I Am Dynamite
An Alternative Anthropology of Power
Foreword by Michael Jackson
Routledge – 2003 – 304 pages
Power is conventionally regarded as being held by social institutions. We are taught to believe that it is these social structures that determine the environment and circumstances of individual lives. In I Am Dynamite, the anthropologist Nigel Rappaport argues for a different view. Focusing on the lives and works of the writer and Auschwitz survivor Primo Levi, refugee and engineer Ben Glaser, Israeli ceramicist and immigrant Rachel Siblerstein, artist Stanley Spencer, and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, he shows how we can have the capacity and inclination to formulate 'life projects'. It is in the pursuit of these life projects, that is, making our life our work, that we can avoid the structures of ideology and institution.
'An important and contentious book… It could stimulate a cult!' - Anthony Cohen, Queen Margaret University College, Edinburgh
'[Rapport's] use of ethnographic biographies provides an exciting model for future anthropological investigations and helps us to retain understanding and sympathy for people and the reality of their lived worlds for them.' - The Australian Journal of Anthropology
PART I: PROPOSITIONS individuality: Consciousness, World-view, Narrative, Life-Project and Interaction, Individuality and Ironic Displacement, Displacement and '"In Order To" Motives', "In Order To" Motives and Prior Conditions, The Conditions of Political Power and Existential Power PART II: ILLUSTRATIONS Friedrich Nietzsche and the Wilfulness of Power-Quanta, Ben Glaser and the Composing of 'Cosmos 1' and '2', Rachel Silberstein and the Relentless Road to Personal Completion, Stanley Spencer and the Visionary Metaphysic of Love PART III: DISCUSSIONS The Power of Any Body-in-its-Environment, Total Institutions and the Violence of Society: The Death of Power?
Nigel Rapport holds the Chair in Anthropological and Philosophical Studies in the Department of Social Anthropology at the University of St Andrews. His books include Key Concepts in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Routledge, 2000), British Subjects (2002) and Transcendent Individual (Routledge, 1997). He has received awards from the Royal Anthropological Institute and the Royal Society of Edinburgh.