The Experience of Migration: From Metaphor to Metamorphosis
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.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 10 (2021)