Anthropology’s obsession with neoliberalism: Musings from the APA conference

September 14th 2013

Last July, at the EASA conference in Paris, I noticed that there seemed to be dozens of papers in the program with the word "neoliberalism" in their title. I wondered whether "neoliberalism" had become the new black for discussions of power and domination, taking over the role that globalization used to have, back in the days when it struck fear into the hearts of academics who were afraid that it would spell the end to global diversity.

It seems that I wasn't alone. The EASA journal, Social Anthropology, have been running a debate about neoliberalism over several issues in 2012 and 2013. Earlier this year I was invited by David Picard to co-convene a pannel on anthropology’s obsession with neoliberalism at the conference of the Associação da Antropologia Portuguesa. So, this week, we converged on Vila Real to just that. Our co-panelists, Gabriela Vargas Cetina and Steffan Igor Ayora Diaz, flew over from Yucatan especially to debate this curious topic.

Half a milennium of (neo)liberalism in Haiti

September 13th 2013

In 2008, the economist Joseph Stiglitz predicted the end of neoliberal philosophy as a result of the global financial crisis. Comparing the crisis to the fall of the Berlin Wall, he argued that while many people had suspected for a long time that deregulation was a bad idea, the global financial crisis proved it:

It should be the end of neoliberalism. It should be the end of the view that deregulation and liberalization lead to economic efficiency. September 2008 should be to neoliberalism and market fundamentalism what the Fall of the Berlin Wall was to communism. Everybody understood that communism was flawed, but the Fall of the Berlin Wall defined it and made it clear.

Modern dominicanidad: Popular or elite roots?

April 1st 2013

Between 1930 and 1961, the dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo took firm control of nation-building in the Dominican Republic. More than any political power before him, Trujillo forged a unified nation, but he did so via a politics of exclusion. Many scholars suggest that the state bears the burden of responsibility for the persistence of racism and denial of African roots.[1]

It appears, then, that Trujillo’s politics of exclusion continues to define domincanidad (Dominicanness) today. Far from being generated spontaneously among the population, the political and intellectual elite entrenched their version of national culture via formal and informal social institutions.