Ideologies of dispossession along the private/public conundrum [Anthropology of Economy Network]

Dimitra Kofti (Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology)
Theodora Vetta (Universitat de Barcelona)
Start time:
15 August, 2018 at 9:00
Session slots:

Short abstract:

This panel seeks to explore ideologies and practices of dispossession. It asks why failed paradigms to tackle economic decline, built around a public/private controversy, endure; how dispossessions are implemented and justified and what political expressions their ideologies take.

Long abstract:

This panel seeks to explore the ideological work that goes into the practices and policies of dispossession taking place in recent decades of deindustrialisation and financialization. Mapping the uneven geographies of global capitalism in settings as disparate as "structural adjustment" in Latin America, "transitions" in the post-communist world or the current "crisis" in Europe since the late 2000s, one is struck by the recurrence of austerity measures as nominal responses to economic decline and indebtedness. More often than not, they play out in the form of a public/private controversy, attacking one end of the continuum to reinforce claims or demands on the other. From bailouts of insolvent banks, through privatization of public assets, demands to restore protective welfare regimes, to the collapse of citizenship entitlements: working classes have navigated contradictory ideological alternatives. Strong beliefs in the corporate sector, private property and enterprise often go hand in hand with desires for security, regulation and protectionism. We invite papers that reflect on the following questions: • Why do failed paradigms and ideologies endure? How are particular policies that have led to economic turmoil still presented as pertinent solutions for prosperity? • How are ideologies of dispossession intertwined with public/private debates? How are they produced/contested in the everyday practice of social reproduction? • How are dispossessions justified and legitimised? To what extent are people's practices driven by ideological convictions and to what extent by need or constraint? • What are the political manifestations of ideologies of dispossessions?