Conversation with David Nugent

Politico-Spatial Temporalities

Othon Alexandrakis [OA], editor of the volume, Impulse to Act: A New Anthropology of Resistance and Social Justice, shares some of the exchanges that inspired it. This conversation with David Nugent [DN] focuses on political temporalities and becoming politically self-aware. It begins with a brief reflection on temporality and the political, drawing upon comments from the remarks that David prepared in his role as discussant for a plenary exploring “Unsettled Politics” during the 2014 meeting of the Canadian Anthropology Society.

Plenary participants were asked to consider the forces that figure the impulse to act in unsettled political circumstances. Sara Shneiderman presented a paper entitled “Restructuring Life: Local, National and Global Orders in the Making of ‘New Nepal’”, Kabir Tambar explored “Popular Politics and the Claim of Historical Injustice in Turkey”, and Neni Panourgiá gave a paper entitled “‘there is no end to mourning here…’ Giving an account of the precarious self in Greece of the crises.” David noted that one of the themes that emerged from the papers he read was a re-engagement with Victor Turner’s model of temporal change—of stable social states punctuated by liminal moments of transition—as a framing device for analysis. However, rather than a direct application of the frame, it was the way that the context-specific temporalities of change deviated from Turner’s model that was especially revealing.

Here is a condensed version of David’s remarks, which highlight two of the instances of deviation he discussed at the plenary:

In the first, popular politics aggregate heterogeneous concerns and issues calling into question the taken-for-granted-ness of the everyday [think: the Taksim Gezi Park protests in Turkey]. This inverts the normal and the exceptional, and questions both the relationship between structure and anti-structure and the sequence in which Turner’s stages normally unfold. What people are accustomed to thinking of as the norm—conditions of stability, order and routine—are shown to be a perpetual state of exception that is masquerading as the norm. Moments of “anti-structure,” of “transition,” come to be regarded as the new “structure” to which a great many people aspire.

This imagined state of affairs has its own temporality. One glimpses what it might look like in the future in momentary flashes of protest, resistance, in the present. Such moments are marked by a sense of rupture, by discontinuity with what has been and what is. The participants in this popular politics do not seek to transition to a known, taken-for-granted future state—one that has familiar parameters and predictable outlines, one that will bring transition to an end.  Rather, they draw on transition to imagine a new normal—a future state they wish to achieve.

In the second, conditions of socio-economic crisis and neoliberal structural change disturb what a rapidly expanding precariat assumes to be the normal progression from past to present to future [think: the sovereign debt crisis in Greece or Spain]. For those plunged into precarity, crisis simply arrives. It has no author. It has no advocates. It makes no sense. And since it comes from nowhere, without warning, and without rhyme nor reason, people have no way of understanding when or why it might leave. The meltdown leaves people with no idea of where they are going—only a very vivid sense for where they have been, and where they are. The catastrophe stops time. There is a powerful sense of a permanently suspended temporality, in which people live in the moment.

Crisis-driven precarity subjects individuals to a temporality that is seemingly of no one’s making. The sense of a past radically different from the present is painfully obvious. There is no need, on this basis, to erect a moral and temporal marker between what has been/is and what should be. To the contrary, the temporality of crisis invokes a past that still should be and a present that never should be. Furthermore, there is a sense that crisis will never end. There is no future that is imaginable other than crisis. The present is profoundly (and tragically) different from the past, and it is a present that will always be. People have no sense of transition—of moving away from where they are and toward anything different.

The ideas of Victor Turner, and the ways that the two examples considered here deviate from Turner’s model, are revealing. What runs through these cases, and a primary concern for Turner, is people’s ability to locate themselves in a process of social and cultural reproduction that links the past to the present and the future.

OA: One of the common concerns I hear from my colleagues these days is that political theory fails to explain new social movements. Categories like ‘citizen’, ‘state’, and ‘public sphere’ do not map onto what we’re seeing on the ground. I want to open by asking, David, if you found it surprising that, what we might call a classic analytical frame – Victor Turner’s model of temporal change – was so productive during the plenary? There are issues with Turner’s model, to be sure, and we should perhaps use his work primarily as a point of departure. Approaching the political from the perspective of the temporal dynamics of its unfolding provided useful language (communitas, liminality) that allowed us to escape a linear approach to the political that tends to predetermine both the trajectory and identity of action.

