Mobile Temporalities: Place, Ruination and the Dialectics of Time

Lems, Annika (2016). Mobile Temporalities: Place, Ruination and the Dialectics of Time. In: Palmberger, Monika; Tosic, Jelena (eds.) Memories on the Move. Experiencing Mobility, Rethinking the Past. Migration, diasporas and citizenship (pp. 127-156). Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

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In this chapter I explore the ambiguous, contradictory and often transient ways the past enters into our lives. I shed light on the interplay of mobility and temporality in the lifeworlds of two Somalis who left Mogadishu with the outbreak of the war in the 1990s. Looking into the ways they actively make sense of this crucial ‘memory-place’ (Ricoeur 2004), a place that that has been turned into a landscape of ruins and rubble, alternative understandings of memory and temporality will emerge. Instead of producing a continuum between here and there, and now and then, the stories and photographs discussed in this chapter form dialectical images – images that refuse to be woven into a coherent picture of the past. By emphasising the dialectical ways these two individuals make sense of Mogadishu’s past and presence, I am following Walter Benjamin’s cue to rethink deeply modern analytical categories such as history, memory and temporality by highlighting the brief, fragmented moments of their appearance in everyday life.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Social Anthropology

UniBE Contributor:

Lems, Annika


300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology




Migration, diasporas and citizenship


Palgrave Macmillan




Annika Lems

Date Deposited:

09 Nov 2015 14:22

Last Modified:

05 Aug 2021 08:29


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