When environmental activists in Serbia encountered decarbonization in form of predatory hydropower, they launched a massive campaign against an actual degrowth that plagued their depopulating lands. This bridging of environmental and reproductive concerns helped to create a broad ecopopulist alliance that saved the local rivers, and yet it sneaked in another quasi-universalist subject – urban, middle-aged and male – who assumed a 8 central role in the countryside eco-revival. As they “bring life back” to the “dying” Balkan Mountains, I argue, revivers also erase the ways of life that still thrive in them. Such duality exposes emptiness as a problem space that is necropolitical inasmuch as vitalist. As efforts to sustain the further flow of life, revivals are a battle for defining who needs to survive and who is anyhow destined to expire.
Ivan Rajković is a social anthropologist and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Vienna. After finishing his PhD at the University of Manchester, he was Mellon fellow at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies at the University College of London, and a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle/Saale. In his first book project, Regifting Labor, Ivan explores entwinements of debt and redistribution in a post-Yugoslav car factory. His new research project, Patrimonial Ecologies, focuses on inheritances of life in the aging Balkan Mountains.