Accepted Paper:

"The way of self-governance" in the local politics of neoliberalism: a post-socialist village in Slovakia  


Yuko Kambara-Yamane (The University of Kitakyushu)

Paper short abstract:

The aim of the paper is to analyze adjustments to neoliberal social change in a Slovak village, in order to test the theories of neoliberalism. The author focuses on the feature of the neoliberal system that encourages awareness of self-governance in the local community.

Paper long abstract:

This paper analyzes adjustments to neoliberal social changes of village life in a post-socialist European country. These countries have struggled with building a democratic and capitalistic society influenced by neoliberalism as a process of becoming members of the European Union. Usually individual exploitation is regarded as a remarkable effect of neoliberalism. However, neoliberalism has also influenced Eastern Europeans to awaken to the concept of self-governance and self-responsibility. This insight is important for anthropologists to test the theories of neoliberalism as a new stage of capitalism. Many inhabitants of Slovak villages have accepted two kinds of neoliberal system change: the emergence of workers in the private sector accelerating the shift of priority from the local community to individual interests and the decentralization of local politics. Many local governments soon began to suffer from lack of financial resources and the skills for the management of the economic problems of villages. Members of local governments work almost on a volunteer basis and it is difficult to find skilled people for these bodies. Worse yet, local volunteer associations not only face problems finding their own sources of funding from the local government, but also lack skills for searching for information about additional financial aid from foundations to support their activities. In this case, people endure a "democratic" society combined with neoliberal policy; it brings them a new perspective in their own community as a kind of democracy in this global world.

Panel P022
Reconsidering anthropologies of neoliberalism and globalization: historical conjuncture and narratives of rupture (Commission on Global Transformations and Marxian Anthropology)