In this essay I suggest that rather than asking whether China or Vietnam is becoming neoliberal, we might be better served by asking how Chinese or Vietnamese political and social actors make use of neoliberal ideas and techniques for their own ends. A central task of the anthropology of neoliberalism today thus is to investigate how such historically and culturally contingent articulations of neoliberal logics and techniques work out (or do not work out) in diverse social and political settings. To illustrate this point, I highlight some of the convergent and divergent issues in two important domains: ethics and techniques of the self and class making and space making. I argue that such flexible postsocialist assemblages with their own characteristics may well become a distinct and viable pathway of social formation that dislocates the prevailing way of thinking about social change and world historical trajectory. Finally, I briefly discuss some research possibilities that deserve further attention in the future study of postsocialist assemblages from the margin.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.