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Workers, Gypsies, and the Market: The Anthropology of New Fascism in Eastern Europe


This research focuses on how market transformation gives rise to new patterns of politics that among some social groups in Eastern Europe emerge as new fascism. By focusing on two social groups that have encountered the most significant transformation in effect of the economy re-structuring after state-socialism and whose positions caused the major challenges for academics and policy makers -- heavy industry workers and Roma/Gypsies -- the project aims to offer new perspective on the anthropology of social and political movements in Europe. Building upon years-long fieldwork in Slovakia, Poland and Ukraine, the project investigates how individualism and market calculation in what I call post-peasant setting after state-socialism have paved the way for populist movement that have increasingly taken anti-Roma attitudes among social groups that have not previously shown sensitivity to ethnic conflict or neo-fascist protests. The anthropology of new fascism therefore analyses the social and political movement from the ordinary perspective of everyday eceonomic models, balancing the dominant view on macro-structural or identity-centred 'culturalist' approaches. Theoretically, the project combines the recent dialogue of anthropology and economy with literature on transformations of polities, particularly in post-socialist setting. The project intends to argue that the current rise of populism and neo-fascism in Eastern Europe can only partially be explained as being the effect of neoliberal globalization. It is argued, instead, that the perspective on the everyday distribution of power in post-peasant society and how it has been reproduced via uneven development alongside with the changes in livelihood strategies under the market proliferation into the spheres previously dominated by community reciprocity shall be investigated in order to develop a new theory in the field of anthropology of social and political movements in/of Europe.

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Safarikovo Nam 6
814 99 Bratislava

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Lucia Mokrá (Prof.)
EU contribution
€ 254 025,33