All _Editorials

Metaphors of Migration: An Introduction

Currently, migration represents one of the most challenging problems to which societies are called to respond. This guest-edited issue of On_Culture engages with some of the less-explored facets of migration, focusing on the idea that the lived reality of migration is always also framed by discursive formations, and that metaphors can function as creative devices therein to establish a broader perception of what migration could or even should mean in the first place. Taking this perspective, where imagination and lived migration are intricately linked through layers of discourse, should allow us to shed some new light on the topic of migration.

Preface: Metaphors of Migration

The Editorial Team of On_Culture presents the 10th Issue of the journal entitled “Metaphors of Migration,” guest-edited by Jörn Ahrens (Giessen) and Axel Fliethmann (Monash). In view of the surreal times of the COVID-19 pandemic, the preparations of this issue faced hitherto unprecedented challenges. Unsparing to all of us — scholars, writers, family members — the pandemic has compelled us to (re-)consider our priorities and time investments. In order to accommodate authors who might have found themselves in stressful circumstances while still adhering to our bi-annual publication rhythm, the 10th issue of On_Culture is published in two parts: with the first part of contributions in December 2020, and the second part in spring 2021. In line with On_Culture’s visual tradition, this issue’s teaser image aims at avoiding first-glance associations and preconceptions related to migration. The heightened blurriness of the lines seeks to move our vision beyond the assumption of linearity. Inspired by the sphere-like shape of “The Global Flow of People” by the Wittgenstein Centre for Demography and Global Human Capital, [1] the image features thinning, thickening, crossing and overlapping lines at the core instead of around the globe. Yet, by adding cut and decentered lines surrounded by flecks, we aimed to distance the image from a reductive conception of migration as movement, and to include the notions of staying, home-making, displacement and never-reaching. As the guest-editors write in their introduction, this issue seeks to engage with some of the “less explored facets” of migration, “focusing on the idea that the lived reality of migration is always also framed by discursive formations.” We hope the readers will enjoy discovering these facets, these discursive formations On_Culture may provide. Giessen, December 2020 The Editorial Team   _How to Cite The Editorial Team. “Preface: Metaphors of Migration.” On_Culture: The Open Journal for the Study of Culture 10 (2020). <>. CC-BY 4.0

Editorial: Love

Politics, Practices, Perspectives

Love as a concept has been simultaneously central and marginalized within the humanities and the arts. It has been theorized in various and often contradictory ways, positioned as both oppressive and liberating; on the one hand, serving political and economic agendas and, on the other hand, fostering solidarity within political action. This issue of On_Culture seeks to open up the complexity presented by love and its relevance to cultural discourses within academic debates, social practices, and the political present. […]

Editorial: Distribution

As a concept and topic for the study of culture, ‘distribution’ can point to a variety of flows of objects. These may range from material goods and media formats to ephemeral opinions, but can also include power structures, the dissemination of knowledge or the traveling of cultural works and theoretical concepts. Distribution is thus ideally situated to grasp changing landscapes of cultural production, academia, and knowledge institutions. This issue of […]


Critique: Meanings, Methods, Contexts

In 2004, sociologist and philosopher Bruno Latour ushered in the ‘postcritique era’ with his highly-influential question: “Why has critique run out of steam?” [1] In the article, he argues that critique has become too abstract and scattered, and has therefore lost relevancy. Even more dangerously, he warns of the ways that critique has and can be misappropriated, such as in the development and dissemination of conspiracy theories. Ultimately he calls for a refocusing of critique around a […]