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  • Introduction. Competing Responsibilities: Reckoning Personal Responsibility, Care for the Other, and the Social Contract in Contemporary Life / Susanna Trnka and Catherine Trundle  1
    Part I. Theoretical Departures
    1. Making Us Resilient: Responsible Citizens for Uncertain Times / Nikolas Rose and Filippa Lentzos  27
    2. Attunement: Rethinking Responsibility / Jarrett Zigon  49
    Part II. States, Companies, and Communities
    3. Reciprocal Responsibilities: Struggles over (New and Old) Social Contracts, Environmental Pollution, and Childhood Asthma in the Czech Republic / Susanna Trnka  71
    4. Audit Culture and the Politics of Responsibility: Beyond Neoliberal Responsibilization? / Cris Shore  96
    5. From Corporate Social Responsibility to Creating Shared Value: Contesting Responsibilization and the Mining Industry / Jessica M. Smith  118
    Part III. Violence
    6. "The Information Is Out There": Transparency, Responsibility, and the Missing in Cyprus / Elizabeth Anne Davis  135
    7. Justice and Its Doubles: Producing Postwar Responsibilities in Sierra Leone / Rosalind Shaw  156
    Part IV. Intimate Ties
    8. The Politics of Responsibility in HIV / Barry D. Adam  181
    9. Responsibilities of the Third Age and the Intimate Politics of Sociality in Poland / Jessica Robbins-Ruszowski  193
    10. Genetic Bystanders: Familial Responsibility and the State's Accountability to Veterans of Nuclear Tests / Catherine Trundle  213
    References  233
    Contributors  263
    Index  267
  • Barry Adam

    Elizabeth Anne Davis

    Filippa Lentzos

    Jessica Robbins-Ruszkowski

    Nikolas Rose

    Rosalind Shaw

    Cris Shore

    Jarrett Zigon

  • "This volume's concern with responsibility captures a range of facets of neoliberal policies in a focused and novel way. An absorbing and compelling read, Competing Responsibilities makes an original contribution to the continuing delineation of neoliberal policy and practice as the subject and grounding of contemporary anthropological research." — George E. Marcus, coauthor of, Designs for an Anthropology of the Contemporary

    "At this moment, when the concept of responsibility seems irretrievably tarnished by its long association with neoliberalism and individualistic ideals of 'personal responsibility,' these essays offer surprising evidence that 'responsibility' is being reactivated and reimagined around the globe for collective life, for caring and social inclusion, and world-building. Together, the essays attest to the importance of contesting 'responsibility,' rather than abandoning the concept, by combining theoretical, ethnographic, and political research that wrestles 'responsibility' out of its moribund association with neoliberalism and back into the lifeblood of public life." — Barbara Cruikshank, author of, The Will to Empower: Democratic Citizens and Other Subjects

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  • Description

    Noting the pervasiveness of the adoption of "responsibility" as a core ideal of neoliberal governance, the contributors to Competing Responsibilities challenge contemporary understandings and critiques of that concept in political, social, and ethical life. They reveal that neoliberalism's reification of the responsible subject masks the myriad forms of individual and collective responsibility that people engage with in their everyday lives, from accountability, self-sufficiency, and prudence to care, obligation, and culpability. The essays—which combine social theory with ethnographic research from Europe, North America, Africa, and New Zealand—address a wide range of topics, including critiques of corporate social responsibility practices; the relationships between public and private responsibilities in the context of state violence; the tension between calls on individuals and imperatives to groups to prevent the transmission of HIV; audit culture; and how health is cast as a citizenship issue. Competing Responsibilities allows for the examination of modes of responsibility that extend, challenge, or coexist with the neoliberal focus on the individual cultivation of the self. 

    Barry D. Adam, Elizabeth Anne Davis, Filippa Lentzos, Jessica Robbins-Ruszkowski, Nikolas Rose, Rosalind Shaw, Cris Shore, Jessica M. Smith, Susanna Trnka, Catherine Trundle, Jarrett Zigon

    About The Author(s)

    Susanna Trnka is Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Auckland and coeditor of Senses and Citizenships: Embodying Political Life.

    Catherine Trundle is Senior Lecturer in Anthropology at Victoria University of Wellington and coeditor of Detachment: Essays on the Limits of Relational Thinking.
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