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Breaching Borders

Art, Migrants and the Metaphor of Waste

Breaching Borders by Juliet Steyn
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In a ‘Europe without borders’ that prides itself on multiculturalism while struggling desperately with racism, populated by ghettoized communities, refugee camps and zones of exclusion, two opposing paradigms characterise the discourses of migration: migrants as a problem, a parasite on the nation that disrupts social life, and mobility as the positive goal of modernity, seeking to extend notions of citizenship beyond national boundaries into the realm of universal human rights. This book aims to complicate, provoke and problematize these ubiquitous discourses, evolving new textual and interdisciplinary approaches to European cultural policies and unmasking the assumptions of essentialist identity politics that go undeclared at the borders of cultural discourse. Framed by artworks that provide a glimpse of cross-cultural encounters, 12 contributions by leading figures in post-colonial and translation studies, political philosophy, art, radical aesthetics, policy-making and sociology reflect on the political and cultural meanings of migration. Breaching Borders traces three main themes in exploring the lived reality of European policies of integration: the role of translation in shaping identity construction and enabling the movement of ideas, and art as highlighting symptoms of contemporary malaise, are brought together in the central metaphor of waste - the trail of rubbish left behind by mechanisms of mobility; the excised narratives of wasted identities and people. Beginning with internationally-renowned academic Zygmunt Bauman’s contribution on the exclusion and negativing of ‘wasted lives’ this anthology exposes the contradictions of a Europe that encourages cultural diversities but is obsessed with the perceived threat posed by porous borders.
I.B.Tauris; June 2014
312 pages; ISBN 9780857736031
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Title: Breaching Borders
Author: Juliet Steyn; Nadja Stamselberg