During the Cold War military and civil defence bunkers were an evocative materialisation of deadly military stand-off. They were also a symbol of a deeply affective, pervasive anxiety about the prospect of world-destroying nuclear war. But following the sudden fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 these sites were swiftly abandoned, and exposed to both material and semantic ruination.

In the Ruins of the Cold War Bunker
Affect, Materiality and Meaning Making

Edited by Luke Bennett

This new volume investigates the uses and meanings now projected onto these seeming blank, derelict spaces. It explores how engagements with bunker ruins provide fertile ground for the study of improvised meaning making, place-attachment, hobby practices, social materiality and trauma studies. With its commentators ranging across the arts and humanities and the social sciences, this multi-disciplinary collection sets a concern with the phenomenological qualities of these places as contemporary ruins – and of their strange affective affordances – alongside scholarship examining how these places embody, and/or otherwise connect with their Cold War originations and purpose both materially and through memory and trauma.

"An intriguing and absorbing set of journeys into some of the formerly secret spaces of the Cold War. In the footsteps of MacFarlane, Sebald and Virilio, and forging their own paths, the contributors lead us from Norway to Albania and from the United States to Taiwan. An essential complement to contemporary work on the vertical spaces above ground"

Stuart Elden, Professor of Political Theory and Geography, University of Warwick