Carla Freeman's ethnography of the entrepreneurial middle class in Barbados adds to a rapidly growing body of literature examining the affective dimensions of neoliberalism. Her work can be distinguished from most, however, by her attention to the quotidian practices of self-care that middle-class Barbadians invest in to cultivate their “entrepreneurial selves” (p. 4). Whereas most ethnographers argue that neoliberal entrepreneurship depends on the exchange of emotions in commodifiable ways, Freeman suggests that entrepreneurs view themselves through, and as increasingly entangled in, emotional registers. This insight, nonetheless, is grounded in a familiar narrative about neoliberal policies in the Caribbean. The advance of global capitalism in the guise of tourism, information processing, and offshore banking has shrunk the Barbadian state sector along with clear pathways for stable jobs and mobility. Entrepreneurship in theory constitutes an attractive doctrine for the state to promote economic growth,...
Book Review|November 01 2015
Sarah E. Vaughn; Entrepreneurial Selves: Neoliberal Respectability and the Making of a Caribbean Middle Class. Hispanic American Historical Review 1 November 2015; 95 (4): 714–716. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00182168-3161769
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