Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Institut für Europäische Ethnologie

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin | Institut für Europäische Ethnologie | Termine | Institutskolloquium im Wintersemester 2019/20

Institutskolloquium im Wintersemester 2019/20

  • Wann 17.12.2019 von 14:00 bis 16:00
  • Wo Hausvogteiplatz 5-7, Raum 0007
  • iCal

The Time of Postsocialism: On the future of an anthropological concept

Felix Ringel (Durham)



Anthropologists of postsocialism were forced to carefully distinguish between what had remained the same, what had actually changed and what was emerging anew and on its own terms after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989. By that, they have contributed prominently to theories of time, change and temporal agency. They have also shown that the postsocialist present is, if at all, as determined by its socialist past as it is by its insecure futures. Based on ethnographic material from a former socialist model city in East Germany and my own experiences as both, a postsocialist anthropologist and an anthropologist of postsocialism, I scrutinize the temporal logic of the sub-discipline's defining concept, test its applicability to a variety of empirical objects, and ponder upon its implications for a more sustained study of the future. The temporal multiplicity that this concept affords is crucial for the discipline overall and it is time to rewrite the time of postsocialism.


Felix Ringel is an Assistant Professor in Social Anthropology at Durham University. His work on time, the future, and urban regeneration has been published in leading anthropological journals such as The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Critique of Anthropology and Anthropological Theory. He is the author of Back to the Postindustrial Future: An Ethnography of Germany's Fastest-Shrinking City and the coeditor of The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology's special issue on "Time-Tricking: Reconsidering Temporal Agency in Troubled Times".