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(Post)socialism as the post-social I 
Nikolai Ssorin-Chaikov
Serguei Oushakine (Princeton University)
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Xenia Cherkaev (Independent scholar)
Peter Froggatt Centre (PFC), 0G/007
Thursday 28 July, -
Time zone: Europe/London

Short Abstract:

This panel aims at rethinking (post)socialism through the lens of the sociocultural invention, and des-invention, of the Euroamerican category of the 'social' in its Marxist version in former Soviet-type societies and global socialisms.

Long Abstract:

Post-social is often understood as an analysis that admits human beings 'by nature be social animals' but asserts that sociality have been increasingly colonised by 'massive expansion of object-rich environments' (Knorr Cetina 2017). The social is reassembled as 'socius', Latin for 'associate' (Latour 2004) that can take a form of object or thing. But what if 'the social', like 'society', is not analytical but indigenous Euroamerican category (Strathern 1988) and, similarly to 'society', has its own history of invention and des-invention (cf. Rabinow 1989; Joyce 2002)? This panel takes Marxist vernacular (Kruglova 2017; Ssorin-Chaikov 2017) as a case in point of such a reading, and aims at rethinking (post)socialism through its own categories of the social — including ironically its own temporal dynamic of human- and object-centred sociality. Labour time was, for Marx, not not just a way to see through 'relations between things' of market commodity exchange to uncover 'social relations between men' it but also historically change the former into the latter: capitalism into social(ism). Recent historiography and anthropology of state socialism demonstrated that despite its calls 'agains the cult of things' and 'imagine no possessions', it has been a desiring machine of object-rich environments (Oushakine; Kiaer; Goulubev). The panel asks what temporal endpoints this socialist 'social' assumed, and what cultural biographies it had What reformulations of the political, the ethical, the spatial, and the material has it afforded? What kind of work of (un)communing the commons, in academia and elsewhere, does it imply?

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 28 July, 2022, -