The will to live
in Politics of waiting
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Chapter shifts the focus from forms of state control and discipline and zooms in on the ways in which the trainers who ran one of the activation programmes at the Latvian unemployment office understood their work. Conversations with four trainers reveal how they had shaped themselves as entrepreneurial and resilient subjects in the post-1991 neoliberal state, but also how they linked the ideas of ‘willingness to work on oneself’ and of ‘taking responsibility’ to the exercise of freedom that was the promise of the post-1991 Latvian state project. This chapter thus starts developing an alternative analytical language for exploring the concepts of ‘will’, ‘responsibility’, and ‘having a good life’ as they figure in the trainers’ narratives. It explores how they figure in ways that may be disciplinary but also work as an ethical discourse

Politics of waiting

Workfare, post-Soviet austerity and the ethics of freedom


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