Exploring and representing uncertainty: the demand to create order from chaos


  • Julia Holdsworth University of Hull




Uncertainty, fear and the apparent contradictions of stagnation and rapid change are defining experiences of daily life for many of the poor and dispossessed in Donetsk, a post-industrial city in Eastern Ukraine. Throughout my fieldwork, exploring the ways in which people are coping with post-Soviet change, I struggled to make sense of people's lives recognizing that local people often say they are living 'non-sensical' lives. These tensions have remained during the process of writing up as I aim to create coherence without doing too much violence to local experiences and representations. Much has been written in recent years about the changing nature of anthropological fieldwork and writing, however as graduate students and young scholars we often find ourselves constrained in the ways we write. Raising questions of anthropological authority, representation and authenticity, this paper addresses the tensions I encountered through the demands of disciplinary orthodoxy, producing linear, ordered texts from disintegrated and fractured lives.

Author Biography

Julia Holdsworth, University of Hull

Julia Holdsworth has recently finished writing up her PhD in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the University of Hull and currently holds a temporary lectureship in Social Anthropology at Hull. Her main area of research interest is Post-Soviet transformation and her research focuses on the various ways people cope with, and characterize, these changes in Ukraine.