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Accepted Paper:

Selling, yet still social: the continued importance of consociational personhood among eastern German entrepreneurs  
Gareth Hamilton (University of Latvia)

Paper long abstract:

In this paper I explore how entrepreneurs in postsocialist eastern Germany are rhetorically encouraged to adopt neoliberal practices, in an era still overshadowed by the negative memory of 'Ich AG' individual 'corporations' as solutions to personal longterm unemployment crises. Using Warner's conception of publics, the paper explores the messages promoting risk-taking, expansion, industriousness and self-promotion (western) German entrepreneurship advice manuals promote. I show the remarkable similarity in stance on entrepreneurship taken by a high-circulation weekly periodical, whose readership has otherwise been cast as eastern counterpublic with views conforming to a conception of personhood expressed in the non-neoliberal 'east German idiom' (Engler) of modesty, trust and greater consociational thinking. Based on observations in entrepreneurship courses and interviews with participants, I suggest that despite this neoliberal message's replication and tacit acceptance by both easterners and westerners, consociational personhood still retains a high moral significance among eastern German entrepreneurs.

Panel W023
The self as 'mini-corporation'? The fate of neo-liberal models of personhood in the boom (and bust) economies of Central and Eastern Europe
  Session 1