Roundtable om Ödeläggelse/Ruinering


Startdatum: torsdag 26 oktober 2023

Tid: 10.00

Slutdatum: fredag 27 oktober 2023

Tid: 16.00

Plats: Kungstenen, Aula Magna

Genom att använda ruination som nyckelkoncept ämnar detta roundtable att fånga flera aspekter av produktionen av förstörelse och att utforska ödeläggelse/ruinering etnografiskt.

We are surrounded by ruins and ruinations or as Anna Tsing puts it the ruin has become our collective home. The new millennium started with dystopian scenarios. Images and imaginaries of various forms of collapse are all over around us; irreversible environmental catastrophes, omnipresent threat of another world war, food and energy insecurities, and decay of infrastructures and cities. Unlike ruins (remnants from the past), ruination, as Ann Stoler argues, is ongoing process in the present. For Stoler, ruination is both a condition of being ruined and a cause of it. The term ruination is related to other terms such as precarity, vulnerability, dispossession, and decay. Not surprisingly, since the past century ruins and ruination have been recurrent themes in social sciences, humanities and art. Ruination is an intellectual and political engagement with the present.

In theorization of natural history of destruction, George Simmel saw ruins as the outcome of the constant struggle between human work and the effect of nature. Ruination takes place due to the absence or passivity of human beings. Contrary, Walter Benjamin presented ruination as the result of human will. Known for his critical approach towards the idea of progress, Benjamin saw progress as a destructive storm, a cause of ruination. Civilization and ruination are dialectically interrelated. Colonialism, as a ‘civilizing’ project was fashioned through destruction of indigenous knowledge and practices about how to maintain life.

Ruination is both spatial and temporal practice. It is spatial in terms of destruction of habitations and environments. It is also temporal. Ruination is future oriented, meaning that it deprives us the chance to imagine a future otherwise. Furthermore, ruination is a kind of biopolitics. Whose life is protected against ruination? Whose life is exposed to premature ruination? Whose body is cared of and its decay is delayed? And whose body is abandoned to accelerated decay?

By using ruination, as a key concept, this roundtable aims to capture multiple aspects of the construction of destruction and to explore how to unfold ruination ethnographically.
Ruination will be a framework to explore the processes of decay of:

  • Environment
  • Cities
  • Economies
  • Bodies
  • Viabilities
  • Relations
  • Future imaginaries

Confirmed International Guests

Kelly Gillespie (University of Western Cape) Visit research profile
Ghassan Hage (University of Melbourne/ the Max Planck Institute) Visit research profile
Nikhil Anand (University of Pennsylvania/visiting KTH) Visit research profile