Culture in Chaos
An Anthropology of the Social Condition in War
Lubkemann focuses on how Ndau social networks were fragmented by wartime displacement and the profound effect this had on gender relations. Demonstrating how wartime migration and post-conflict return were shaped by social struggles and interests that had little to do with the larger political reasons for the war, Lubkemann contests the assumption that wartime migration is always involuntary. His critical reexamination of displacement and his engagement with broader theories of agency and social change will be of interest to anthropologists, political scientists, historians, and demographers, and to anyone who works in a war zone or with refugees and migrants.
“Sharp, eloquent, and utterly persuasive, this remarkable ethnography changes the way we look at violence and war. In Lubkemann’s skillful hands, we are witness to not just resilience but the constant forging of new social fabric in the most improbable of human conditions.”
“Culture in Chaos is the product of over a decade of research in Mozambique and South Africa, and should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the Mozambique conflict, and indeed conflict and displacement more generally. Lubkemann’s work is empirically rich and theoretically innovative, seeking to understand how and why particular forms of violence emerge as part of the ‘social condition’ of war. It reinforces the point—often ignored—that war and displacement evolve in different ways, with often unexpected outcomes.”