Temporalities of austerity
in Politics of waiting
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Chapter 2 shows ethnographically how the politics of waiting played out in Latvia after the 2008 economic crisis. From the vantage point of the Riga unemployment office, it examines how the two temporalities - of activation and waiting – were both produced by the austerity state. The ethnographic analysis demonstrates how the disciplinary austerity state stigmatised lack of activity as a Soviet remnant but at the same time imposed various kinds of waiting on the social groups that were most affected by the crisis and the austerity. As the welfare policies were being reconfigured as psychological activation and workfare programmes, many of the most vulnerable individuals in society were kept in a limbo.

Politics of waiting

Workfare, post-Soviet austerity and the ethics of freedom




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