Postsocialist Mediterranean

Scalar gaze, moral self, and relational labor of favors in Eastern Europe

in Focaal
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  • 1 Dept. for Cultural Anthropology/European Ethnology, University of Goettingen, Germany carna.brkovic@uni-goettingen.de

This article opens a conversation between anthropological studies of the Mediterranean and of postsocialism in order to propose the notion of a “scalar gaze” as an analytical approach useful for capturing veering practices in their social complexity. The article argues that favors (veze/štela, lit. relations, connections) in contemporary Bosnia and Herzegovina were a practice through which people fulfilled the demands of capitalist economy to be active, rather than a pre-capitalist excess that prevented “proper” development of the country into a neoliberal democracy. Zooming in and out and looking sideways between moral reasoning, internationally supervised structural changes of the job markets, and electoral politics, this article explores how the relational labor of favors reproduced moral selves, as well as hierarchy and inequality.

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Focaal

Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology

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