Emptiness

Making sense of the war in Ukraine

Authors: Volodymyr Artiukh, Emma Rimpiläinen, Dace Dzenovska, Madeleine Reeves, Anna Balazs, Roosa Rytkönen

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. Most of us contributing to this forum are anthropologists. Some of us work explicitly on questions of migration, mobility and displacement. Others have been trying to make sense of how, in shifting political contexts, our informants seek to navigate competing epistemic claims about freedom and truth. 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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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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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.