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A state of limbo: the politics of waiting in neo-liberal Latvia

Ozolina-Fitzgerald, Liene (2016) A state of limbo: the politics of waiting in neo-liberal Latvia. British Journal of Sociology, 67 (3). pp. 456-475. ISSN 0007-1315

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1468-4446.12204


This article presents an ethnographic study of politics of waiting in a post-Soviet context. While activation has been explored in sociological and anthropological literature as a neo-liberal governmental technology and its application in post-socialist context has also been compellingly documented, waiting as a political artefact has only recently been receiving increased scholarly attention. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork at a state-run unemployment office in Riga, this article shows how, alongside activation, state welfare policies also produce passivity and waiting. Engaging with the small but developing field of sociological literature on the politics of waiting, I argue that, rather than interpreting it as a clash between ‘neo-liberal’ and ‘Soviet’ regimes, we should understand the double-move of activation and imposition of waiting as a key mechanism of neo-liberal biopolitics. This article thus extends the existing theorizations of the temporal politics of neo-liberalism.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 London School of Economics and Political Science
Divisions: Sociology
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Sociology
Date Deposited: 02 Sep 2016 14:13
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:24
Projects: PhD Studentship
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council

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