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.
This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts discussed in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book shows the undeniable contribution and the limits of the biopower theory in the understanding of dead bodies en masse. It talks about the fact that criminology has for so long ignored mass crime, even though the link between the corpse and the criminal is one of the fundamentals of the discipline. The book addresses the issue of the practical and symbolic treatment of corpses by societies affected by mass violence. It shows how working ideologies along with historical legacy and geographical landscapes determined the disposal of the bodies. The book examines the simultaneously diplomatic and medicolegal nature of the activities of the French Search Commission for Corpses of Deportees in Germany. It also draws on German archives to describe the various modalities of treatment of corpses in Croatia.