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Durham University

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Publication details for Dr Felix Ringel

Ringel, Felix (2016). Beyond temporality: Notes on the anthropology of time from a shrinking fieldsite. Anthropological Theory 16(4): 390-412.

Author(s) from Durham


With the help of ethnographic material from Germany’s fastest shrinking city, I critically engage in this paper with the term ‘temporality’. By bringing together recent insights from the anthropology of time and the future, the literature on post-socialism, and contemporary philosophical debates on the problem of presentism, I pursue a thorough re-conceptualization of time as a matter of knowledge practices. I thereby question the idea of temporality as an inherent quality of anthropology’s objects of inquiry. Beyond temporality, I urge for abandoning such temporal attributions altogether whilst scrutinizing the temporal underpinnings of our own theories and analytics, as manifested in the term post-socialism. I claim that if anthropologists, and other social scientists, want to avoid determinists’ fallacies they should acknowledge that there is, indeed, no need for temporality in their analyses.