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On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise: Affect, Tourism, Belize

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Volume 45

New Directions in Anthropology

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On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise

Affect, Tourism, Belize

Kenneth Little

204 pages, 8 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78920-646-3 $120.00/£89.00 Hb Published (February 2020)

eISBN 978-1-78920-647-0 eBook

Hb   Buy the eBook! $29.95 Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format) Recommend to your Library Available in GOBI®


“Pushes anthropology to new levels, and in doing so argues profoundly for its relevance in an effort to understand the 21st century world as it is (troublingly) unfolding. This work pushes the reader to think in dense and complex ways about the tourism experience and all that it symbolizes.” • Julia Harrison, Trent University

“A pioneering work… ranks alongside such classic texts as Claude Levi-Strauss’s Triste Tropiques, Evans-Pritchard’s The Nuer, Paul Rabinow’s Reflections on Fieldwork in Morroco and Jean-Paul Dumont’s The Headman and I.” • Sally Ann Ness, University of California


There are beastly forces in Belize. Forces that are actively involved in making paradise impossible. On the Nervous Edge of an Impossible Paradise is a collection of seven stories about local lives in the fictional village of Wallaceville. They turn rogue in the face of runaway forces that take the form and figure of a Belize beast-time, which can appear as a comic mishap, social ruin, tragic excess, or wild guesses. Inciting the affective politics of life in the region, this fable of emergence evokes the unnerving uncertainties of life in the tourist state of Belize.

Kenneth Little is Associate Professor of Anthropology at York University in Toronto. His research focuses on the analysis of society as spectacle, the critical turn in anthropology to the study of affect, social creativity, experiments in ethnographic writing and performativity.

Subject: General Anthropology General Cultural Studies
Area: North America


List of Illustrations

Introduction: Writing Stories of Make-Belize

Chapter 1. “For the Time is at Hand”: Beast-Time Somet’ings
Chapter 2. Impossible Tropics
Chapter 3. Richie’s Tourists
Chapter 4. Nowhere Paradise
Chapter 5. Belize Ephemera
Chapter 6. Belize Blues
Chapter 7. Parca’s Picks

Epilogue: Belize Fabulations


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