It’s Only a Matter of Time: Eviction, Uncertainty, and Temporal Disorientation in an Urban Travellers’ Camp

Link for joining the seminar on Teams

Travellers, Gypsies, and other marginalized people are frequently depicted as present-orientated; unconcerned with the past or the future. Through enduring uncertainties arising from the threat of eviction—a situation which blocked their path to the future—an extended family of Travellers experienced a prolonged period of temporal disorientation. Rather than being oriented to one or more temporal domains, their sense of time was seething with heterogeneity; a situation where the past, present, and future disturbed each other in disorderly ways. Travellers’ experience of temporal disorientation not only necessitates a reconsideration of the temporality of the marginalized, but also extends current engagements with the anthropology of the future, which has focused too narrowly on orientations and open horizons. As a result, it cannot adequately account for situations where broken horizons of expectation—not having a satisfactory sense of what the future might consist of—disorientate temporal experience as much as they orientate it.


Departmental Seminar Series Trinity 2021

The Anthropology of the Contemporary: Life-building, Uncertainty, and the Future

3pm, Fridays (Weeks 1-5) on Teams (link above)

This seminar is convened by David Zeitlyn