Second, in the above, we get a sense of ‘inverted’ time and ‘frozen’ time, but what about place? In the first case we have the aggregation of diverse places (and issues) into a single point of gravity: the protest action. In the second example, place has become a scattering of broken chronotopes, as Bahktin might put it: a geography where time and space no longer intersect, where the stories members of a community tells themselves about themselves cannot be located on a topography in the process of ruination.  It strikes me that the issue, once again, comes down to an inability of the people to locate themselves.

DN: Allow me to take your questions in reverse order. At the plenary, we focused on the importance of time in framing political imaginaries—in particular, on people’s ability to locate themselves in a process of social and cultural reproduction that links past to present to future. As you suggest, however, equally important in this process are constructions of place and space. Just as it is essential that people be able to come to some notion of temporal coherence, it is equally important that they be able to arrive at some understanding of spatial coherence.

In a recent publication, I suggest that people make sense of their everyday lives by engaging in an ongoing process of temporal and spatial positioning.[1] As they do so, they generate accounts that they regard as descriptions of their lives and their life circumstances.  These accounts, however, are more usefully understood as moral judgments and imaginative projections. There are two aspects of judging and imagining that are relevant to the present discussion. The first of these is “aggregation,” which I alluded to in my remarks at the plenary. This refers to the process by which people come to regard socio-cultural phenomena they have not formerly seen as related as intimately interconnected. It refers to the process by which people make novel associations between activities, institutions, objects, places, images, persons, rituals and persons, which they aggregate into broad patterns. Implicit in these patterns that people “discover” are new forms of coherence, in both temporal and spatial terms. The papers in the plenary brought this out clearly.

The second of these activities is “projection.” This refers to the process by which people seize upon what they have aggregated in any given context, and on that basis project into being an entire domain of power, morality, organization, order and discipline (or lack thereof) that is seen as being located (in time and space) somewhere beyond the immediate encounter. A focus on aggregation is interesting because it points to the creative, open-ended dimension to what transpires as people construct political imaginaries—because it shows that the specific elements of time and place that people aggregate in any given set of circumstances are not to be taken for granted.

A focus on projection is interesting because it reveals the connections between the moral/affective and the spatial/temporal dimensions to the construction of political imaginaries. In the course of aggregating and projecting, people do more than just bring together unconnected places, events and people, and in the process locate themselves in time and space with respect to broader forces (whether these are framed in terms of state, market, etc.). They do more than project a domain of power and morality that lies somewhere beyond the moment of aggregation. As we saw in the papers in the plenary (especially the papers by Neni Panourgiá and Kabir Tambar), implicit in the evaluations people make about where they are located is the need to change that location, whether in time, space or both.  In other words, not only are these constructions creative, they are also dynamic. There is nothing even remotely fixed or static about them.

It is the dynamic character of these processes that invokes the work of Victor Turner. Among the most interesting aspects of Turner is his focus on the role of contradiction in generating change. My sense is that people are beginning to rediscover Turner. Sara Shneiderman’s paper at the plenary drew very effectively on his work.[2]

OA: I want to pick up on “aggregation” and “projection.” First I want to ask, when do people aggregate? Are we doing this all the time, on the fly; or do we aggregate in order to give cogent form and content to an event or state of affairs that exceeds the normative, or perhaps, when the normative becomes objectionable? I’m also interested in the idea that these aggregations give the event or situation direction, again, in the mind of the individual. Is this a way of talking about political emergence – a way of locating “the political”? Is this also a way of accounting for differentiation? I imagine the aggregates produced by each individual are unique, mobilized differently, and are linked to experience in different ways. There is so much to think with here, what an exciting approach.

An anti-fascist, pro-refugee demonstration on the island of Lesbos, Greece, October 18 2016. Hundreds of individuals participated in this event which began at a nearby square with speeches, and ended with a march that moved along the nearby streets. These scenes invite us to think about aggregation, projection and the edges of “the political.”

DN: Aggregation and projection are not reserved for events or contexts that exceed the normative.  Rather, they are involved in producing the normative, and also in challenging it. We aggregate and project all the time, unavoidably, in order to give cogent form and content to our lives. In other words, we engage in these activities to construct totalities that help us make sense of things. In the process, we locate ourselves, in time, space and social space, with respect to a social world that we regard as beyond us, but that we do much to construct/reproduce. Like all totalities, those that we produce by means of aggregation and projection are highly normative. They are assertions about how and what the world ought to be rather than descriptions of how and what it is. It is interesting that we generally confuse these two.  We invert the normative and the descriptive. As this suggests, aggregation and projection most certainly give an event or situation direction, location, meaning, significance. They also help produce aggregates, and thus are involved in processes of differentiation. As you suggest, these aggregates may be mobilized in distinct ways, toward distinct ends.  The only caveat here is that we do not aggregate and project entirely as we choose, but in relation to given forms of inequality, exclusion, marginalization, expropriation, etc.

One can see the relevance of Turner here. The fact that we invert the normative and the descriptive means that there is an unacknowledged tension at the very core of our descriptions and understandings of the world, a contradiction that threatens to transform those understandings, even when they are organized in a ritual process.

OA: I’m reminded of Ann Swidler’s[3] recent take on ‘culture’ as being a dynamic open repertoire of tools that are mobilized, variously, as one attempts to make sense of the world.  Following this along – and I don’t mean to make your theory into something you didn’t intend – reveals how uncertain the edges and even the contents of the political can be.  Your suggestion that we look for the creative and dynamic constructions as political locations certainly allow us to identify action as political, but what about the times in between these actions when life is comparatively quiet. Can you say more about how we might describe politics during times of inaction when subjects do not wish to change their locations, as you put it? Does this politics differ from resistance action in ways unaccounted for by the idea of dynamism? What distinguishes this politics from non-political aggregation and projection (if such a thing exists)? I ask because the issue of how to identify the political is a central concern of Impulse to Act.

DN: In the aftermath of the massive popular uprisings that shook Paris in May of 1968, rumor has it that Claude Levi-Strauss lamented that structuralism was dead. The startling explosion of agency and history represented by those events, it would seem, challenged a number of his most basic assumptions. Levi-Strauss’ lament raises the thorny question of the status of structure in anthropological thinking. It also raises the question of how we make sense of anti-structure in relation to structure. Was May of 1968 qualitatively different from what came before? Was it a brief, exceptional upsurge of agency that temporarily disrupted a broad sea of structure? In other words, must we choose between the seemingly ordinary and apparently extraordinary, as the comment attributed to Levi-Strauss seems to suggest? Or, alternatively, are there ways of making sense of both within the same conceptual framework?

Among the most interesting aspects of assertions about what is ordinary and routine, of course, is that they are assertions rather than facts. Furthermore, they are assertions made by specific constituencies, even (or especially) if those constituencies do not recognize the particularity of their claims. Equally interesting is the fact that people who are less fortunately positioned (in time, space or socio-cultural space) with respect to any given normative political project almost invariably regard assertions about what is normal as anything but that. As a result, they face great hostility from those who are so heavily invested in inverting the prescriptive and the descriptive—from those who resist the notion that their assertions are anything but natural facts.

A good example is the great boxer and political activist Muhammad Ali, and his rationale for refusing to fight in Vietnam. I was a boy when he made his famous remarks, but I remember them well. Ali said that he refused to “travel around the world and drop bombs and bullets on brown people in Vietnam while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs.”

He said, “You want to send me to jail? Fine, you go right ahead. I’ve been in jail for 400 years. I could be there for 4 or 5 more, but I ain’t going no 10,000 miles to help murder and kill other poor people. If I want to die, I’ll die right here, right now, fightin’ you, if I want to die. You my enemy, not no Chinese, no Vietcong, no Japanese. You my opposer when I want freedom. You my opposer when I want justice. You my opposer when I want equality. Want me to go somewhere and fight for you? You won’t even stand up for me right here in America, for my rights and my religious beliefs. You won’t even stand up for me right here at home.”

Upon hearing this for the first time I was, quite simply, astonished. I was in awe of Ali’s bravery, and I both admired and supported his stand on the war. But at the time I also thought that many of the connections he was making were crazy! I simply had no context for making sense of them. I did, however, understand his refusal to fight. Much of my generation was involved in the same struggle. Looking back on it now, what is so striking is how brilliant he was, and also how far ahead of the rest of us he was. Ali was able to understand the operation of imperial power, and the limits to American exceptionalism, in ways that most academics would not understand for many years to come. As a result of the principled stand that Ali took based on his beliefs, he was sentenced to five years in jail, was stripped of his heavyweight title and was fined $10,000.

It is crucial, I believe, to recognize that structure must be actively created and reproduced, at every moment. It is equally important to recognize that it must be protected—not only from threats like that posed by Ali, and by the anti-war movement more broadly, but also from far less visible challenges, which occur innumerable times a day, in a variety of social settings. As this implies, the everyday and the routine are not simply there. Rather, much in the way of cultural, political and affective labor goes into producing and reproducing what appears to be the normalcy of the mundane and the everyday. If we make the production of the normal into a problem—if we understand that the everyday is not a solid structure of consensus but a tense, contested and unstable field of dissent—the ordinary and the taken-for-granted appear in a different light.

 Ali spoke out about race relations and the Vietnam War across the country during his exile from boxing.

Ali spoke out about race relations and the Vietnam War across the country during his exile from boxing.

As you put it so well, at issue here are the “edges,” or the boundaries of the political, and the mechanisms involved in enforcing those boundaries. One might argue that boundary maintenance is crucial to efforts to produce a domain of the ordinary. One might also argue that the exceptional is always threatening to overcome those boundaries—to spill into and contaminate the ordinary. Indeed, this is one reason that the differences between the remarkable and the routine are so carefully marked, regulated and ritualized, as Victor Turner helped us understand. From this perspective, the ordinary and the routine are usefully understood as arbitrary and unstable constructions that are imposed upon a very messy, fluid, even chaotic set of processes and possibilities. But efforts to impose the ordinary and the routine come at great cost. In this sense, one need not look only to highly dramatic events like May of 1968 in Paris to recognize the limits of the notion of structure. Rather, evidence of these limitations is everywhere.  It is all around us, all the time.

OA: David, your story about Muhammad Ali’s influence on your thinking early on in life is wonderful. I’ve been interested in what it means to become (as opposed to being or acting) political for some time. In their recent ethnography, Children of the Greek Civil War: Refugees and the Politics of Memory (2012), Loring Danforth and Riki Van Boeschoten explain that the transition from childhood to adulthood for their consultants occurred progressively as these individuals became situated, secure and able to imagine cohesive pasts and meaningful futures – an imagining that emerged as a subjective moral discourse. The moral provides this transition a civil quality: one built as the individual gains experiences and reflects at key moments. I’ve found this approach to thinking about political sense very interesting. It certainly synches with our reconsideration of Turner. Perhaps I can ask you to reflect further on the general idea of becoming politically self-aware, so to speak.

DN: The distinction you draw between acting politically and becoming politically self-aware is a fascinating one, and provides much food for thought. As you point out, it also speaks directly to our previous discussion about the work of Victor Turner. Acting politically, one might argue, assumes the ability to do just what you suggest in your question—to situate oneself in relation to a past and a future, to understand where one is positioned in such a temporal trajectory, and on that basis to have a clear sense for how and why one should act. A range of cultural logics and social and material circumstances may inform this process, of course. But acting politically implies that one has some kind of coherent understanding of the world that provides a framework for action.

To use concepts like aggregation and projection, in acting politically one draws on known elements in the socio-cultural environment and aggregates them into a familiar pattern. Or one assimilates new elements to that pattern. Regardless, the process of aggregation allows one to recognize and project oneself into a totality that is a given, that is already there. Indeed, it is the taken-for-granted nature of the structure within which people operate when they act politically that I would like to emphasize—people’s ability to engage with and be a part of what already is.

Becoming politically self-aware, on the other hand, would appear to signal a very different process—one that relies on questioning rather than accepting what is.  It implies a state of confusion rather than clarity, of doubt rather than certainty. It suggests that we have been confronted by pieces of a puzzle whose outlines we have yet to recognize—that we find ourselves unable to accept what we have formerly taken for granted. It suggests that conventional understandings of how the world is organized, and where we are situated within it, will no longer suffice.

Becoming self-aware implies transformation. It implies that we have come to recognize the relevance of different kinds of pieces, so to speak, and have come to aggregate those pieces into a new totality. This new totality that we project into being, and that we project ourselves into, not only changes how we understand the world. It also changes the way we comprehend our place in that world, and what we regard as the most appropriate way to act in it. As you suggest, there is an important moral dimension to this process. But the moral criteria and the cultural logics that we employ in making our emergent judgments may vary enormously, and may draw upon the most diverse of sources.

Allow me to offer an example of the difference between acting politically and becoming politically self-aware—one that illustrates how people draw upon aggregation and projection to create new totalities out of the most diverse of sources. In the early 1930s marginalized groups in a remote corner of the northern Peruvian Andes confronted the highly stratified social order of which they were a part by constructing an alternative cultural and moral universe, one based on assertions of radical equality in all spheres of life. They did so by drawing on an eclectic mix of writers—Gandhi, Marx and Freud, Proudhon, Kropotkin and home grown social theorists—all of whom they read in secret, and discussed in underground political meetings. On this basis they articulated new forms of global citizenship, developed new understandings of social justice and internalized new disciplines of the mind and body. Having done so, they went on to act—to lead a broad social movement that attracted much of the population. Those who were involved in this movement (called APRA, the Popular American Revolutionary Alliance) were able to act, however, only after they had been through a prior process of transformation that produced in them a new kind of self-awareness—one that reorganized how they understood the world, and their place in it. In their case, this liminal period lasted for about five years, and involved intensive training at the hands of more experienced members of the movement. At the end of this period those who had undergone this training graduated from the status of apprentice to become what the movement called “priests of democracy” (Nugent n.d.)[4].

The life of Muhammad Ali illustrates similar processes. Indeed, Ali found himself in a situation not unlike that of the Apristas. The dominant narratives of the society of which he was a part clashed violently with his experience and understanding of the world. It was very difficult for him to aggregate his experiences in the way he was being encouraged to, or to project himself into the kind of totality that was being constructed by mainstream, White America. Ali responded by seeking out an alternative. He found that alternative, and went on to live and act on the basis of it, but only after he had gone through a process of transformation that made of him a new kind of person, and that produced in him a new kind of political self-awareness. Growing up in the 1960s as a middle-class white kid in the white suburbs of the American Midwest, it was a lot easier for me to assimilate dominant narratives. But only within limits: having being challenged by Ali, and others like him, I came to realize that the world was not as I had been led to believe. The times were such that I was forced to acknowledge that my own life experience was literally non-sensical, that I needed a new framework for aggregating the many odd pieces I found myself confronted with.

These experiences of disorientation and disjuncture are anything but pleasant or easy, but they are especially difficult for people who face systematic discrimination, or who suffer real material or social deprivation. There are thus a range of conditions that can structure one’s experience of disjuncture, and one’s response to it. Having experienced it, however, people often undergo a reordering of the self that parallels a similar reordering of the world. As we struggle to find a new way of making sense of our surroundings we often don’t know where we are going.  And until we are able to construct a new totality we may not know how to understand where we have been. The freedom of being in such a profoundly liminal state is at once terrifying and exhilarating.  It is a contradictory experience in the best of circumstances, even if one knows where one is going and where one has been—even if one is liminal in the sense of that term generally attributed to Victor Turner.

But if one has no idea where one is going or where one has been, then figuring out where one is, so to speak, is profoundly unsettling. Indeed, it would appear that liminality is something that people adjust to most easily when they are prepared for it. Being forced into a liminal space without warning, having no guarantee that one will ever leave that space, and having the sense that there is nothing to return to, is both alarming and disorienting. It creates a situation that is lacking in structure, one that leaves people wholly without moorings or points of reference. Most of us find this experience of being cast adrift to be a terrifying one. As a consequence, we are driven to desperate acts, and are drawn to extreme positions (one thinks immediately of Neni’s paper from our panel, on the crisis in Greece). It is interesting that people often exhibit an irresistible urge to resolve the crisis of uncertainty that such circumstances produce.

Becoming politically self-aware is based on an initial experience of doubt and uncertainty, which is subsequently resolved. Some people pass through these states in the context of a known and accepted social universe. Others, however, find themselves thrust into the process, and must do the work of reconstructing the world and reconstructing themselves in the absence of familiar and reassuring signposts. As this suggests, becoming politically self-aware will vary according to the conditions that produce the uncertainty upon which transformation depends. It will also vary according to the circumstances that condition one’s efforts to resolve that uncertainty—that structure one’s search for a way of putting the world back together once it has fallen apart.

OA: I can’t thank you enough for this interview, David. Your recent thinking on the political imaginary is just fascinating. Inspired by comments you prepared for the CASCA 2014 “Unsettled Politics” plenary, and the classic works of Victor Turner, we took the theme ‘locating the political self’ as our point of departure. We considered the political in terms of spatiotemporal as well as sociocultural location, we explored positioning (aggregation and projection), and touched on transformation. Perhaps we can end with methodology. In general terms, how might the approach to the political we’ve discussed here inform the way we study politics “the field.” Picking up on one of the central concerns of Impulse to Act, I’m especially interested in the issue of studying resistance action.

DN: The approach to the political that we have discussed seeks to bring considerations of structure and anti-structure into the same conceptual field.  It does so by focusing critical attention on the status of the ordinary and the everyday. It examines the forces that compel people variously to accept or reject the taken-for-granted-ness of the everyday. And it seeks to identify the cultural logics they employ and the political imaginaries they construct in affirming or challenging the social worlds that are bequeathed to them.

