P27
Reconceptualising labour and dependency: beyond the working and non-working poor

Convenors:
Katherine Smith (University of Manchester)
Maia Green (University of Manchester)
John Foster (University of Manchester)
Format:
Panels
Location:
Science Site/Chemistry CG91
Start time:
6 July, 2016 at 9:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel seeks contributions that explore the ways in which labour and dependency are reconceptualised in the contemporary global political economy.

Long abstract:

This panel aims to reposition the critical purchase of dependency and labour as central aspects of the form and function of citizenship in the 21st-century. Recent anthropological interventions and ethnographic insights into poverty discuss from myriad angles how neoliberalism, the democratisation of knowledge, and notions of independence and self-management as active citizenship do not resonate with local perceptions of need or the responsibility of the state to its citizens. This is also resonant with ethnographies of development that question ideals of self-reliance in contexts where people value relations of dependence and collectivity. Anthropologists have attended to various relations of obligation, care and intimacies such as in kin ties that inform how people make life (and death) decisions in the face of destitution. From ethnographies of migrants, poor farmers, to the urban poor around the world, people engage in relational exchanges, moral traditions and self-management to imagine their futures and aspire for a better life. Therefore, perhaps a more useful starting point than a critique of neoliberalism is an examination of the creative and contested tensions between different ways of framing dependency and labour, and how these tensions are constitutive of the relative boundedness of entities as diverse as the unemployed, factory workers, landowners, to multinational corporations (cf. Martin 2015). This panel seeks contributions that explore the ways in which labour and dependency are reconceptualised in the contemporary global political economy. Reference: Martin,K. 2015. Epilogue: Exchange and Corporate Forms Today. J. Kjaerulff (ed.) Flexible Capitalism: Exchange and Ambiguity at Work. Berghahn.