Present Perfect, or the Time of Post-Socialism
AbstractWhat is the specific conception of historical time that is established with the so-called post-socialist condition? I argue that the time of post-socialism, and especially its own construction of actuality, can be conceptualised as the present perfect. Present perfect stands for two things: 1) a conception of the present which is entirely determined by the past, 2) a conception of historical change which is conceived as the infinite perfection of the existent. These two subjective orientations of historical time in post-socialism correspond to the prevalence of, respectively, nationalist ideologies and neo-liberal and liberal-democratic ideals. The present perfect in both its variations is an obscurantist time: a time which obscures our subjective disposition to master history collectively, a time which obscures the egalitarian political construction of the present itself as an infinite opening and interruption in history.
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