“On Class, Culture and the Creation of the Neoliberal Subject: The Case of Youth NGOs in Jordan.”

  • Citation: Zucaria, Mayssoun. “On Class, Culture and the Creation of the Neoliberal Subject: The Case of Youth NGOs in Jordan.” Anthropological Quarterly, Vol. 89 No.4 (2017): pp. 1201-1226
    • Topics:
    • Country and Regional Studies
    • Keywords:
    • anthropology
    • Jordan
    • microcredit youth program
    • neoliberalism

A growing body of literature in anthropology, geography, and development studies argues for the need to recognize the importance of local agency, resistance, and contestation in processes of neoliberal subject creation. These studies emphasize the spatial and historical diversity of neoliberalism and provide an important corrective to the often totalizing and universalizing accounts of previous Foucauldian studies of neoliberal governmentality. Despite this, there continues to be a general neglect of class analysis and political economy in studies of neoliberal subject formation. This article—drawing on an ethnographic study of an entrepreneurship and microcredit youth program in Jordan—argues for the importance of political economy in understanding local contestations of neoliberal governmentality. The analysis provided here points both to the need to recognize the continuing importance of material constraints—in addition to cultural and ideological convictions—in shaping local engagements with neoliberalism and to the relevance of class awareness, even in contexts in which specific class identities and consciousnesses may be blurred.

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