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On_Culture Vol. 10 (2020)

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    Transtopian moves: the rhizome in Jonas Carpignano's feature films Mediterranea (2015) and A Ciambra (2017)
    (2021) Hudelist, Andreas
    Film comes to its fore as a cultural product, which frames social experiences, relations, and is constructed through these itself. Dealing with our current global and fluid so-ciety the analysis will focus on constructions of marginalized individuals who chal-lenge the viewers with their modulations and variations of identifications. Being (someone) evades the subject of becoming, which as an empty subject makes the po-tential of alternatives transparent and invites us to pursue lived connections, and not only in human-to-human relationships. Following Stuart Hall (1994), this is where a transtopian space is created, which not only collects and allows common knowledge, but also gives space to something new to emerge. The movies Mediterranea and A Ciambra by Jonas Carpignano show us a current picture of marginalized people as well as a rhizome of migration with line of flights.
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    Racial and social dimensions of antiziganism: the representation of Gypsies in the political theory
    (2021) Tittel, Laura Soréna
    Within antiziganism research, the relation of racial and social connotations in the us-age of the term gypsy is subject of an ongoing debate. Especially in the context of police work, historians suggest that until the 1920s the image of gypsies mainly referred to a social status, whereas today the image of the gypsy is highly racialized. This article challenges the idea of a strict separation of the social and racial dimensions and takes a closer look at the different argumentations of how to rule the interrelated groups of gypsies and vagabonds in the history of ideas. For this reason, it exam-ines Kant s statements on gypsies in the context of his problematic race theory as well as Marx s treatment of vagabondage as a social issue, arising with the beginning of manufacturing. With this, the article connects two major discourses in political the-ory and the history of ideas, one on barbarism/civilization and another on poverty, with the topic of antiziganism and explores the connection of an antiziganist raciali-zation with socioeconomic structures. Moreover, it examines the empirical side of an-tiziganism in the context of policing until the eighteenth century, looking at English and German legislative sources, and provides an outlook on the underlying social and racial argumentation in current debates on so-called poverty migration .
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    The Experience of Migration: From Metaphor to Metamorphosis
    (2021) Zartaloudis, Thanos
    In media, political and lay representations of migrants it remains frequently the case that metaphors are systematically used in racist and demeaning manners, though also, occasionally, in positive ways empathizing with the plight of refugees, migrant com-munities and the sans papiers. In this piece, however, I wish to note the wider, more personal and speculative reasons as to why metaphors are so frequently used and are, it seems, so widely effective in shaping social perceptions. In late modernity, in the affluent north-west we name the migrant through demeaning metaphors in an attempt to deny our anxiety over our own inessence and instability, our own constant transferal in our species constitutive shapeshifting body that encompasses the linguistic being of the non-linguistic. I think this with and against the use of metaphors towards a sense of metamorphosis, including through a reading of the pneumatic body in Paul.
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    Shapes on the Horizon: Reading the Pumice Raft and Migration through Agentic Ecologies and Australian Border Control
    (2020) Waterhouse, Jaxon; Mitchell, Chantelle
    In 2019, reports of a raft of pumice adrift in the Pacific Ocean circulated. Expelled from the Earth by an underwater volcanic eruption, the raft is wonderous and abject, severed from its geologic origins. A threatening Anthropocene omen, it troubles the smooth space of the ocean through its intrusion. We track its movement through sur-veillance technologies tools of control that buttress turbulent and shifting con-temporary borders.Our consideration of the movement of people across porous borders apprehends migratory discourse and critiques framings of abjectness, fear, and colonial reper-formance in an Australian context. Security and surveillance, and the littoral compo-sition of Australian borders figure as means of maintaining and reinforcing fixed, terrestrial constructions of sovereignty. Recent border polices involving stratified spaces of offshore detention become bureaucratic and inhumane extensions of the littoral sphere convergences of the smooth and stratified, that invert, yet reinforce colonial control and persecution.Framed by Deleuzoguattarian notions of smooth, stratified, and holey space, and our ongoing research project, Ecological Gyre Theory, we see overlaps, collisions, and parallels between the pumice raft as agentic, ecological force, and legacies of invasion and colonisation, reperformed onto people and landscapes. Considering the agentic power of bodies, we read the traversal of the sea by both raft and asylum seekers towards a critique of Australian history and cultural identity. Our critique endorses both a decolonial and New Materialist approach, exploring ecology and be-ing amidst climate collapse and a rapidly changing world.
