Handbook of Political Anthropology
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Handbook of Political Anthropology

Edited by Harald Wydra and Bjørn Thomassen

This Handbook engages the reader in the major debates, approaches, methodologies, and explanatory frames within political anthropology. Examining the shifting borders of a moving field of enquiry, it illustrates disciplinary paradigm shifts, the role of humans in political structures, ethnographies of the political, and global processes. Reflecting the variety of directions that surround political anthropology today, this volume will be essential reading to understanding the interactions of humans within political frames in a globalising world.
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Chapter 13: Post-neoliberalism?

Keir Martin


This chapter tests the validity of the paradigm of neoliberalism and the usefulness of political anthropology in studying it. It argues that ‘neoliberalism’, like ‘capitalism’ or ‘the market’, is more a perspective on social relations than an objective description of empirically observable objective phenomena. For political anthropology the issue to decide is perhaps not so much whether or not the world we inhabit today is objectively post-neoliberal (or indeed ever was definitely neoliberal at some point in the recent past), but whether or not we are ‘post’ a time when the advantages inherent in the concept outweigh the risks. Either way, the lack of agreement as to whether we have gone past neoliberalism or not suggests how strongly the trends that that term described continue to shape our appreciation of the world we live in today.

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