Upcoming events

Future States - AnthroState network conference

Riga, Latvia – 30-31 August, 2023.

Call for papers

These are turbulent times. As they face war, climate and economic crisis, the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rising popularity of authoritarian and populist leadership, people across the world reassess the role of the state. Many expect the state to provide solutions to local and global challenges; others turn to conspiracy theories and “post-truth” politics to explain the misery we are in. The workings of the state remain opaque and trust in the politicians at its helm everywhere seems at an all-time low. While the popularity of neoliberal ideologies is on the wane, neoliberal policies and programmes remain the norm. The ensuing disagreement about the role of the state has polarised many an electorate.

This state of affairs presents a rich moment for anthropologists to study how the future of the state is envisioned, and how it is enacted in practice. But it also offers us a tantalising opportunity to engage the state ourselves: how might we contribute to better, more democratic, and more just states? And do we dare to theorise what might come next? Does the state have to signal the end of history, the be-all and end-all of our political imagination -- or could there yet be something else? What may be gained from a move away from Eurocentric approaches to the state toward critiques formulated from the margins, by indigenous movements, or through the lens of postcolonial political theory?

We invite members of the network, and other anthropologists interested in and concerned about the state, to submit paper proposals that address the future of the state and/or explore possible future states.

Please visit the conference website for more information on how to submit.