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Vol. 5 No. 2 (2022): Dwelling in the Contemporary Condition

Introduction to the Special Issue

  • Jarrett Zigon
  • C. Jason Throop
February 9, 2023


In the spring and summer of 2020, the world broke down. A worldly breakdown often gives rise to forms of moral breakdown, or those “moments” when some worldly event or occurrence forces a person or persons to critically reflect on their until then unquestioned way of being-in-the-world (Zigon 2007). From the persistence of the global pandemic, to the collapse of the economy, to the murder of George Floyd by police officers on camera, to the worldwide response to that injustice, the world and its human inhabitants experienced a breakdown in those months and it became impossible to ever see, hear, understand, or be in the world in the same way again. This special issue of Puncta brings together anthropologists and philosophers who take up a critical phenomenological or hermeneutic approach for thinking the contemporary condition. From the possibility of inhabiting a world conditioned by a global pandemic, to the impossibility of dwelling in conditions of systemic racism, from the question of how to face a future that presents itself as looming, to a present that denies the very possibility of truth: this collection responds to these and more in the hope of showing not only the contemporary conditions of existence, but that other conditions always remain as an ever-present potentiality