Emptiness

Post-Soviet coal mining cities as battlegrounds 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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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: 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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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.