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Migration and the Contemporary Mediterranean

Shifting Cultures in Twenty-First-Century Italy and Beyond

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Edited By Claudia Gualtieri

This collection of essays presents a study of migration cultures in the contemporary Mediterranean with a particular focus on Italy as a point of migratory convergence and pressure. It investigates different experiences of, and responses to, sea crossings, borders and checkpoints, cultural proximity and distance, race, ethnicity and memory, along with creative responses to the same. In dialogic and complementary interaction, the essays explore violence centring on race as the major determining factor. The book further submits that the interrogation of racialized categories represents different kinds of critical response and resistance, which involve both political struggle and day-to-day survival and coexistence. Following the praxis of cultural and postcolonial studies, the essays focus on the present but draw indispensable insight from past connections and heritage as well as offering prognoses for the future. The ambitious aim of this collection is to identify some useful lines of thought and action that could help us to think outside intricacy, isolation and defensiveness, which characterize most of the public official reactions to migration today.

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17 Documentaries as a new form of resistance (Dagmawi Yimer)

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DAGMAWI YIMER

17 Documentaries as a new form of resistance

ABSTRACT

On 3 October 2013, many young people bearing names such as Selam (peace) and Tesfaye (my hope) drowned in the Mediterranean sea in the same moment. In order not to remain simple objects of narration, these defying bodies, stories, faces and names should cross the line that hinders them from being the ‘co-holder’ and ‘custodians’ of their narratives. This means that the migrants should strip away their passivity during the process of the ‘translation’ of their stories, when they transform these stories into artistic work. In the process of the interpretation of migrant narratives in films, writings, theatre performances and other artistic forms, their stories might unwillingly generate a romantic understanding of migrants as objects and contribute to construct a pornographic exposure of grief and violence. As subjects, migrants should not be represented in stories of absolute pain, but should be represented with all-inclusive identities and lives. Cautiously, a narrative documentary should be an act of resistance and the political and ethical message of the film, as much as its aesthetic aspect, should make an impression on the public.

Names, the wrath of a society

Living in a context of total subjugation, where one’s culture is oppressed, society builds new ways and methods of expressing dissent or approval, such as by giving significant names to children. I am talking about the recent history of countries such...

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