Neoliberalism, Interrupted. Edited by Mark Goodale and Nancy Postero. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2013. Pp. 317, acknowledgements, abbreviations, editors and contributors, notes, references, index.
N'eoliberalism, Interrupted presents Latin America as a global laboratory for new forms of governance, economic structures, and social mobilization. The volume's title signals a repeated theme throughout the chapters: in Latin America, neoliberalism is simultaneously being challenged and naturalized. At present, Latin America is a site of social, political, and economic experimentation on the one hand and intractable structural vulnerability, violent resistance, and retrenchment on the other. New forms of contestation render other potential ideologies for radical social change unthinkable.
In the introductory chapter, the editors write, "In contemporary Latin America, real challenges to the 'neoliberal world order' coexist with and even reinforce enduring patterns of exploitation and violence" (4). Under these conditions, revolution can appear anachronistic and structures perpetuating inequality often seem inevitable, even as social change and contested governance are underway: the idea of revolution seems out of place in some Latin American contexts, thereby naturalizing social inequality even in the face of social transformation. One of the strategies of the volume as a whole is to resist black-or-white judgments about whether or not transformations are substantive or merely aesthetic.
The contributors to Neoliberalism, Interrupted--both Latin American and Latin Americanists--privilege the categories of everyday lives and social practice in order to explore the meanings, consequences, and possibilities associated with regional reactions to neoliberal hegemony and what can be described as "maturing neoliberalism," as well as the construction of alternatives. Through a collection of ethnographic observations, the volume illustrates the complexity of how neoliberalism is unfolding in Latin America. With respect to neoliberalism, "maturing" does not necessarily mean "entrenched"; instead the authors describe various, often contradictory, ways in which neoliberalism is both challenged and re-inscribed, depending on shifting political circumstances and the historical/geographic context.
The authors employ an ethnographic lens to explore how individuals are identified as neoliberal and postneoliberal subjects. The volume attempts to deconstruct binary oppositions that are commonly used to describe social change and contested governance in Latin America: indigenous/mestizo, national/transnational, and neoliberalism/socialism. However, the authors are unable to resist other types of grouping. On one hand, they use a tripartite...