Neoliberal globalization, the punitive, and the pastoral

Michael G. Peletz


In this contribution I draw on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Malaysia and provide an overview of the punitive trends in legal spheres and more encompassing cultural-political domains that typically accompany neoliberal globalization. I also consider some of the pastoral developments that are commonly entangled with these trends. Finally, I point to some of the ways that my work in these areas has been inspired by Aihwa Ong’s scholarship and suggest that, going forward, pastoral modalities of care, leadership, and governance are among the themes that ethnographers of contemporary global processes and problems should prioritize.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.1086/711830