This book explores a range of contemporary conflicts in which culture has become an explicit issue: ethnic nationalism, religious fundamentalism, the militarization of civilian life, opposition movements in authoritarian states, political resistance to redistributive reforms, and racism in racial democracies. The authors show that one cannot understand current conflicts or crises without studying long-term patterns of social, political and cultural change. At issue throughout the book is how anthropologists and comparative political scientists conceptualize the interplay of culture and politics. The result is a volume that offers readers a sophisticated introduction to new currents in cultural analysis, demonstrates realms of convergence and continuing debate between the two disciplines, and offers focused analyses of contemporary conflicts from the perspective of those caught up in them. The case studies for this volume focus on communities and movements in Guatemala, Brazil, Israel, Iran, Egypt, South Africa, the Philippines and Northern Ireland.