"Not the Horse We Wanted!" Postsocialism, Neoliberalism, and Eurasia
C. M. Hann
Year of publication
The title of this volume was supplied by a Hungarian villager, who made use of a popular idiom to express his disillusionment with the results of rural privatisation. Hann draws on his own ethnographic materials from Hungary and elsewhere to explore a wide range of topics, from political economy to questions of ethnic and religious identity and minority rights. Applying a broad definition of ‘property relations’, he argues that private ownership, multi-party politics and the proliferation of NGOs are poor compensation for a decline in the substantive material and moral conditions of citizenship. The spread of neoliberal economic principles, identity politics and new ‘rights’ agendas is not restricted to the post- socialist countries and the volume therefore employs a wider comparative framework. Underlying all the chapters (none of them previously published in this form in English) is an inclusive, eclectic approach to contemporary anthropology. Hann concludes by arguing that anthropologists of all traditions and theoretical persuasions need to renew their engagement with world history. To recognise the enduring unity of Eurasia is an important step towards overcoming the distortions of Eurocentrism.