Tricking Time, Overthrowing a Regime

Reining in the Future in the Yemeni Youth Revolution

in The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Restricted access

Based on research at the heart of the 2011 revolution in Yemen, this article explores how a capacity to inhabit the future culminated in a collective act of temporal deception on the part of the revolutionaries. Contrary to the prevalent assumption that the future is something that is worked towards, aspired to, emerging or lying in wait at the end of a distant telos, revolutionary life in Yemen asserts that the future can itself be a way of being, but in the present. Upholding the future involved dramatic acts of selflessness whose value lay not just in where they would lead, but in the acts themselves. This fusion of means and ends, presents and futures, ultimately bred a capacity for endurance that defied the temporal expectations of the regime.

Contributor Notes

Ross Porter was awarded his PhD in Social Anthropology in 2015 from the University of Cambridge. This article was written while a visiting fellow at the Department of Anthropology, Harvard University. He is currently a post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Zürich.

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