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Subverting the narrative of the Lampedusa borderscape

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With this article I wish to challenge the concept of ‘crisis’, commonly associated with the arrival of irregularized migrants to the island of Lampedusa, by showing how this conception is usually the result of a fabrication and spectacle to which migrants become subjected, fuelling a ‘moral panic’ difficult to overcome. The understanding and representation of migrants as ‘carriers of crisis’ has inevitably undermined their dignity and rights as individuals. As a counter-narrative, this article explores a series of acts of resistance revolving around the issue of migration, where Lampedusa plays a central role, promoting the autonomy of migrants that is challenging the order of a securitized Europe. Through analyses of the grassroots documentary and theatre projects On the Bride’s Side (Angliaro et al., 2014) and Queens of Syria (Fedda, 2013), this article finally explores the possibility of perceiving art about migrant experiences as a domain of struggle, through acts that I have defined as ‘aesthetics of subversion’, where those who are normally depicted as ‘imperceptible bodies’ become ‘subjects of power’, the power of subverting the narrative around their journey, their past and their desires for the future.
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Keywords: LampedusaInFestival; On the Bride’s Side; Queens of Syria; aesthetics of subversion; crisis; migrant struggle; spectacle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Westminster

Publication date: October 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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