CULTURAL ANTHROPOLOGY 25:1
how neoliberalism, rather than being monolithic, is inﬂected by local meanings,discourses, and histories, and how appropriations of neoliberalism mediate localambiguities pertaining to social and gender identity.
INFLECTIONS OF NEOLIBERALISM: REFUNCTIONING CULTURE,REFASHIONING THE SELF
Recent years have witnessed increased interest in the connections betweenneoliberalism and cultural process (Cahn 2008; Ferguson 2006; Freeman 2007;Guano 2004; van Heusden 2006; Ong 2007; Potuo˘glu-Cook 2006; Sharma 2006;Urciuoli 2008). This work, which shows how neoliberalism is made in everydaydynamics of discourse, practice, and imagination, is a much-needed corrective tomonolithic representations of neoliberalism as a “package of policies, ideologies,andpoliticalinterests”(Hoffmanetal.2006:9).IfollowHoffmanetal.’ssuggestionto trace the localized discursive and ideological conﬁgurations shaping neoliberalpolicies (Hoffman et al. 2006:10). The young Dubai professionals on whom I focusshow how local structures of meaning and histories inﬂect neoliberalism in theArab Gulf context.Among the insights of recent work has been a picture of the implementationof neoliberalism as a phenomenon much more complex than implied by top-down,teleological representations of globalization (Harvey 2005). For example, recentstudies emphasize the ﬂexibility, diversity, and responsiveness of state projects tomarket and other transnational pressures (Ferguson and Gupta 2002; Li 2005).Aihwa Ong’s work is particularly suggestive in this context, representing neolib-eral governance as a sophisticated, population-focused, and responsive instrumentof state adaptation to market pressures (Ong 2000, 2007). Crucial to the imple-mentation of neoliberal governance, according to Ong and others (Cahn 2008;Freeman 2007; Wilson 2004), are its productive interconnections with everydaylived experiences in local contexts. The ways neoliberal ideologies resonate withand are made persuasive within local formations of identity, conceptions of self-hood, and idioms of citizenship are essential to their appropriation by the subjectstargeted by neoliberal modes of governance.ForOng,Singaporeisanexemplarofthewaysstatesmobilizetheirpopulationsto adapt to increasing global market pressures. After the Asian ﬁnancial crisis of 1997–98,shewrites,theSingaporestatesoughttorepositionthecityasaknowledgeeconomy hub, a nodefor reterritorializing Asian multinationals, and a research anddevelopmentcenterformedicaltreatmentsaimedatAsianconsumers.Thisentaileda reformulation of state sovereignty in the form of selected zones within the state’s