Issue 27.1, February 2012

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From the Editor's Introduction

We continue to receive a flood of submissions that deploy the term neoliberalism, wonderfully quirky contributions to the anthropological archive around this keyword [...] In this issue, we have assembled a series of articles that continue this conversation. Daniel Mains looks at electricity and road construction projects amidst a thinning Ethiopian state to suggest that the neoliberal rubric does not do justice to this material, thus calling into question the usefulness of the term neoliberal itself; Julia Elyachar examines the development of neoliberal economic thought—and its deployment of a key term, tacit knowledge—in central Europe in the 1920s and 1930s, while also juxtaposing this critical genealogy to the emergence of neoliberal thought in the banking sector in contemporary Egypt; Alex Dent argues that product piracy lies at the heart of neoliberal imaginaries and economic practice in Brazil today, suggesting that we think the neoliberal through its embrace of the copy; Erica James shows the way in which witchcraft accusations operate in the shadows of NGOs in Haiti, arguing that “bureaucraft” is as much a feature of our times as Weberian rationality; and Tom Looser explores the neoliberal logic of the global university in a post–area studies moment, revealing the emptiness of its cultural referents. The articles on immunology suggest, among other things, how new developments in immunology research mirror neoliberial logics of selfhood. These pieces also examine the ways in which work in this scientific domain cross-pollinates with research in other areas of science, gets refracted through metaphor and popular culture, might serve to model ethnographic writing, and is experienced as bodily habitus (1-2).

Allison, A. and Piot, C. (2012), "Editors’ Notes." Cultural Anthropology, 27: 1-2.