This panel explores the connections between technologies of the self and the emergence of particular modes of relatedness in the context of Asia's increasingly liberalised economies and societies.
This panel explores the connections between technologies of the self and the emergence of particular modes of relatedness in the context of Asia's increasingly liberalised economies and societies. 'Technologies of the self' can be interpreted broadly, ranging from material ways in which individuals modify or treat the physical body to more Foucauldian notions of self-discipline and regulation. 'Relatedness' indicates those modes of sociality that provide social actors with a horizon of development, as well as with a sense of identity. We conceptualise self-regulatory efforts as practices that require constant, everyday commitment from the part of social actors, and are therefore pivotal to the fostering of relatedness: the building of a shared past, present and future. We are specifically interested in examining new ways in which social actors practice intimacy in the context of Asian countries' wider neoliberal economic and political changes. On the one hand, states and markets increasingly reward those particular forms of collaboration and connection which validate entrepreneurialism and transactional relations; on the other, these institutions need to rhetorically reconcile market logics with other, often contradictory, discourses of morality and intimacy. The panel interrogates the ways in which different social actors deal with these discursive tensions and the reasons behind their different trajectories. In some cases, social practices aim at mediating between different, apparently divergent, discourses of intimacy and relatedness. In other instances, the presence of competing discourses provides social actors with a space for re-negotiating the boundaries of hegemonic models of intimacy.