Accepted Papers:

has pdf download An anthropology that takes position instead of pictures - Tracing the potential of Subjectivity for Anthropology  


Moritz Engel (Ruprecht-Karls Uinversität Heidelberg)
Christian Schirmer (Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg)

Paper Short Abstract:

We argue that the current resistances to neoliberalism remind us to depart from stagnant forms of social analysis. We show the relevance of (Post-) Marxisms put forth by Lacan, Žižek and Deleuze and Guattari to understand social transformation in a world shaped by neoliberal oppression.

Paper long abstract:

Following Balibar, with Marx, theory and practice became intrinsically linked. Dissolving the dichotomy between anthropological theory and practice is now more urgent than ever, if anthropology strives toward holding future social value for those involved. We argue that with the help of (post-)Marxist theoretical currents, anthropology should be reoriented towards progressive social change.

The first of these examples is centered around a critical understanding of the subject along the lines of Lacan and Žižek. An examination of the ethnographic example of Greece after the imposition of harsh austerity measures after the financial crisis of 2010 may show the various ways in which the split subject position is a key factor in understanding modes of capturing a subject under neoliberalism and how progressive resistance may arise from that.

Secondly, ways of resisting neoliberal subjection are reflected on by a reading of the Zapatista movement through Deleuzian political philosophy. Deleuze gives social scientists theoretical tools to understand the deterritorialization of subjectivities in the Zapatista struggle. In forming a political assemblage, Marxist guerrilla members and indigenous people engaged in processes of becoming that made the creation of a flexible, autonomous region possible. In rejecting the subjectivation processes of a neoliberal governmentality, the Zapatistas put forth a shifting process of emancipation trying to create a "world in which many worlds fit".

We conclude that the current resistances to neoliberalism remind us to depart from stagnant forms of social analysis and show the relevance of contemporary Marxisms to understand social transformation in a world of neoliberal oppression.

Panel P136
Systemic crisis, anti-systemic movements: marxist approaches to capitalist restructuring and social reproduction in contemporary global scenarios of movement and stability