Search Results

Abstract only

Politics of waiting

Workfare, post-Soviet austerity and the ethics of freedom

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

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.

Open Access (free)

Identification, politics, disciplines

Missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa

Series:

Nicky Rousseau

8 Identification, politics, disciplines: missing persons and colonial skeletons in South Africa1 Nicky Rousseau Locating, exhuming, and identifying human remains associated with mass violence and genocide has come to occupy an impor­tant place in the panoply of transitional justice measures. Although such work cuts across the core transitional justice issues of justice, reparation and truth-telling, it has received surprisingly little critical attention from within the transitional justice field.2 Existing studies, with some exception, can be characterized by

Abstract only

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

Introduction Riga v. Athens As I arrived in Riga in the autumn of 2011 to start my fieldwork, the Occupy movement was springing up in many cities across the world. Protests against austerity were spreading across Europe. Citizens’ movements were soon to turn into anti-establishment political parties across the Mediterranean. Latvia was one of the countries worst hit by the global financial crisis in the world. By the time of the beginning of my fieldwork, the austerity regime had been in place for two years. It had meant slashing government spending on welfare

Abstract only

Epilogue

Waiting for freedom

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

Epilogue: Waiting for freedom Where is your responsibility? Drawing on ethnographic analysis, I have sought to make a number of contributions to social theory in this book. First, I have engaged with the recently emerging sociology of waiting and theorised waiting as a form of state control (operating at the meso, or policy, level of society), but also as a form of political subjectivity (at the micro level) and an organising logic legitimating a national austerity regime (at the macro level). Secondly, the analysis that I have laid out contributes to the

Abstract only

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

1 Waiting as an organising logic The seven fat years ‘We have seven fat years ahead of us’, said the Latvian prime minister (PM) Aigars Kalvītis in his New Year’s Eve speech to the nation. The years ‘that we have been dreaming about’. He said these words on 31 December 2005, only for the economic crisis to hit three years later. The biblical reference to Joseph’s travails in Egypt, enduring seven years of hunger to arrive at another seven of abundance, fitted the ceremonial tone of the speech. The PM’s address on New Year’s Eve is an established political

Abstract only

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

economy had shrunk from 920,000 to 710,000 as a result of the crisis and the ensuing austerity politics (Ošlejs 2012). I could still see the medieval church spires of the Old Town in the distance, but the marketplace marked a clear divide between the neat and touristy Old Town and Maskavas forštate (the Moscow District), where the unemployment office was located. Entering this area, I instinctively moved my bag slightly towards the front of my body and squeezed it more tightly under my elbow – a habit developed since my student days in Riga. The university I had

Open Access (free)

Claudia Merli and Trudi Buck

This article considers the contexts and processes of forensic identification in 2004 post-tsunami Thailand as examples of identity politics. The presence of international forensic teams as carriers of diverse technical expertise overlapped with bureaucratic procedures put in place by the Thai government. The negotiation of unified forensic protocols and the production of estimates of identified nationals straddle biopolitics and thanatocracy. The immense identification task testified on the one hand to an effort to bring individual bodies back to mourning families and national soils, and on the other hand to determining collective ethnic and national bodies, making sense out of an inexorable and disordered dissolution of corporeal as well as political boundaries. Individual and national identities were the subject of competing efforts to bring order to,the chaos, reaffirming the cogency of the body politic by mapping national boundaries abroad. The overwhelming forensic effort required by the exceptional circumstances also brought forward the socio-economic and ethnic disparities of the victims, whose post-mortem treatment and identification traced an indelible divide between us and them.

Open Access (free)

Series:

Chowra Makaremi

7 State violence and death politics in post-revolutionary Iran 1 Chowra Makaremi 2 From 9 January to 19 July 2012, the Iranian daily Gooya News, one of the Iranian diaspora’s main information sites, published a series of forty-one articles, entitled ‘Interviews with a torture and rape witness’. The tortures and rapes in question were from the period of violent state repression that gripped the Islamic Republic throughout the 1980s. The interviews give voice to the anonymous testimony of an official involved in the penitentiary and judicial sphere of that period

Abstract only

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

merely passing’ under various political regimes. In the previous chapter I interrogated the The anxious subject 61 waiting that was both stigmatised and produced by austerity policies and workfare programmes. In this chapter, I wish to probe further how the post-Soviet politics of waiting and catching up have both shaped one’s sense of self and been enabled by particular forms of subjectivity. As Veena Das asks to this end, ‘What is the work that time does in the creation of the subject?’ (2007: 95). She notes that, for her interlocutors, time appears as having an

Abstract only

Series:

Liene Ozoliņa

4 The will to live Standing in the rubble In November 2013, the roof of the supermarket Maxima collapsed in the Zolitūde suburb of Riga, amidst Soviet-era apartment blocks and post-1991 high-rises. Fifty-four people died under the falling slabs of concrete. Police started an investigation, and a public debate ensued about the widespread use of low-quality building materials to reduce costs, about suspicious links between the construction industry and political parties, as well as about the costs of the post-2008 austerity. The opposition party, which was in