The panel will explore anthropological engagements with processes of neoliberalization and civic engagement in the city between the political and the intimate.
Eastern Europe has been cited as a poster case for the establishment of neoliberal regimes of economy and politics which can be observed all across the globe. Especially cities are seen as laboratories of rapid transformations of various kinds. The neoliberalizing cities of Eastern Europe provide a fertile ground for anthropological approaches to change, in terms of state pullback/ intervention, austerity politics vis-à-vis the takeover of people's living space by market liberalism, but also the emergence of various forms of resistance centered on claims to space. Theoretical and practical anthropological engagements with the formation of new spatial regimes highlight processes of civic engagement between the political and the intimate, as well as the reconfiguration of a sense of place as part of a politics of space. The panel aims to explore the urban as a contested space between hegemonic strategies of political and economic elites, on the one side, and local actors' ideas and practices, on the other. It wants to question the simplistic dichotomy of neoliberalism/resistance by diagramming concrete projects and political configurations that may reveal a more nuanced understanding of the processes and actors involved, Contributions are invited on topics that address practices and logics of spatialization; cultural intimacy and sense of place; urban space as key arena of a state's "public life" (Navaro-Yashin); fragmentation, inequality, and gentrification; the right to the city/housing activism; emerging alternative spatial practices (squatting, guerrilla gardening, etc.); forms of anthropological collaboration, in Eastern Europe and elsewhere.