene Makley
ISBN 9781501719677
List price GBP 22.99
Price outside India Available on Request
Original price
Binding Paperback
No of pages 348
Book size 152 x 228 mm
Publishing year 2018
Original publisher Cornell University Press (Combined Academic Publishers)
Published in India by .
Exclusive distributors Viva Books Private Limited
Sales territory India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, .
Status New Arrival
About the book Send Enquiry

“The analysis in The Battle for Fortune is fresh, original, and packed with insights. It is based on fieldwork in a region that is very difficult to work in, conducted during an extremely politically sensitive time. The Battle for Fortune also makes significant interventions into much broader sets of inquiries on development, capitalism, and anthropological inquiry writ large.”

—Emily T. Yeh, Professor of Geography, University of Colorado at Boulder


The Battle for Fortune conveys a wealth of new insights about the deeply ambivalent, contradictory, and precarious experiences of Tibetan life in the contemporary PRC. Charlene Makley’s rich ethnography and brilliant use of theory will change the way we think of Tibet in these tumultuous early decades of the twenty-first century.”

—Ralph Litzinger, Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Duke University


“Suturing rich ethnographic narrative with deft theoretical analysis, Charlene Makley’s latest work is a timely excavation of neoliberal development practices. Rigorous and legible, this book is an urgent read, not only for students of Tibet and linguistic anthropology, but for anyone keen to deepen their engagement with pressing contemporary quandaries of globalization.”

—Sam Smith, Freelance Editor, Brooklyn, NY


“Karmel... convincingly writes of the need, especially in these times of deregulatory fervor, to challenge the philosophy and reliance on free markets as incapable of regulating and preventing injury and death on the job.... The book relies on serious and well documented scholarship about what is known and what processes exist to document and attempt to control occupational injury in the U.S.... Karmel’s encouragement to get involved, stay outraged, and get proximate is an important challenge to all of us.”

—Glenn Shor, New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy


In a deeply ethnographic appraisal, based on years of in situ research, The Battle for Fortune looks at the rising stakes of Tibetans’ encounters with Chinese state-led development projects in the early 2000s. The book builds upon anthropology’s qualitative approach to personhood, power and space to rethink the premises and consequences of economic development campaigns in China’s multiethnic northwestern province of Qinghai.

Charlene Makley considers Tibetans’ encounters with development projects as first and foremost a historically situated interpretive politics, in which people negotiate the presence or absence of moral and authoritative persons and their associated jurisdictions and powers. Because most Tibetans believe the active presence of deities and other invisible beings has been the ground of power, causation, and fertile or fortunate landscapes, Makley also takes divine beings seriously, refusing to relegate them to a separate, less consequential, “religious” or “premodern” world. The Battle for Fortune, therefore challenges readers to grasp the unique reality of Tibetans’ values and fears in the face of their marginalization in China. Makley uses this approach to encourage a more multidimensional and dynamic understanding of state-local relations than mainstream accounts of development and unrest that portray Tibet and China as a kind of yin-and-yang pair for models of statehood and development in a new global order.


List of Illustrations


List of Abbreviations

Note on Language

Introduction: Olympic Time and Dilemmas of Development in China’s Tibet

Chapter 1. The Dangers of the Gift Master

Chapter 2. The Mountain Deity and the State: Voice, Deity Mediumship, and Land Expropriation in Jima Village

Chapter 3. Othering Spaces, Cementing Treasure: Concrete, Money, and the Politics of Value in Kharnak Village School

Chapter 4. The Melodious Sound of the Right-Turning Conch: Historiography and Buddhist Counterdevelopment in Langmo Village

Chapter 5. Spectacular Compassion: “Natural” Disasters, National Mourning, and the Unquiet Dead

Epilogue: The Kindly Solemn Face of the Female Buddha




About the Author:

Charlene Makley is Professor of Anthropology in the Anthropology Department, Reed College. She is author of The Violence of Liberation: Gender and Tibetan Buddhist Revival in Post-Mao China.

Target Audience:

People interested in Anthropology.

Special prices are applicable to the authorised sales territory only.
Prices are subject to change without prior notice.