The ordinary affects of repair: cases from four European cities
Francisco Martínez (University of Helsinki)
Paper short abstract:
The recovery of past things is one of the most common symbolic instruments used in negotiating belonging and adapting to changes. This paper examines practices of repair and the ways in which those practices shape new socio-material environments in four cities (Berlin, Tallinn, Tbilisi and Lisbon).
Paper long abstract:
Using qualitative ethnographic methods, the paper builds the argument around case studies from day-to-day mending, personal re-appropriations and affective transmissions, demonstrating that repair is more than a technique: it also entails responsibility, care and expectations about the future, bringing to light coping mechanisms, temporal regimes, inter-generational ties and the correspondence between small scale materiality and the pace of social change. Repair shows anthropological density; the relevance of repair is not that it happens, but the values attached and its existential implications. As my research shows, repair has consequences for how we think for social relations in a form of redistribution of the sensible and ordinary affects through the transmissions occurring between material objects and social actors. In that sense, practices of repair are relevant to understand quotidian answers to economic hardships, but also how different generations come to terms with the past, solidarity knots within communities, and the re-articulation of the public space.
Repairing the periphery