Regina Römhild

Prekarität und Kreativität in Europa. Die soziale Erosion des Nationalstaats und die Mobilisierung sozialer Praxis in der Perspektive einer politischen Anthropologie


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This article seeks to Europeanise and to „anthropologise“ the current debate on precariousness: a debate which is, predominantly, led under the premise of the (Western European) nation state, and its concepts of a national solidarity among national subjects with national rights to citizenship. By contrast, and by drawing on ethnographic research in Belgrade, the article argues towards a transcendent perspective focussing on the increasing interdependencies, and in that sense, the emerging „assemblages“ of local, national, transnational, and global economies, politics, and social practices within and beyond the shifting borders of the European Union. What tends to be overseen at the „centre“ becomes obvious at the „periphery“ of the New Europe: the fundamental precarisation of the relationship between citizen and state, due to multiple pressures on the nation state: from being exposed to political Europeanisation and neoliberal economic globalization to being globalized „from below“ by way of transnational migration. In Belgrade, i. e. in one of the new nation states of the post-socialist, post-war fringes of the shifting EU borders, the social erosion of the nation state and the resulting precariousness is not a marginal feature but the central common ground of social practice among all subjects involved, be they „proper“ citizens with a national passport, internally displaced persons of the former Yugoslavian state, or migrants with an „illegal“ status. In this comparatively advanced context of a fluid, dispersed state power, citizenship is no longer granted an exclusive privilege but subject to creative and collaborative forms of social self-organisation, including migration as a major tactic of realizing a transnational, „flexible citizenship“ across the borders of increasing European and global inequalities. Rather than being restricted to the „periphery“, this ethnographic view from the margins may well contribute to a broader understanding of social precariousness: as a general symptom of the current transformation of nationhood and statehood.