Articles with tag: migration

Transtopian Moves

The Rhizome in Jonas Carpignano’s Feature Films Mediterranea (2015) and A Ciambra (2017)

1_ Introduction With the shift in meaning of race (for example, in slogans like “Black is beautiful”), Stuart Hall explains how trans-coding makes it possible to recast dominant meanings and thus contribute to reinterpretations. The space in which this happens is a transtopian space, which can potentially be created by the encounter of different individuals. [1] In the feature films of director Jonas Carpignano, such encounters (by strangers) with both marginalized space and marginalized people are at the center. The theme of the films is quite close to the director’s biography: Carpignano’s mother is from the Caribbean island of Barbados, and his father is from Rome; Carpignano himself was born in New York, and spent a great deal of time with his father’s side of the family in Italy. He represents diverse cultural and national identities, and at the same time addresses these in his films. Carpignano seems fascinated with Calabria and the events that take place there: in this geographically and eonomically marginal region of Italy, one can locate even more marginal experiences. In Mediterranea (2015), the refugees from Burkina Faso have nothing to do with Italy, while in A Ciambra (2017) [2], the teenager is Italian, but at the same time belongs to a group of Roma. In Carpignano’s films, the protagonists Ayiva, a refugee from Burkina Faso, and Pio, a Roma, serve as examples of the “liquid modernity” that Zygmunt Bauman describes in his book Liquid Modernity (2000). Bauman emphasizes the adjective “liquid” in his effort to show how stable identities have never been so stable as they appear in postmodern times. [3] While Pio is Italian, he is still marginalized in Italian society; Ayiva is also marginalized, but in a different way. What the characters have in common is that it is difficult for them to participate in public life. This is one reason why they find each other, befriend each other, and ultimately cheat each other. Their different processes of adaptation and constant changing of identity demonstrate their attempts to create transtopian spaces in which each is not and need not act as a marginalized person, but as someone else. It is this appearance in popular culture of marginalized individuals, especially “by the voicing of the margins,” [4] that has transformed cultural life as we know it. Following the reflections of Mikhail M. Bakhtin and Valentin N. Volosinov, Stuart Hall emphasizes the possibility of appropriating…

The Experience of Migration: From Metaphor to Metamorphosis

In banal by now media representations of migrants it remains frequently the case that metaphors are systematically used in racist and demeaning manners, though also, occasionally, in positive ways empathizing with the plight of refugees, migrant communities, and the sans papiers. [1] There are varied reasons why this is the case but none of them appear to be accidental, as specialists observe. [2] I am interested, here, in considering the wider, more personal and […]

Shapes on the Horizon

Reading the Pumice Raft and Migration through Agentic Ecologies and Australian Border Control

Following the eruption of geologic matter from an undersea volcano in 2019, its pas-sage through ocean waters and rendering in media representations, to traversals of these same waters by asylum seekers journeying to Australia, we seek to draw a line between mediatisation, attention, and flow as it relates to the drawing of borders. Through considerations of the agentic power of bodies, toward a reading of Australian history […]

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, [25] 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