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Geographies of Exclusions strand

Friday November 17, 9.30–17.00 in the HDK Baula.

Geographies of Exclusion addresses how social, cultural, political and economic
barriers produce and sustain public spaces, public spheres, public memory, borders
and migrants and their experiences of movement through the logic of circulation
managed, controlled, and regulated by state authorities, public institutions, NGOs
and private firms. It will also address how such dominating modes of productions can
be transgressed through civil counter-actions and independent self-organised
practices.

  • 9.45-10.45 Unlearning violence, learning dissent: Reconsidering Democratic Participation in the post-conflict city
    David Ayala-Alfonso
  • 13.00-14.00 Lunch, served at Valand
  • 14.00-15.00 Open session “Crises,” Convulsions, Concurrences: Human Mobility, the European Geography of “Exclusion,” and the Postcolonial Dialectics of Subordinate Inclusion.
    Nicholas de Genova
  • 15.00-17.00 Workshop on transdisciplinary global migration topics:
    a) Privatisation and Projectification of Migration
    b) Heritage, borders and conflicts
    c) Expressions, representations of migration in pedagogy, art, and media
    d) Self-organisation and non-governmental organisation in relation to migration and artistic practices

Abstracts

Unlearning violence, learning dissent: Reconsidering democratic participation in the post-conflict city

David Ayala-Alfonso

This paper studies the spatial constitution of dissent in places that have undergone political violence and extreme inequality, and how the very notions of normalcy and its interruption are transformed in and by these spaces. As a milestone historic event, the peace deal between Colombian government and FARC guerrilla has inaugurated a series of changes in the landscape of democracy and participation in the country.

Amongst them, the role of the city as a renewed focus of dissent, previously occupied by a constructed polarity between the rural (violent engagement) and urban (democratic engagement). As Colombian society begins to rekindle political debate in the face of post-conflict, it faces the challenges of the new forms of spatiality, collectiveness and participation.

This reflection is therefore performed in context with artistic and non-artistic examples of dissent in Colombia; most prominently, the National Farmers Strike, the protests and artistic actions that took place after the peace referendum of late 2016, and different practices of urban intervention and political fiction by art and activism collectives in the public spaces of the city.

These examples show how the collision of normative and social productions of space creates conditions where the disruptive quality of dissent is challenged by the political ecology of the city. Moreover, in the fragmented or reduced physicality of the new social and communal spaces, the relationship between the act of dissent and its performance in public spaces has become unbalanced.

As bodily presence is diminished, clustered versions of the subjects have gained prominence: images, sounds, texts and information produced by the subject are construed as a new form of totality. Sign and action have been collapsed in the social imaginary, undermining the power of the voice, destroying the subsequent possibilities for action and for the expression of dissent.

Art practice serves here as a vehicle for imagining new forms of participation that respond to these transformations.

Private Ownership Restricting Civil Rights in Local Centers

Maryam Fanni, Paula Urbano, Elof Hellström, Sarah Kim, Åsa Johansson

When squares and local centres are enclosed or become privately owned, there is ambiguity regarding the rights of the public. MDGH have been mapping local centres along the Stockholm subway lines investigating different aspects of the mall as a public space. On the one hand the limitations set by the detail plan and ownership, and on the other our civil rights within private shopping malls.

Indoor areas with regular pedestrian traffic are classified as public spaces with the same jurisdiction as public squares. According to the Order Act, the police cannot deny permission to gather in a public space based on the property owners objection. Permission can only be denied in regards to order, safety, traffic or the risk of transmitted diseases. But the architecture of shopping malls and indoor squares are designed to limit the imagination of what actions can take place.

Our research is summarized in an alternative Stockholm subway map displaying the proportion of public/private space according to the detail plan and the owners of the local centres. Press clippings of conflicts between owners and the community have been collected, showing how the local communities are affected by ownership changes.

