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By Joel T. Shelton

Shelton investigates the conditionality regime directed at 'transforming societies' inside of european candidate states. He deals a brand new realizing of conditionality that comes with the social and subjective dimensions of the 'European project', finding the pursuits and bounds of conditionality within the principles of political financial system.

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Extra resources for Conditionality and the Ambitions of Governance: Social Transformation in Southeastern Europe

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While many of the EU’s ambitions for conditionality reflect neoliberal assumptions about the state, society, and the person, this particular governmental rationality is but the latest in a long tradition of political-economic reflection concerned with identifying and managing the sources of disharmony in political-economic life. If conditionality in European Union enlargement is a contemporary technique of governance, it is driven by a set of anxieties that are substantially older and subject to continuous transformation as political economy as a field of knowledge identifies new sources of disharmony, disruption, and disorder.

All of these activities are shaped by neoliberal ideas about the state, society, and person, but embody the older concern for socializing, normalizing, and rationalizing persons in the name of prosperity, order, and stability located in the work of Steuart, Smith, Marx, and Weber. Conditionality will not disappear with neoliberalism, for its ambitions are derived from preoccupations with managing sources of disharmony that date to the origins of the field. As a technique of governance, conditionality is not just another neoliberal project – it is a product of the anxieties of political economy.

The EU’s agenda is further reinforced by other conditionalized programs in ‘human resources development’ financed by the World Bank, or funded by UNICEF, UNDP, USAID, and the OSCE, among others (ETF 2013: 79). The dispersed quality of conditionality as a governmental technique makes such overlapping interventions a typical feature of its operation, reinforcing (as well as fragmenting) the EU’s ‘human resources development’ agenda on the ground. The scope and direction of these projects reflect several particular neoliberal anxieties about the sources of social and subjective disharmony in political economy, in particular: (1) unproductive, ill trained, and inflexible labor; (2) modes of association and exclusion not oriented to the individuating sociality of the market, elements of identity that are understood to increase individual vulnerability and increase the risk of political disorder; and (3) the irrationality of organizational behavior, especially in public administration, where conduct is too often prone to inefficient and cumbersome processes and ethical lapses that slow the work of conditionality and impede the transparency and accountability allegedly required for the efficient administration of market activity.

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