Ethnographies of austerity: temporality, crisis and affect in Southern Europe

Daniel M. Knight*, Charles Stewart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

162 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


This article focuses on how the economic crisis in Southern Europe has stimulated temporal thought (temporality), whether tilted in the direction of historicizing, presentifying, or futural thought, provoking people to rethink their relationship to time. The argument is developed with particular reference to the ethnographies of living with austerity inside the eurozone contained in this special issue. The studies identify the ways the past may be activated, lived, embodied, and re-fashioned under contracting economic horizons. We argue for the empirical study of crisis that captures the decisions or non-decisions that people make, and the actual temporal processes by which they judge responses. We conclude that modern linear historicism is often overridden in such moments by other historicities, showing that in crises, not only time, but history itself as an organizing structure and set of expectations, is up for grabs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalHistory and Anthropology
Issue number1
Early online date5 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Affect
  • Crisis and austerity
  • Historicity
  • Southern Europe
  • Temporality


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