A collection of evasive responses from shopping mall owners, answering a request from MDGH to arrange a public meeting, highlight the conflict of interest when a privately owned space functions as public. Our research shows how the civil rights within a shopping mall should be taken for granted but today is up to the citizens to claim.

‘Crises’, Convulsions, Concurrences: Human Mobility, the European Geography of ‘Exclusion’, and the Postcolonial Dialectics of Subordinate Inclusion

Nicholas de Genova

Over the last few years, we have witnessed a remarkable conjuncture between the escalation, acceleration, and diversification of migrant and refugee mobilities into and across the space of “Europe,” on the one hand, and the mutually constitutive crises of “European” borders and “European” identity. Put differently, we have witnessed the autonomy of migrant and refugee movements significantly subvert the borders of Europe, on the one hand, and multiple convulsive reaction formations of re-bordering by the sovereign authorities of the European border regime, on the other.

Notably, this means that the acceleration of cross-border mobilities and the ensuing “crisis” of borders instigated by migrants and refugees have been met with a variety of tactics of (re-)bordering largely dedicated not simply to “exclusion” but, rather more pragmatically, to the coercive deceleration of autonomous human mobilities.

Of course, alongside this larger reaction formation of border fortification and securitization, there has been the resurgence of reanimated reactionary populist nationalisms and racial nativisms, as well as the routinization of antiterrorist securitization measures and a pervasive and entrenched cultural politics of “Islamophobia” (or more precisely, anti-Muslim racism) — all of which contribute to a larger “European” malaise chiefly distinguished by spectacles of “exclusion.”

Nonetheless, the sheer magnitude and momentum of migrant and refugee movements has meant that the sociopolitical space of “Europe” has been convulsed by a postcolonial racial crisis arising from the contradictions of the subjective projects of migrant/refugee non-Europeans and states’ efforts to “manage” their subordinate inclusion.

Workshop descriptions

The focus is on future interdisciplinary topics of research that can lead to research projects, networks, or publications. Small groups of 5 to 10 people join one of the following themes or form their own theme:

a) Privatisation and Projectification of migration

b) Heritage, borders and conflicts

c) Expressions, representations of migration in pedagogy, art, and media

d) Self-organisation and non-governmental organisation in relation to migration and artistic practices

The last half an hour is for sharing what came out of the group discussions.

a) Privatisation and Projectification of Migration
Anja Karlsson Franck and Joakim Berndtsson

While migration is often represented and researched as a matter of state policy, the recent neo-liberal practices brought by globalisation have shifted the management of migration from the state to the private sector. While it is true that the state’s presence in developing policies and politics of migration is still very strong, the current research on the “migration industry” shows how migration is subject to marketization and neo-liberal reforms. From the involvement of security companies, think tanks and technology firms in border politics outside the nation-state to the privatisation of housing for asylum seekers, health care integration policies and methods, education, and detention centres, migration and migrants are subject to mass privatisation.

While migrants and migration remain heated topics in the public debate and the state presents itself as the main front-actor behind shaping policies on migration, it seems that much of migration policies are shaped by these big and small companies, firms and sectors in everyday management of the process of migration. Beyond the state’s policies on migration, the private sector, a consequence of the state economic
policies, is engaged in a different sort of marginalisation and production of second class citizens, thus restricting migration as well as affecting the migrant’s experiences.

This mass privatisation has led to the projectification of migration, where political issues are reduced to the management of short-term projects with outcomes that rarely benefit migrants and desired process of politicisation.

b) Heritage, borders and conflicts
Feras Hammami, Department of Conservation and Daniel Jewesbury, and Chiara Valli

In this workshop, we would like to engage with heritage, borders and conflicts beyond inherited meanings of destruction. Heritage studies offer rich reviews on the limits of heritage and its associated meanings of conflict. Littler attention however is given to possibilities and the potential of heritage to unite rather than divide. Certainly, there is inherently no peace in heritage (Hammami and Laven 2017).

