CfP - AAA 2019 Panel: Care and Privatization in Marketizing Socialist Asia

Minh Nguyen's picture
Call for Papers
Subject Fields: 
Anthropology, Asian History / Studies, East Asian History / Studies, Sociology

Care and Privatization in Marketizing Socialist Asia

Panel proposal for the American Anthropological Association’s Annual Meeting 2019

Vancouver Convention Center November 20-24

Convener: Minh Nguyen, University of Bielefeld, Germany


This panel takes as a starting point a broad conceptualization of care as the processes involved in creating and sustaining selves, bodies and social relationships (Nguyen, Zavoretti and Tronto 2017). As such, care is a social field in which support, nurture and solicitude are given and received, and at the same time a political one that is ridden with inequalities and manipulations, where social actors compete for power in defining how it should unfold.

In Laos, China and Vietnam, Asia’s former state socialist countries that are rapidly marketizing, care is not just becoming a frontier of commodification, but also a moral trope that powerful institutions rely on for legitimation. Above all, the state and the market are found to be zealously deploying the discourse of care for their goals of producing particular kinds of citizen and consumer subject while disciplining those who deviate from the new economy’s norms and standards. It would be, however, no surprise for anthropologists that people in these places do not just endorse these norms and standards, but also co-opt, negotiate with and contest them through alternative meanings and even non-compliant practices.

This panel will focus on such negotiations and contestations around care in market socialist Asia. Papers will reflect on the possibilities and politics of care arising from the workings of institutions such as the welfare state, local communities, the family, charitable organizations and movements, labor markets and private companies in the market socialist economy. Of particular interest is the interface between care and privatization in contexts where socialist institutions and practices continue to require an emphasis on redistribution despite market-oriented imperatives of private accumulation and private responsibility.

If you are interested, please send a 250-word abstract and a short bio to until March 25th.


Contact Info: 

Minh Nguyen

Professor of Social Anthropology
Faculty of Sociology
Bielefeld University
Universitätsstraße 25
33615 Bielefeld, Germany
Building X: D2-230
Telefon: +49 521 106 3719