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Economic Citizenship: Neoliberal Paradoxes of Empowerment

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Economic Citizenship

Neoliberal Paradoxes of Empowerment

Amalia Sa'ar

260 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-179-4 $135.00/£99.00 / Hb / Published (July 2016)

ISBN  978-1-78533-830-4 $34.95/£27.95 / Pb / Published (April 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-180-0 eBook

View CartYour country: - edit Request a Review or Examination Copy (in Digital Format)Recommend to your LibraryAvailable in GOBI®


“…a well-written, nuanced and interesting account of contradictions at work in contemporary non-profit projects supporting economic rights for women… an important analysis of the pragmatic difficulties feminists face in seeking meaningful social change in a neoliberal context of gendered, racialized economic inequality.” • Journal of Gender Studies

“…a richly documented, theoretically sophisticated.ethnography that involves participant bservation, focus groups and.interviews with low-income Israeli and Palestinianwomen over an important ten-year period… Most remarkable about the work is Saʾar’s attention to historical,.sociodemographic, sociopolitical, and ethnographic detail.” • Review of Middle East Studies

“This book would become a precious asset for scholars and student in the field of gender relations who are interested in understanding how gender becomes crucial in the creeping in of neoliberal ideas. Sa’ar beautifully exposes the dynamics through which the gender contract of earlier political economies is transformed… Sa’ar’s writing is thoughtful and precise, and the book chapters could serve as important discussion triggers in courses and seminars on a variety of topics.” • Anthropos

“Amalia Sa’ar’s unique new book…contributes to a fuller picture of the construction of neoliberal selves and citizens among women, a picture that is applicable as well, with variation, to men and one that increasingly seems to forestall any alternative visions of what it means to be a modern person and citizen.” • Anthropology Review Database

“This is a unique piece: sophisticated, brilliantly argued, and, most importantly, based on the voices and experiences of real people.” • Charles Lindholm, Boston University

“This is an outstanding example of feminist scholarship that combines wide-ranging knowledge of various bodies of literature, nuanced critical perspectives on policies and projects ostensibly geared toward women’s empowerment, and an empathic approach to the “subjects” of those projects as well as to some of the service providers.” • Valentine M. Moghadam, Northeastern University

“This book wonderfully explores the issues that affect a variety of women in Israel and not just those that social/cultural anthropologists have tended to focus on.” • Virginia R. Dominguez, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


With the spread of neoliberal projects, responsibility for the welfare of minority and poor citizens has shifted from states to local communities. Businesses, municipalities, grassroots activists, and state functionaries share in projects meant to help vulnerable populations become self-supportive. Ironically, such projects produce odd discursive blends of justice, solidarity, and wellbeing, and place the languages of feminist and minority rights side by side with the language of apolitical consumerism. Using theoretical concepts of economic citizenship and emotional capitalism, Economic Citizenship exposes the paradoxes that are deep within neoliberal interpretations of citizenship and analyzes the unexpected consequences of applying globally circulating notions to concrete local contexts.

Amalia Sa’ar is a cultural anthropologist at the University of Haifa. She has done research on gender politics among the Palestinian citizens of Israel, on the implications of the gender-contract cultural scheme for women’s work strategies and work prospects, on women’s perceptions of peace, war, and security, and on generational relations in Israeli feminism.

Subject: Anthropology (General)Gender Studies and SexualitySociologyPolitical and Economic Anthropology
Area: Middle East & Israel


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