Crisis, transition temporality, and the subject of endurance
(University of Oxford)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on long-term fieldwork on postsocialist transformations in Latvia, this paper considers whether and how the 2008 financial crisis and its aftermath interrupted the transition temporality that has prevailed in public and political life of the formerly socialist Eastern Europe.
Paper long abstract:
As elsewhere in the region, the last twenty years of postsocialist transformations and European integration in Latvia have produced what some have referred to as ignorance about the present. For most of that time, the present was characterized by continuous efforts to overcome the socialist past and to arrive at a European future. As a result, the present became invisible and unknowable on its own terms. The onset of crisis in 2008 seemed to propel the past and the future into the present insofar as life became unlivable for many Latvia's residents, exacerbating the already ongoing outmigration. In a short period of time, however, Latvia became exemplary of both—the worse case of crisis and the best solution to it. The government implemented decisive and harsh austerity policies, demanding that Latvia's residents tighten their belts in solidarity with the suffering state and nation. The interplay between the socialist past and the European future that for long characterized public and political life gave way to a present of endurance. In this paper, I will trace the contours of the subject of endurance alongside the fleeting appearance of revolutionary subjects in the post-crisis political landscape in Europe. I will focus in particular on the relationship between post-crisis European subjectivities currently in-formation and the racialized normative European subject that has animated postsocialist transformations.
Crisis, intimacy, and the European subject