We all wait – in traffic jams, passport offices, school meal queues, for better weather, an end to fighting, peace. Time spent waiting produces hope, boredom, anxiety, doubt, or uncertainty. Ethnographies of Waiting explores the social phenomenon of waiting and its centrality in human society. Using waiting as a central analytical category, the book investigates how waiting is negotiated in myriad ways. Examining the politics and poetics of waiting, Ethnographies of Waiting offers fresh perspectives on waiting as the uncertain interplay between doubting and hoping, and asks "When is time worth the wait?" Waiting thus conceived is intrinsic to the ethnographic method at the heart of the anthropological enterprise. Featuring detailed ethnographies from Japan, Georgia, England, Ghana, Norway, Russia and the United States, a Foreword by Craig Jeffrey and an Afterword by Ghassan Hage, this is a vital contribution to the field of anthropology of time and essential reading for students and scholars in anthropology, sociology and philosophy.
"This book is certainly worth the wait, since it offers a beautifully introduced anthropological collection that shows that waiting is no less than a general feature of the human condition. Located in highly specific sites, communities and contexts, this book shows that waiting is an active mode of being, which demands patience, sociality, hope and agency. It will be of great interest to anthropologists as well as humanists more generally. - Arjun Appadurai, New York University, USA This is one of those books that demonstrates brilliantly the ability of social anthropology to cast light on usually ignored corners of social life, showing in the process that such dusty spaces are far less marginal than is usually thought. Waiting, it turns out, is not just a socially cheap way of filling the gaps between the events of our lives. Instead, it is critical to our conceptions of time and to the ways we understand and approach the future. Inasmuch as every good anthropologist cares about time, all of them stand to learn a great deal from this volume. - Joel Robbins, University of Cambridge, UK A remarkable contribution to anthropology, sociology, political science and cultural studies. - Anthropological Journal of European Cultures"