Llobera, Josep R.

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Llobera, Josep R.

PERSONAL:

Born in Havana, Cuba; immigrated to England, 1969; naturalized British citizen. Education: University College—London, diplomate in social anthropology, 1971, Ph.D., 1978.

ADDRESSES:

Office—University College—London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, England. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

University of London, Goldsmiths' College, London, England, visiting professor of anthropology, 1996—; Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, visiting professor of anthropology, 1996—.

WRITINGS:

Las sociedades primitives (title means "Primitive Societies"), Salvat (Barcelona, Spain), 1974.

(Editor, with Anne M. Bailey) The Asiatic Mode of Production: Science and Politics, Routledge & Kegan Paul (Boston, MA), 1981.

(Editor, with Joel S. Kahn) The Anthropology of Precapitalist Societies, Humanities Press (Atlantic Highlands, NJ), 1981.

Caminos discordantes: Centralidad y marginalidad en la historia de las ciencias sociales, Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1989.

La identidad de la antropología, Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 1990.

(Editor, contributor, translator, and author of introduction) Family, Class and Nation in Catalonia, Mare Nostrum (London, England), 1991.

(Editor, with Victoria A. Goddard and Cris Shore) The Anthropology of Europe: Identity and Boundaries in Conflict, Berg (Oxford, England), 1994.

The God of Modernity: The Development of Nationalism in Western Europe, Berg (Oxford, England), 1994.

(With others) Culturas, estados, ciudadanos: Una aproximación al multiculturalismo en Europa, edited by Emilio Lamo de Espinosa, Alianza Editorial/Fundación José Ortega y Gasset/Fundación "la Caixa" (Madrid, Spain), 1995.

Foundations of National Identity: From Catalonia to Europe, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2003.

An Invitation to Anthropology: The Structure, Evolution, and Cultural Identity of Human Societies, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2003.

The Making of Totalitarian Thought, Berg (New York, NY), 2003.

Reminiscences of a Distant Past (novel), Mare Nostrum (London, England); 2006.

Contributor of articles to books and collections, including The Sociological Domain, edited by P. Besnard, Cambridge University Press (Cambridge, England), 1983; History and Ethnicity, edited by E. Tonkin and others, Routledge (London, England), 1989; European Identity and the Search for Legitimacy, edited by S. García, Pinter/Royal Institute of International Affairs (London, England), 1993; Después de Malinowski, edited by J. Bestard, Ediciones el Productor (Tenerife, Spain), 1993; Debating Durkheim, edited by W. Pickering and H. Martins, Routledge (London, England), 1994; (Ethno) Nation-Building, Goldsmiths Sociology Papers (London, England), 1996; Nationalism and National Identity in the Iberian Peninsula, edited by C. Mar-Molinero and A. Smith, Berg (Oxford, England), 1996; Rethinking Nationalism and Ethnicity: The Struggle for Meaning and Order in Europe, edited by H.R. Wicker, Berg (Oxford, England), 1997; Researching Society and Culture, edited by C. Seale, Sage (London, England), 1998; Core Sociological Dichotomies, edited by C. Jenks, Sage (London, England), 1998; Manual d'antropologia social, Pòrtic (Barcelona, Spain), 1999; Las identidades y las tensiones culturales de la modernidad, FAAEE (Santiago de Compostela, Spain), 1999; Nationalisme: Debats i dilemmes per un nou milleni, edited by M. Guibernau, Proa (Barcelona, Span), 2000; Cultura i poder local, Edicions de la Diputació de Barcelona (Barcelona, Spain), 2000; Encyclopaedia of Nationalism, edited by A. Leoussi, Transaction Publishers (New York, NY), 2000; Durkheim: Critical Assessments, edited by W. Pickering, Routledge (London, England), 2001; Filoso-fia de la cultura, SHAF (Valencia, Spain), 2001; Governing European Diversity, edited by M. Guibernau, Routledge (London, England), 2001; Etnicidade e nacionalismo, edited by X.M. Gonzalo-Reboredo, Consello da Cultura Galega (Santiago, Spain), 2001; Ideologia i conflicte lingüistic, edited by T. Mollà, Brumera (Alcoi, Spain), 2001; Fonaments antropològics del comportament humá, Barcelona: UOC (Barcelona, Spain), 2001; La teoría del nacionalisme a França, Editorial Afers (Valencia, Spain), 2002; Ensayos de filosofia de la cultura, edited by Joan B. Llinares and Nicolás Sanchez-Durá, Biblioteca Nueva (Madrid, Spain), 2002; De Catalunya a Europa, Empuries/Anagrama (Barcelona, Spain), 2003; Foundations of National Identity, Berghahn (Oxford, England), 2004.

Contributor to periodicals, including Ethnic and Racial Studies, Critique of Anthropology, Journal of the Anthropological Society of Oxford, Nations and Nationalism, Etnofoor, L'Avenç, Social Anthropology, Quaderns de l'ICA, and Islands and Empires.

SIDELIGHTS:

University of London anthropologist Josep R. Llobera is the author of studies of the science of anthropology and the societies of Western Europe, including The God of Modernity: The Development of Nationalism in Western Europe, The Anthropology of Europe: Identity and Boundaries in Conflict, Foundations of National Identity: From Catalonia to Europe, and An Invitation to Anthropology: The Structure, Evolution, and Cultural Identity of Human Societies. All these volumes deal with the question of how human beings construct identity in the form of groups, societies, and cultures.

