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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 2.19

Notes on anthropological understandings of neoliberalism


  • Dr. Zorica IVANOVIĆ

Primary authors


In anthropological and more generally social theory, the term neoliberalism has become a buzz word. There has been a lot of research into the characteristics, forms and effects of as well as resistance to neoliberalism, with the neoliberalisation being treated as a set of hybrid processes, structures, institutions and context dependent practices and meanings. As a result, different theoretical approaches have been developed, putting forward a question of defining ‘neoliberalism’ and sometimes even expressing skepticism about the possibility of its conceptual definition. My aim here is to propose a critical examination of neoliberalism as an analytic category, firstly because its understanding is crucial in shaping any possible answers to a range of key questions (relations between the state and the social, neo/hegemony, consensus) that are discussed on this panel. Secondly, it is also important to note that, in postsocialist countries, it would not be adequate to see the process of neoliberalisation simply in terms of the withdrawal of the state, though neoliberal reconfigurations did lead to the reshaping of many institutions, norms and procedures of the welfare state, creating thus new social and institutional assemblages. This invites two questions: first, of identifying the types of social realities that can be labelled as „post-welfare Europe“, and second, of examining whether the label is universally adequate for describing all European societies, including the postsocialist ones.