chapter  1
10 Pages

Before us: unrelational, immaterial, notions of global power and counter-power

In his introduction to Europe and the People without History, written between 1974

and 1981, Eric Wolf remarked how commonplace it had become to say that all

human beings inhabit one world. That New Yorkers had suffered from the Hong

Kong flu, that Jamaicans were migrating to London and Chinese to Singapore, that

‘a shutdown of oil wells on the Persian Gulf [could] halt generating plants in Ohio’,

and that Finns were guarding the border between Israel and Egypt were making all

manner of global connections and linkages easier to see and to comment on –

though not necessarily to understand, either synchronously or in their history

(Wolf, 1982).