The first three books deal specifically with the creation of identity within the European Union as individual nation-states that had formed centuries before try to maintain their uniqueness while learning to operate within a federal system of government. The last book, An Invitation to Anthropology, is an introduction to the science Llobera practices aimed at university undergraduates. "Using a modular approach," wrote Raymond Scupin in his Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute review, "Llobera defines anthropology as consisting of social/cultural, biological/psychological, evolutionary/historical, and comparative studies." This, he says, "parallels the four-field approach" used by other comparable U.S. textbooks. The author also maintains, Scupin added, "that anthropology has both a scientific (causal-explanatory) and humanistic method that are complementary, yet he emphasizes anthropology as an objective scientific enterprise subject to hypothesis-testing."

An Invitation to Anthropology presents Llobera's ideas about how anthropologists ought to view their own cultures. This is a relatively new idea in the field, as the author explaines in his introduction to the textbook. "While in the past social anthropology had a clearly defined object of study—it dealt mostly with so called ‘primitive’ societies by means of fieldwork—at present the lines are much more blurred," Llobera writes. In the past decade or so, anthropologists (like professionals in other disciplines) have begun examining their subjects through the lenses of other types of thought. "If social anthropologists are no longer confined to the study of exotic societies, presently they have to compete with other social scientists, mostly sociologists, in these pursuits," the author continues. "In so far as they look at the past, and that happens now regularly, social anthropologists share the same reality as historians."

The God of Modernity examines the recent history of Europe in light of the emerging concept of nationalism—an important concept because of the breakup of the Soviet Union and the elimination of the European colonial empires. "Many new states, in Africa and in Asia, as well as some of the old European states are suffering nationalist ravages in the form of claims for autonomy or for outright independence from subjected (ethno) nations within their borders," Llobera explains in the book. "The God of Modernity attempts to account for the persistence of national identities in Western Europe," declared Wendy Salter in the Journal of European Studies. "Josep Llobera contends that, although Western European history is ‘the history of the qualified failure of the so-called nation-state’ …, the continued resilience, indeed, celebration, of national consciousness demand that nationalism (the ‘God of Modernity’) be explained as more than the invented ideology of an ‘imagined community,’ as key works by Ernest Gellner, E.J. Hobsbawm and Benedict Anderson suggest." For modern Europeans, the author continued, nationalism has in some ways taken on the traditional role of a religion: it serves as the highest focus for group cohesion and draws people from different social positions and classes together. It had its origins in Western Europe in the early modern period, according to Llobera: "It is my belief that any theory of nationalism should start by trying to account for the convergence and development of nationalism in [Western Europe]. Only when we are clear about the meaning of nationalism in Western Europe can we hope to come to terms with its diffusion to other parts of the world."

Foundations of National Identity considers the impact that European nationalism has had on suppressed ethnic identities within Western European nations. Llobera, a native Catalan, examines the history of his own ethnicity and its possible future within the European Union. At the same time, Llobera introduces larger questions of national identity in the book. "How can one be a Catalan (or a Scot, or a Breton, or a Basque) in the new century?" he asked in his introduction to the volume. "In other words, what sense does it make to opt for a small-nation identity? We all have available much wider identities, and yet some people stubbornly persist in clinging to their ethno-national roots…. At a time when, we are told, the nationstate is being at least partly superseded by supranational institutions like the European Union, what is the rationale behind the insistence on sticking to parochial loyalties?" "Although Llobera's discussions of the literature on nationalism are always interesting and original, often provocative and thought-provoking, and although his comparative sweeps are always informative and sometimes illuminating," Thomas Hylland Eriksen noted in the Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, "the strength of this book lies in its detailed description of Catalan national identity and the ultimately convincing defence of its cultural and linguistic foundations."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Llobera, Josep R., The God of Modernity: The Development of Nationalism in Western Europe, Berg (Oxford, England), 1994.

Llobera, Josep R., An Invitation to Anthropology: The Structure, Evolution, and Cultural Identity of Human Societies, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2003.

Llobera, Josep R., Foundations of National Identity: From Catalonia to Europe, Berghahn Books (New York, NY), 2003.

PERIODICALS

Contemporary Sociology, May 1, 1996, Liah Greenfeld, review of The God of Modernity, p. 358.

European History Quarterly, October 1, 1996, H.G. Koenigsberger, review of The God of Modernity, p. 591.

History: The Journal of the Historical Association, January 1, 1997, John R. Davis, review of The God of Modernity, p. 98.

International History Review, May 1, 1997, James Mayall, review of The God of Modernity, p. 480.

Journal of European Studies, June 1, 1995, Wendy Salter, review of The Anthropology of Europe: Identity and Boundaries in Conflict, p. 200.

Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, December 1, 2004, Raymond Scupin, review of An Invitation to Anthropology, p. 923; March 1, 2006, Thomas Hylland Eriksen, review of Foundations of National Identity, p. 229.

New Community, October 1, 1995, Jeremy MacClancy, review of The Anthropology of Europe, p. 615; January 1, 1996, Montserrat Guibernau, review of The God of Modernity, p. 166.

Reference & Research Book News, May 1, 2004, review of An Invitation to Anthropology, p. 72; February 1, 2005, review of Foundations of National Identity, p. 167.

Social Anthropology, June 1, 2005, Firouz Gaini, review of An Invitation to Anthropology, p. 235.

Urban Studies, March 1, 1996, Paul Littlewood, review of The Anthropology of Europe, p. 389.

ONLINE

Berghahn Books Web site,http://www.berghahnbooks.com/ (August 16, 2008), author profile.

University College London Anthropology Department Web site,http://www.ucl.ac.uk/ (August 16, 2008), author profile.