Futures and ethnographies of ‪neoliberalism‬

25-2 ARTWORK.qxdThe special issue of Cultural AnthropologyFutures of ‪Neoliberalism‬” (open access) offers theoretically-astute and fine-grained ethnographic analyses of the effects of profound changes across the Globe in various fields: workers’ wageless and disrupted life in ‪‎Brazil‬, governance of young right-extremists in ‪Germany‬, middle-class debt and homeownership in ‪Israel‬, ecological approach to investment in ‪Argentina‬, homelessness in ‪Romania‬, violent anti-immigrant riots in ‪South Africa‬, protests in ‪Egypt‬ and women’s engagements with poverty in ‪‎Nicaragua‬.
As the contributors to the issue, edited by Anne Allison and Charles Piot (Duke University), have consistently noted, the architecture of time under regimes unilaterally focused on economic growth, individual responsibility, and state pullback can be remarkably schizophrenic. It is not that the modernist dreams of a progressively-better future—the promise of the post-war Fordist social contract (in metropolitan countries)—have totally disappeared; nor that people have abandoned the desire or capacity to dream of elsewhere—whether spatial, temporal, or social—beyond the here and now. Rather, in the precariousness and risk such dream-making now inhabits, attachments to the present have intensified. Embedded in rhythms of truncated work, interrupted life cycles, and the arrival of foreign migrants or military incursions, imaginings are often radically presentist, collapsed or imploded into the immediacy of survival (especially in today’s global peripheries and margins).

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