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    Transformations of Liberal Reason: Migration Politics and Shifts in Cultural Self-Interpretation
    (2020) Kaufmann, Hannes
    In light of the current multiple crises, authoritarian movements gain new strength. Claiming that globalization and especially migration is endangering social cohesion and national sovereignty, without considering political-economic aspects, they call for a strong state. Along the lines of those claims, they revise what Helmut Dubiel called the cultural selfinterpretation, meaning the understanding of the political super-structure of their community. Doing that, liberal values and concepts are re-inter-preted, as can be seen with the rule of law for example. From its intrinsic value of strengthening individual claims against the state s rule, they turn it into a concept of state power, interpreting the rule of law as the rule of a mythical legitimized sover-eign. Those re-interpretations and legal constructs referring to them will be an-alyzed in this essay. Authoritarian politics and their roots will be regarded in their contradictory relation to (neo-)liberalism as they appear as a critique towards it at first glance. Yet, taking into account early Critical Theory and its analysis of authoritarian-ism, the article aims to show that those tendencies emerge from liberal ideas and ide-als. Seen from this perspective the article promotes the view that rather than a pure defense of liberalism, a materialist examination of liberalism s inner contradictions is necessary to understand and criticize authoritarianism.
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    The Politics of Housing Metaphors: Challenging Images of Migration and Patriarchy
    (2020) Mackowitz, Laurin; Lorenz, Daniel
    Political metaphors condition social reality and mediate authority. One repeatedly used metaphor in discourses about migration and refuge is the misconception that the state is a house. Far from only defining the modalities of inclusion and exclusion, metaphors of houses and housing evoke patriarchal political relationships between guests and hosts, homeless and homeowners, the household´s head and his subjects, and the man and his women. Houses present themselves to us in ambiguous, even contradictory ways in that they both shelter and imprison. Furthermore, in spite of a general need for accommodation the state fails to provide material housing, only feigning the imagination of security. Therefore, housing appears to be a key paradox of nationalist and chauvinist discourse. Figurative language is, however, unfinished, which is why our images of houses, charged with the theology, anthropology, politics, and language of foundations, buildings, and walls, may be challenged by critique and interpretation. Developing a critical metaphorology, committed to analyzing the framed arguments and underlying contexts of said discourses justifying patriarchy and nationalism, we describe the choice between inhabiting and abandoning the house. Ultimately, we present counter-narratives about decaying structures of power and pro-pose ways to take housing issues to the streets.
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    Troubling the Border: Global Poetic Trans* Dislocations
    (2020) Reid, Bonnie
    This essay considers, through analysis of two interrelated art projects, the roles that technology and art play in the metaphors that serve, both imaginatively and literally, to form, maintain, surveil, and dissolve borders. The first, the Transborder Immigrant Tool, is a poetic and geo-locative project by artist collective Electronic Disturbance Theatre 2.0 (EDT 2.0). The Tool was designed to aid migrants crossing the US-Mexico border as a last mile safety device, by leading users to water caches in the desert and playing audio files of desert survival poetry. The second is a related poetry series by trans* poet and artist Micha Cárdenas (a member of EDT 2.0), exploring the possible dislocations of unexecutable code poetry to unpack the way each of these poetic projects form a figuration of transness as/at a border crossing or, indeed, a border dissolving. Both of these projects subvert the metaphors and applications of global positioning (GPS) technology to question the fixities of national and bodily borders. This essay considers how and to what extent the trans of transborder might be coterminous or conversant with the trans of transgender, as well as how trans* might be wielded conceptually to unpack the functions and slippages of the metaphors that produce and maintain borders of all kinds.
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    Transcultural Urban Re-Imaginings: Ephemeral and Participatory Art Interventions in the Macrolotto Zero Neighborhood
    (2020) Dutto, Matteo; Del Bono, Andrea
    The city of Prato is arguably one of the most widely studied multicultural urban con-texts in Italy and more generally in Europe. Yet, in the analysis of the dynamics that enable this conceptualization of the city as a space of cultural complexity little atten-tion has been paid to the way in which localized processes of transculturation have, since the early 1980s, changed both the visual landscape of Prato, and the way in which it is imagined and understood by the different people that call it home. This paper focuses on Macrolotto Zero, one of the city s most multicultural neighborhoods particularly marked by decades of Chinese diasporic movements. It explores how pro-cesses of exchange/conflict between local and migrant residents, artistic collectives, activists and policy-makers have profoundly changed the way in which the neighbor-hood is imagined and conceptualized at a local, national and transnational level. Draw-ing from fieldwork, interviews with local artists and historical research on the neigh-borhood s visual and aural changes, this paper argues that this historical industrial area of Prato has been undergoing an extensive process of re-imagining. This process has been driven by bottom-up participatory art interventions and by residents which have repositioned the neighborhood as a creative and innovative space of experimentation that testifies to intricate cross-cultural entanglements.
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    Metaphors of Migration: An Introduction
    (2020) Ahrens, Jörn; Fliethmann, Axel