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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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Broken geographies (Iain Chambers)

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IAIN CHAMBERS

Broken geographies

ABSTRACT

Dead bodies piled on the beaches of Greece and Italy, the dramatic combination of popular revolt in North Africa against local dictators and the regimes of the World Bank and the IMF, the growth of the Islamic State in the Middle East, the augmentation of migration across the Mediterranean, and the perpetual intensity of Israeli colonialism in Palestine, have pushed a once peripheral margin off the coasts of southern Europe into an unforeseen centrality. Concentrated in this relatively restricted geopolitical space are the tensions, conflicts and contradictions that constitute the modern world. Beyond superficial theses on the ‘clashes’ of civilization and religion lie far deeper structures and tendencies. In this chapter I will argue that it is the latter that transform the present-day ‘emergency’ in the Mediterranean into an insistent interrogation of Occidental modernity as a political and cultural settlement. What will be offered, through a consideration of the contemporary arts, particularly in their visual and auditory forms, is a journey that permits the registration of other modalities of belonging to both the Mediterranean and modernity. This will mean a consideration of art as a critical disposition. This allows us to consider what is irreducible to the formal language of passports and identity cards, juridical definitions and border controls. The histories that are sustained and suspended in the signs and sounds of the contemporary visual arts and music allow us to break the boundaries that seek...

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