Despite a growing literature debating the consequences of neo-liberal political and economic policy in the former Eastern bloc, the idea of neo-liberal personhood has so far received limited attention from scholars of the region. Presenting a range of ethnographic studies, this book lays the groundwork for a new disciplinary agenda by critically examining novel technologies of self-government which have appeared in the wake of political and economic liberalization. Neoliberalism, Personhood, and Postsocialism explores the formation of subjectivities in newly marketized or marketizing societies across the former Eastern Bloc, documenting the rise of the neo-liberal discourse of the ’enterprising’ self in government policy, corporate management and education, as well as examining the shifts in forms of capital amongst marginal capitalists and entrepreneurs working in the grey zone between the formal and informal economies. A rich investigation of the tools of neo-liberal governance and the responses of entrepreneurs and families in changing societies, this book reveals the full complexity of the relationship between historically and socially embedded economic practices, and the increasing influence of libertarian political and economic thought on public policy, institutional reform, and civil society initiatives. As such, it will appeal to anthropologists, sociologists and geographers with interests in political discourse, identity, entrepreneurship and organizations in post-socialist societies.
Nicolette Makovicky is Lecturer in Russian and East European Studies at the University of Oxford, UK.
’This timely volume builds on current debates regarding post-socialism and neoliberalism and, offering detailed ethnographic observation, makes a convincing case for the value of nuanced, empirically grounded approaches to neoliberalism and some of its key concepts. Eschewing the simplistic and the abstract, it shows what neoliberalism means for particular people, in particular places and times.’ Victoria Goddard, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK