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Back to the Postindustrial Future: An Ethnography of Germany's Fastest-Shrinking City

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Volume 33

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Back to the Postindustrial Future

An Ethnography of Germany's Fastest-Shrinking City

Felix Ringel

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238 pages, 16 illus., bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-798-7 25% OFF! $120.00/£85.00 $90.00/£63.75 Hb Published (March 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-799-4 eBook


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Reviews

“This complex, provocative volume plunges us into the postindustrial, postsocialist world of Hoyerswerda, Germany’s ‘fastest shrinking city,’ and contemporary debates in anthropology about knowledge, time, affect, and meaning…This work speaks strongly to American Rust Belt cities and other sites of profound change in its methods, theory, and data, and should inspire further dialogues about anthropological knowledge as well the possibilities of urban action” • Choice

“For scholars of post-Wende Germany, Ringel offers a refreshing perspective that questions many of the established narratives about the legacy of socialism. A central strength of the book is that it does not rely on simplistic interpretations… Ringel reminds us that the future is open for change and that in studying the past and the present we are also part of its very construction.” • German Studies Review

“[Ringel’s] book masterfully captures the tension in Hoyerswerda residents’ lives as they navigate the interplay between their socialist pasts, their evolving postsocialist presents, and their potential postindustrial futures.” • EuropeNow

“Accessible and stimulating… There is little that I know of in our current literature that describes a present-moment European urban community in this ethnographic detail.” • Jane Guyer, Johns Hopkins University

Description

How does an urban community come to terms with the loss of its future? The former socialist model city of Hoyerswerda is an extreme case of a declining postindustrial city. Built to serve the GDR coal industry, it lost over half its population to outmigration after German reunification and the coal industry crisis, leading to the large-scale deconstruction of its cityscape. This book tells the story of its inhabitants, now forced to reconsider their futures. Building on recent theoretical work, it advances a new anthropological approach to time, allowing us to investigate the postindustrial era and the futures it has supposedly lost.

Felix Ringel is a COFUND International Research Fellow in the Anthropology Department at Durham University. His work on time, the future, and urban regeneration has been published in leading journals such as The Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute, Critique of Anthropology and Anthropological Theory. He is co-editor of The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology’s issue on “Time-tricking: Reconsidering Temporal Agency in Troubled Times.”

Subject: General Anthropology Urban Studies
Area: Germany



Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface
Acknowledgements
Notes on Translations
List of Abbreviations

Introduction: Anthropology and the Future: Notes from a Shrinking Fieldsite

Chapter 1. ‘There Can Only Be One Narrative’: Postsocialism, Shrinkage and the Politics of Context in Hoyerswerda
Chapter 2. Reasoning about the Past: Temporal Complexity in a City with No Future
Chapter 3. ‘Hoyerswerda...?’ – ‘...Once Had a Future!’: Temporal Flexibility and the Politics of the Future
Chapter 4. Enforced Futurism/Prescribed Hopes: Affective Politics and Pedagogies of the Future
Chapter 5. Performing the Future: Endurance, Maintenance and Self-Formation in Times of Shrinkage

Conclusion: Coming to Terms with the Future/‘Zukunftsbewältigung’

Bibliography
Index

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