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Accepted Paper:

Building on trust: open-ended contracts and the creation of sociality in the time of neoliberalism  
Radu Umbres (Faculty of Political Sciences, SNSPA)

Paper long abstract:

Based on research in a Romanian village, this paper challenges some of the fundaments of neo-liberal discourse by contrasting the deep free-market beliefs of the people that I worked with with the underdevelopment engendered by extreme individualism and lack of cooperation. While the "amoral familism" and money-centred ideology displayed in the social life of the village share much with "laissez-faire" economics, they also lead to an economy mired by mistrust and spiteful actions, where "might is right". In contrast, I analyse a particular building-trade practice of open-ended contracts where economic exchanges omit the negotiation of payment and rely on social relations for settling the debts. Following processes linking local representations of reciprocity in the historical moneyless peasant economy with the contemporary effects of migration, the paper reflects upon the solutions employed by villagers to bind themselves into a mutually beneficial sociality and escape the blind-alley of autarchy.

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