Contrasting "native" and "outsider" points of view, this book explores the contemporary realities of work, development and redevelopment in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, a New England community undergoing rapid industrial restructuring.
Based on anthropological fieldwork in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, In the Wake of the Giant has implications for towns and cities across the country and internationally. It traces the history of the Pittsfield region, the U. S. economy, and the tidal wave of multinational corporate restructurings. Comparing communities undergoing restructuring to newly independent states, Kirsch shows how these communities confront for the first time the challenge of directing their own present and future. The turmoil that develops as a result of these changes, and the means by which individuals, kin-groups and community voluntary organizations react and adapt are central themes of the book.
Max H. Kirsch teaches anthropology at Oberlin College. He is past Associate Dean of the Graduate Faculty of Social and Political Science at the New School for Social Research in New York.
"In the Wake of the Giant is a remarkable book. Much of the anthropology now being done has fallen into the trap of a less thoughtful postmodernism—concentrating more on textuality and the emotional states of individuals, without any realization that these secondary states are derived from historical and economic, as well as linguistic and psychical processes. Kirsch manages to combine the historical and economic with the individual perspectives brilliantly.
"One of the outstanding features of the book is its readable style. It is very well-written, with an excellent narrative feel. " — Richard Feldstein, Rhode Island College