Cornell University Press has just published School of Europeanness: Tolerance and Other Lessons in Political Liberalism in Latvia by Dace Dzenovska.
In School of Europeanness, Dace Dzenovska argues that Europe’s political landscape is shaped by a fundamental tension between the need to exclude and the requirement to profess and institutionalize the value of inclusion. Nowhere, Dzenovska writes, is this tension more glaring than in the former Soviet Republics.
Using Latvia as a representative case, School of Europeanness is a historical ethnography of the tolerance work undertaken in that country as part of postsocialist democratization efforts. Dzenovska contends that the collapse of socialism and the resurgence of Latvian nationalism gave this Europe-wide logic new life, simultaneously reproducing and challenging it. Her work makes explicit what is only implied in the 1977 Kraftwerk song, "Europe Endless": hierarchies prevail in European public and political life even as tolerance is touted by politicians and pundits as one of Europe’s chief virtues.
School of Europeanness shows how post–Cold War liberalization projects in Latvia contributed to the current crisis of political liberalism in Europe, providing deep ethnographic analysis of the power relations in Latvia and the rest of Europe, and identifying the tension between exclusive polities and inclusive values as foundational of Europe’s political landscape.
Dace has also published two articles in the new issue of Focaal:
'Desire for the Political in the Aftermath of the Cold War' (co-written with Nicholas De Genova), Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 80(1): 1-15.
This article examines what political imagination looks like after the end of the Cold War, when the political landscape is no longer shaped by a juxtaposition between capitalism and socialism.
'Emptiness and Its Futures: Staying and Leaving as Tactics of Life in Latvia', Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 80(1): 16-29.
Based on ethnographic work on migration from Latvia to the UK, this article examines whether leaving and staying can be thought of as political, from whose perspective, and in relation to what forms of power.