Journal Article

Desire for the Political in the Aftermath of the Cold War

Published 1 March 2018 / By Dace Dzenovska & Nicholas De Genova

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In this article, we reflect on proliferation of the desire for the political in the extended post-Cold War era. We argue that the contemporary desire for the political is shaped by two sets of tensions: first, the desire to criticize power via forms of action conventionally characterized as “politics,” but without a clear analysis of how power is organized or exercised, and consequently without any definitive sense of how to effectively intervene in the political field; and, second, the desire to overcome the present in the name of an alternative (better) future, but without an ideology of future and consequently without a clear sense of the form that such a future might take. We reflect on political desire from the vantage points critical scholarship that distinguishes itself from the mainstream, and people and places that are in Europe, geopolitically speaking, but “not-quite” European if viewed in relation to “Europe” as a normative trope.


Dzenovska, D. & De Genova, N. (2018) Desire for the political in the aftermath of the Cold War in Focaal: Journal of Global and Historical Anthropology 80(1), Berghahn, DOI:

First Published 1 March 2018