This however refers to the inevitable diverse interpretations of the past that would continue to cause dissonance rather than war. At the same time, careful conservation of certain tangible and/or intangible aspects of heritage can help exclusive identities emerge, give shape to the intolerance of particularist possessive claims, or transform dissonance to violent conflicts where heritage becomes battlefields and used for border formation with ‘the other’. Border in this workshop does not refer to a state territorial container, coercive state power strategy, or merely as a marker of national identity.

We would like to contest this conception by engaging, for example, Otra Nation’s conception of borders as ‘nodes of cultural production’, Homi Bhabha’s ideas of ‘in-between difference’, Michael Foucault’s ‘conflict as productive practices’, Chantal Mouffe’s ‘the political’, and other similar ideas that can help us advance the meaning of border as a means of coercion and resistance, as spaces of conflict dialogue, and as lived spaces where different claims on ‘the past’ often clash.

We invite the workshop’s participants to engage their different theoretical and empirical research in problematizing the theme ‘heritage, border, conflict’, and challenge any disciplinary border that may emerge during the discussions. The ambition is to form new research ideas on borders, heritage and conflict.

c) Expressions, representations of migration in pedagogy, art, and media
Zahra Bayati, Tarja Karlsson Häikiö, Anna Carlson

The theme for the workshop concerns how to address migration in the school system, art and mass media. Mass media, which affects both educators’ and students’ perception of migration, tends to depict migration as a formless mass that will lead to a chaotic and uncontrollable future. It also tends to frame the reception of migrants through a humanitarian rhetoric tainted by an evolutionary view where migrants, by living in Europe, are believed to climb higher on an imagined evolutionary ladder.

Today it is also coloured by an increased process of othering. Pedagogically migration is a complex topic and is experienced as hard to deal with through traditional educational concepts. The democratic assignment in education is clear and should be a foundation in all curricula, but is often used in a blurred and undefined ways (Nejadmehr 2012; Goldstein-Kyaga et al 2012).

Yet, the curricula, study material, and educational practices tend to be unaware of its Eurocentrism and processes of othering, which affects how it addresses migration and the Global South. Artist dealing with migration, border politics, hybridity, and postnationalism have produced works and engaged in practices that are at times counter-hegemonic, but artist dealing with such topics have also produced works that reproduce cultural stereotypes as well as misuse and misrepresent vulnerable subjects.

Nevertheless, artistic and aesthetic practices offer creative and concrete ways to work with reflective processes starting from different levels of understanding (Atkinson 2015; Saar 2005). In the workshop the participants are going to work artistically with the topic of migration and reflect upon through collaborative dialogue the effects it has on education, mass media and artistic practiced as well as discuss future interdisciplinary research topics that cover pedagogy, art and media.

d) Self-organisation and non-governmental organisation in relation to migration and artistic practices
Jason E. Bowman and Kjell Caminha

The commercialisation and capitalisation of art and its systems demands ever increasing globalised mobility and nomadicism: of artists, curators, museum staff, dealers, private collectors, advisors, and of art works and objects. Art fairs and perennial exhibitions have thus become circuits of sociality and influence marked by the capacity for such mobility. Yet, it is also identifiable that these are sites in which art and curatorial initiatives that address the conditions by which people become displaced via capital, warfare, conflict and environmental impact are being profiled, discussed and represented. In the entanglement between the mobility of art’s dominant players, the differing forms of displacement and enforced migrancy lies a series of questions of inter-cultural dynamics, exclusions and inequalities. At the same time other art and cultural platforms are being developed in secession to the demand of dominant power structures including by displaced communities in various settings and forms: such as inside the cultures of camps or via association or via facilitation and collaboration with artist-organisations. This panel will unpack questions of organisation between those being displaced, the forms of organisation that produce that impact and those developed responsively by displaced peoples to such conditions and their relations to an increased globalised spectacle of exclusionary mobility within art and its systems.