Showing 19 publications

The clash of sovereignties: The Latvian subject and its Russian imperialism

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Latvia, Russia

Themes: Geopolitics, Imperialism, Sovereignty

Dace Dzenovska argues that the encounter between the Latvian subject and its very own Russian imperialism represents a clash of sovereignties. If the Latvian subject strives for an international relations version of sovereignty that allows it to join existing alliances, the Russian state as a multinational federation – or an empire – strives for a geopolitical version of sovereignty that allows it to constitute – or reshape – orders.

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‘Postness’, a contemporary human condition?

Authors: Friederike Pank, Felix Schiedlowski

Like emptiness, 'postness' denotes a condition between a disintegrated past and an elusive future that is difficult to articulate in positive terms. Describing reconfiguration without resolution, terminologies of 'postness' point to a present that feels epistemologically evacuated. In this virtual issue, Friederike Pank and Felix Schiedlowski collate JRAI articles published between 2002 and 2022 to trace how anthropologists have tried to make sense of this phenomenon.

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Not just rusty metal: What fences in Armenia reveal about the state

Authors: Maria Gunko

Location: Armenia

Themes: Demodernization, Infrastructure

Have you ever taken notice of fences while passing through rural or small-town Armenia? What, if anything, do you recall?

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Smashed tabernacle: Catholic emptiness and nationalism in post-industrial Scotland

Authors: Dominic Martin

Location: United Kingdom

Themes: Materiality, Nationalism, Religion

Dominic Martin, seeking to understand the phenomenon of ‘emptiness’, reflects on the emblematic trajectory of a remarkable building and the mythopoetic insight it provides into the absent future of the Scottish Catholic experience: the celebrated modernist architectural ruin, St Peter's, Cardross, Scotland.

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Good enough sovereignty, or on land as property and territory in Latvia

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Latvia

Themes: Capitalism, Geopolitics, Postsocialism, Sovereignty, The Countryside, The Rural

Drawing on ethnographic analysis of the tensions surrounding the Danish presence in the Latvian countryside and on historical analysis of the shifting regimes of ownership and rule since the beginning of the twentieth century, this article traces the emergence of ‘good enough sovereignty’ as a form of political practice aimed at ensuring continued existence of the Latvian state and Latvian farmers.

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Violent faces of the Russian state

Authors: Maria Gunko

Location: Russia

Themes: Infrastructure, Postsocialism, Statecraft, Statehood, Violence

While the war in Ukraine is making the 'fast' spectacular violence of the Russian state increasingly evident, the latter's 'slow' violence has largely remained out of the spotlight. Drawing on various data sources, this essay discusses the different yet co-existing sets of state practices – statecraft and statehood. It portrays a more nuanced picture of state violence expressed by the Russian state both against Ukraine and against its own citizens within Russia.

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Lost in transformation: comparative analysis of healthcare provision dynamics within urban systems of European Russia and France

Authors: Maria Gunko, Benoit Conti, Aleksander Sheludkov, Sophie Baudet-Michel, Anastasia Novkunskaya

Location: France, Russia

Themes: Healthcare

This comparative study of healthcare in France and European Russia traces variations in provision between cities of different sizes and administrative statuses during a 20-year period. Since the early 1990s, both countries have been putting New Public Management principles into practice on an ad hoc and planned basis. As a result, healthcare reforms have led to fewer hospital beds and redistribution of healthcare provision in favour of larger cities.

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Reverberations of extractivism: The long epilogue of the coal story in East Germany

Authors: Friederike Pank

Location: Germany

Themes: Climate, Extractivism

Welzow, a provincial coal mining town in the Lusatian mining district of Eastern Germany, is an exemplary case of how the transition from extractivism to post-extractivism reaches the limit of anthropocentric technological solutionism, calling for a radically new approach, anthropologist Friederike Pank argues in her contribution to the Berliner Gazette text series 'After Extractivism'.

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Making sense of the war in Ukraine

Authors: Volodymyr Artiukh, Emma Rimpiläinen, Dace Dzenovska, Madeleine Reeves, Anna Balazs, Roosa Rytkönen, Jonathon Turnbull, Maria Gunko, Claudia Eggart, Ina Zharkevich

Location: Eastern Europe, Germany, Latvia, Russia, Ukraine

Themes: War

This forum is one attempt to make sense of the war and related events in a constantly shifting landscape. Each of us finds ourselves trying to track an avalanche-in-motion, figuring out what the war means for our interlocutors and their families, for their livelihoods and futures, for their practices of social navigation when homes and/or hopes have been upturned.

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Post-Soviet coal mining cities as platforms for the reordering of power relations

Authors: Maria Gunko

Location: Russia

Themes: Capitalism, Infrastructure, Sociality

The decaying post-Soviet mining cities are vivid illustrations of the on-going realignment of power relations after the end of the Cold War. As such they are both manifestations of new capitalism forms and platforms for the emergence of collective survival strategies, as urban anthropologist Maria Gunko argues in her contribution to the BG’s “After Extractivism” text series.

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US-plaining is not enough. To the Western left, on your and our mistakes

Authors: Volodymyr Artiukh

Location: Russia, Ukraine

Themes: Geopolitics, War

...Having faced ‘the impossible to imagine,’ I see how the Western left is doing what it has been doing the best: analysing the American neo-imperialism, the expansion of NATO. It is not enough anymore as it does not explain the world that is emerging from the ruins of Donbas and Kharkiv’s main square....

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Embattled futures on the margins of the liberal empire

Authors: Dace Dzenovska, Taras Fedirko

Location: Latvia, Ukraine

Themes: Geopolitics, The Future

A sense of embattlement has emerged as an increasingly common mode of experiencing the European present and thinking about its future. Is this a reinvigoration of politics or a dangerous amplification of political differences?

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If you would like to find out more about the project or contribute a blog on a resonant aspect of your own research to the Field Reports section of our website, please get in touch by writing to emptiness@anthro.ox.ac.uk.