Audit Cultures: Neoliberal governmentality, socialist legacy or technologies of governing:

Andrew Kipnis

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


    In this article, I analyze the social processes of performance audits in a variety of cases in China, other postsocialist nations, and a U.S. workplace with Chinese immigrant employees. Although the processes share many commonalities, the ideological evaluations of them by the people involved are often diametrically opposed to those by anthropological analysts. For example, the Chinese workers often describe the performance audits as "socialist," whereas the anthropological analysts tend to see them as a form of "neoliberal" governmentality. I use these contradictory evaluations to develop a critique of Nikolas Rose's conceptualization of "neoliberal governmentality," especially when it is used as an explanation for contemporary processes of governing. Building on the comparative analysis of the performance audit cases, I conclude with a call for a classic anthropological approach to the study of audit cultures.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)275-289
    JournalAmerican Ethnologist
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


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