The view of the political that we have outlined here does not privilege structure over anti-structure. Rather, it regards both as being of equal significance, of equal weight, politically and conceptually. It also understands structure and anti-structure as highly contingent and mutually co-constituting. Furthermore, this approach to the political views structure and anti-structure as problems to be explained rather than conditions to be assumed. It assumes that neither can be explained without a consideration of the other. Finally, the conceptualization of politics that we have discussed here casts a critical eye on the very notion of the ordinary and the everyday. It does so by drawing attention to the normative labor that is performed by those who would have us believe that order and regularity in social life are not in need of explanation—who would have us believe that they are utterly mundane and unremarkable affairs.

As the foregoing suggests, the approach that we have discussed draws attention to what we might think of as the “politics of the ordinary.” Focusing on the political dimensions to processes that are not generally seen as political allows a re-thinking of both—of politics as well as of the ordinary or the everyday. In order to draw attention to the highly loaded and charged nature of seemingly mundane events and processes I have suggested that the everyday is usefully understood as a set of arbitrary, interested and unstable constructions that are imposed on a very messy, fluid and contradictory set of processes and possibilities. Approaching the ordinary and the everyday as a contested and unstable field of dissent rather than as a solid structure of consensus provides us with a way of asking interesting questions about the political, both in “the field” and beyond it. It focuses our attention on the boundaries or the edges of the political. It highlights the mechanisms that are involved in enforcing those boundaries as well as the peoples and processes that challenge them.

From such a perspective, acting politically may take on a wide range of forms. It is not restricted to large-scale events of protest—like being in a sea of protestors, half a million strong, who gather in front of the Pentagon to demand an end to US adventures abroad (one of the most powerful experiences of my life). Nor is it limited to the actions of courageous individuals like Mohammad Ali, who risk everything due to their willingness to act on the basis of their political beliefs. It includes as well the far less visible efforts of the huge numbers of people who find it impossible to aggregate their experiences in the way they are expected to, or to project themselves into the normative constructions they are encouraged to regard as unremarkable and routine. People who find themselves in positions such as these are compelled to engage with the politics of the ordinary—to challenge the boundaries of the political—on an everyday basis, as they go about inhabiting and making sense of their social worlds.

Othon, I cannot tell you how much I have enjoyed this. Thank you for inviting me to discuss the CASCA panel you organized on “Unsettled Politics,” and for involving me in this fascinating follow-up conversation. I have benefited enormously from the entire process.


[1] Christopher Krupa and David Nugent. “Off-Centered States: Rethinking State Theory Through an Andean Lens,” in State Theory and Andean Politics: New Approaches to the Study of Rule, Christopher Krupa and David Nugent, eds., pp. 1-31, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2015.

[2] Sara Shneiderman. 2014. “Restructuring Life: Local, National, and Global Orders in Nepal’s State of Transformation” Plenary presentation at the Canadian Anthropological Society (CASCA) Annual Meeting, York University, Toronto. There is an updated version available.

[3] Ann Swidler. Talk of Love: How Culture Matters. Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2001.

[4] David Nugent. Dark Fantasies of State: Discipline, Dissent and Democracy in the Northern Peruvian Andes (book ms., files of the author).

Additional References

Tambar, Kabir. “Brotherhood in Dispossession: State Violence and the Ethics of Expectation in Turkey.” Cultural Anthropology 31, no. 1 (2016): 30–55.

Panourgiá, Neni. “Surreal Capitalism and the Dialectical Economies of Precarity.” In Impulse to Act, edited by Othon Alexandrakis, pp. 112–134.  Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016.

Recommended Citation

Alexandrakis, Othon, and David Nugent. Political Spatio-temporalities: A Conversation with David Nugent. Interview. PoLAR: Political and Legal Anthropology Review Online, 23 January 2017,

unknownDr. Othon Alexandrakis is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at York University. His teaching, publications, and research focus on: citizenship, migration, emergent and contested identities, governance, cities, Greece and Europe. His broader academic interests include ethnographic methods and writing, theory, NGOs, discourse publics, and memory.

getfileattachmentDr. David Nugent is Professor of Anthropology and director of the Master’s in Development Practice program at Emory University. He is the author of Modernity at the Edge of Empire: State, Individual, and Nation in the Northern Peruvian Andes (Stanford University Press, 1997).

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