Emptiness

Emptiness forum in Cultural Anthropology

Authors: Dace Dzenovska, Daniel M. Knight

Location: Bosnia, China, Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Latvia, United Kingdom

Themes: Capitalism, Infrastructure, Materiality, The City, The Future

This series argues that emptiness is emerging as a concrete spatial-temporal coordinate in the global landscape of capitalism and state power, and a heuristic device of political struggles.

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Emptiness and Order

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Latvia

Themes: Connectivity, Museums, Order

...The mess was sorted, but only insofar as it tidied up the in-between space between the old world that had ended, and the new world that could not yet be seen.

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Muzeji un tukšums (in Latvian)

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Latvia

Themes: Connectivity, Museums, Order

Muzeji ir instrumenti, ar kuru palīdzību sakārtot haosu, kas radies tukšošanās rezultātā. Tie ir arī tilti, ar kuru palīdzību mēģināt pievienoties globālajai apritei un tādējādi – nākotnei. Ja muzeja nav, tad, iespējams, nav arī kārtības, pasaule var paiet garām, un rītdiena labākajā gadījumā būs tāda pati kā šodiena.

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Emptiness: Capitalism after Socialism

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Eastern Europe

Themes: Capitalism, Postsocialism

The concept of 'emptiness' conjures up a rich archive of meanings – from chaos before order, to 'empty lands' settled by colonial modernizers, to the existential emptiness of modern subjects. It is a malleable and generative concept that connects things that are not the same, but may be of the same kind.

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Emptiness: Capitalism without People in the Latvian Countryside

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Eastern Europe, Latvia

Themes: Capitalism, Postsocialism, The Future

As a social formation, emptiness consists of: (1) an observable reality wherein places rapidly lose their constitutive elements (people, infrastructure, services, social networks, and the future); (2) a way of life that emerges in response to such changes, which seem irreversible; and (3) an emic interpretive framework for making sense of the new reality.

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The Timespace of Emptiness

Authors: Dace Dzenovska

Location: Latvia

Themes: Affect, Time

It refers to material reality, insofar as one can see homes without people and tracks without trains. It denotes the dispersal of social relations – without thick networks of friends and neighbors, lives become emptier.... Some people say that the abandoned homes make them feel anxious, even a little nauseous.

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Collaborate with us

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.