Edward F. Fischer
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What could middle-class German supermarket shoppers buying eggs and impoverished coffee farmers in Guatemala possibly have in common? Both groups use the market in pursuit of the “good life.” But what exactly is the good life? How do we define wellbeing beyond material standards of living? While we all may want to live the good life, we differ widely on just what that entails. In The Good Life, Edward Fischer examines wellbeing in very different cultural contexts to uncover shared notions of the good life and how best to achieve it. With fascinating on-the-ground narratives of Germans’ choices regarding the purchase of eggs and cars, and Guatemalans’ trade in coffee and cocaine, Fischer presents a richly layered understanding of how aspiration, opportunity, dignity, and purpose comprise the good life.
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Edward F. Fischer is Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Center for Latin American Studies at Vanderbilt University. His work focuses on issues of political economy, identity politics, and globalization; he has conducted long-term fieldwork with the Maya of Guatemala and in Germany. His publications include Maya Cultural Activism in Guatemala (1996), Cultural Logics and Global Economies: Maya Identity in Thought and Practice (2001), Tecpán Guatemala: A Modern Maya Town in Local and Global Context (2002, with Carol Hendrickson), and Broccoli and Desire: Global Connections and Maya Struggles in Postwar Guatemala (2006, with Peter Benson). His current research focuses on the interplay of moral values and economic rationalities.
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