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.
Contents: Introduction: Me, Inc.? Untangling neoliberalism, personhood, and postsocialism, Nicolette Makovicky; Selling, yet still social: consociational personhood among the self-employed in Eastern Germany, Gareth E. Hamilton; Work-discipline and temporal structures in a multinational bank in Romania, Liviu Chelcea; Using gender in neoliberal business: reinterpretations of female utility in a Romanian Company, Alina Petrovici; The authorial self and acquiring the language of neoliberalism in Slovakia, Jonathan L. Larson; Losing the enterprising self in post-Soviet Estonian villages, Aet Annist; Good work: state employees and the informal economy in Cuba, Maria Padron Hernandez; Building on trust: open-ended contracts and the duality of self-interest in Romanian house construction, Radu Gabriel Umbres; Earning money, learning the language: Slovak au pairs and their passage to adulthood, Zuzana Sekerakova-Burikova; Old minorities in a new Europe: enterprising citizenship at the Polish-Czech border, Nicolette Makovicky; Afterword: Elias talks to Hayek (and learns from Marx and Foucault): reflections on neoliberalism, postsocialism and personhood, Don Kalb. Index.