5 December 2022

New special issue of Social Anthropology edited by Paul Anderson and Andreas Bandak 

The title is 'Urgency and Imminence: The Politics of the Very Near Future' (open access) and the general theme should be of relevance to scholars and students dealing with temporality, historicity, and crisis.


From pre-emptive military strikes, humanitarian campaigns and precarious financial bubbles, to the climate change emergency and public health measures undertaken in response to COVID-19, we live in an era increasingly marked by discourses of imminence that bring a future close while also leaving it hard to imagine or inhabit. Claims of urgency – ‘act now before it is too late!’ – conduct the affective charge of these sometimes abject and often partially unimaginable futures. Yet urgency is rarely self-evident, but a claim in which the distribution of rights and resources, and particular forms of knowledge and expertise, are at stake. Which social actors are most invested in urgency and why? What possibilities does formatting a situation as ‘urgent’ foreclose and what questions does it make impossible to ask? What happens to claims of urgency when they become protracted and routinised? Alternatively, under what conditions might claims of urgency presage new openings.


  • Andreas Bandak, UCPH, and Paul Anderson, Cambridge
  • Joe Webster, Cambridge
  • Daniel M. Knight, St Andrews
  • Jan Jensen, Cambridge
  • Charlotte al-Khalili, EHESS
  • Limor Samimian-Darash, Hebrew University
  • Mikkel Bille, UCPH, and Mikkel Thelle, The National Museum of Denmark
  • Laurence McFalls and Mariella Pandolfi
  • Janet Roitman, The New School