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This book is an ethnography of politics of waiting in the contemporary austerity state. While the global political economy is usually imagined through metaphors of acceleration and speed, this book reveals waiting as the shadow temporality of the contemporary logics of governance. The ethnographic site for this analysis is a state-run unemployment office in Latvia. This site not only grants the author unique access to observing everyday implementation of social assistance programmes that use acceleration and waiting as forms of control but also serves as a vantage point from which to compare Western and post-Soviet workfare policy designs. The book thus contributes to current debates across sociology and anthropology on the increasingly coercive forms of social control by examining ethnographically forms of statecraft that have emerged in the aftermath of several decades of neoliberalism. The ethnographic perspective reveals how time shapes a nation’s identity as well as one’s sense of self and ordinary ethics in culturally specific ways. The book traces how both the Soviet past, with its narratives of building communism at an accelerated speed while waiting patiently for a better future, as well as the post-Soviet nationalist narratives of waiting as a sacrifice for freedom come to play a role in this particular case of the politics of waiting.
Turkey’s Europeanisation saga, which began in 1959 and climaxed in 2005 with the opening of membership negotiations with the European Union (EU), presents a unique opportunity to understand how interstate actors negotiate their interests; what ‘common interests’ look like from their historically and culturally contingent perspectives; and what happens when actors work for their private, professional, public, personal or institutional interests, even when those interests may go against their mandate. Honing in on the role of diplomats and lobbyists during negotiations for Turkey’s contentious EU membership bid, this book presents intricate, backstage conflicts of power and interests and negotiations of compromises, which drove this candidate country both closer to and farther from the EU. The reader will find in the book the everyday actors and agents of Turkish Europeanisation and learn what their work entails, which interests they represent and how they do what they do. Based on long-term ethnographic fieldwork in Brussels, the book argues that public, private and corporate actors, voicing economic, political and bureaucratic interests from all corners of Europe, sought access to markets and polities through the Turkish bid instead of pursuing their mandate of facilitating Turkey’s EU accession. Although limited progress was achieved in Turkey’s actual EU integration, diplomats and lobbyists from both sides of the negotiating table contradictorily affirmed their expertise as effective negotiators, seeking more status and power. This is the first book-length account of the EU–Turkey power-interest negotiations in situ, from the perspective of its long-term actors and agents.
This book is based on a study of the strategies and tactics applied by municipal
bureaucrats and local politicians in the pursuit of political goals. The study
is set in two small Norwegian municipalities. Here, the enactment of a
bureaucracy based on legal-rational authority within a small and close-knit
community tend to essentialize some central tension and dilemmas related to how
formal and informal relations intersect during the production of public policy.
By analyzing the relation between normative and pragmatic rules regulating
political action, the author demonstrates how the efforts to resolve these
tensions and dilemmas involve a balance between alternative sources of political
Through ethnographic accounts of policy-making in action, the book offers novel perspectives on the interdisciplinary debate about local governance. Most significantly, these accounts demonstrate how processes of hierarchical government are inextricably intertwined with broader processes of governance during policy processes, thereby dissolving the theoretical and normative separation between the two concepts characterizing large parts of the literature. By focusing on the interconnections between government and governance, the author explores the cultural and historical conditions informing this intertwinement, which, the author argues, enable horizontal alignments that can modify the hierarchical logic of bureaucratic organizations.
Through its interdisciplinary approach, the book draws on a range of perspectives from political science, sociology and anthropology. This broad approach makes the book relevant for a wide audience of students and scholars interested in the inner workings of bureaucratic organizations and how such organizations interact with their societal surroundings.
Most people find it hard to define ‘the economy’ beyond saying it is ‘to do with money’. This book explores what ‘the economy’ means to people’s lives in Brexit Britain and what goes through their minds when they hear politicians talking about it. Through research with people from a range of backgrounds in a city on the sSouth coast of England conducted between 2016 and 2018, it reveals what they understand about key aspects of ‘the economy’, including employment, austerity, trade and the economic effects of migration.
The book comes at a crucial point. There is widespread commentary that those who support Leave attach less importance to ‘the economy’ than those who support Remain. However, political scientists have neglected research into what the term ‘the economy’ means to people. This book suggests that it is a less neutral term, based on shared goals, than it has been in the past. While high- income participants, regardless of their political beliefs or referendum vote, tend to feel connected to what could be described as the official version of ‘the economy’, lower- income participants feel less connected and see both ‘the economy’ and economic expertise as ‘rigged’. These changes are not just the result of the Brexit debate but have longer- term roots. The book highlights the value of political ethnographic methods for researching nebulous concepts such as this one. It will be of interest to a general and political science audience and contributes to debates in political behaviour and political economy.
Deportation limbo traces the efforts of two Nordic welfare states, Denmark and Sweden, to address the so-called implementation gap in deportation enforcement. It offers an original, empirically grounded account of how often-futile, injurious policy measures devoted to pressuring non-deported people to leave are implemented and contested in practice. In doing so, it presents a critique of the widespread, normalised use of detention, encampment, and destitution, which routinely fail to enhance deportations while exposing deportable people to conditions that cause their premature death. The book takes the ‘deportation limbo’ as a starting point for exploring the violent nature of borders, the racial boundaries of welfare states, and the limits of state control over cross-border mobility. Building on unprecedented access to detention and deportation camps and migration offices in both countries, it presents ethnographic material capturing frontline officials’ tension-ridden efforts to regulate non-deported people using forced deportation, incarceration, encampment, and destitution. Using a continuum of state violence as the analytical lens, the book offers a uniquely comprehensive account of how the borders of Nordic welfare states are drawn through practices that subject racialised ‘others’ to expulsion, incarceration, and destitution. The book is the first to systematically document the renewed deportation turn in Denmark and Sweden, and to critically examine its implications: for the people targeted by intensified deportation measures, and for the individual officials, institutions, and societies enforcing them. It offers an important, critical contribution to current debates on the violence of deportation regimes, the politico-bureaucratic structures and practices that sustain them, and their human costs.
Based on unprecedented access to the UK Parliament, this book challenges how we understand and think about accountability between government and Parliament. Using data from a three-month research placement, over 45 interviews and more, this book focuses on the everyday practices of MPs and officials to reveal how parliamentarians perform their scrutiny roles. Some MPs adopt the role of a specialist, while others the role of a lone wolf; some are there to try to defend their party while others want to learn about policy. Among these different styles, chairs of committees have to try to reconcile these interpretations and either act as committee-orientated catalysts or attempt to impose order as leadership-orientated chieftains. All of this pushes and pulls scrutiny in lots of competing directions, and tells us that accountability depends on individual beliefs, everyday practices, and the negotiation of dilemmas. In this way, MPs and officials create a drama or spectacle of accountability and use their performance on the parliamentary stage to hold government to account. This book offers the most up-to-date and detailed research on committee practices in the House of Commons, following a range of reforms since 2010. The findings add new dimensions to how we study and understand accountability through the book’s path-breaking empirical focus, theoretical lens, and methodological tools. It is an ideal book for anyone interested in how Parliament works.