crowd both website 2_2048

Illustration by Sarah Hoyley


Aspirational maps

“Forced exits can be created by traumas of environment, economy or national civil war. They produce refugees who are invariably traumatized. Their claims on the hospitality of the nations in which they land are always in a grey zone between hospitality, sanctuary and incarceration, because they are usually in a categorical grey zone that combines features of the stranger, the victim, the criminal and the undocumented visitor.

The trauma of the forced refugee provokes the deepest anxieties of the modern nation-state, which relies on boundaries, censuses, taxes and documentation. The heart of the new traumas that the forced refugee experiences in the new country is that he or she has a plot (a narrative, a story) but no character, identity or name. The challenge of evolving a new form of legal and ethical hospitality is to create a name to fit the plot, an identity to fit the narrative. The challenge of the modern nation-state is that, whereas its key narratives of identity rely on fixed starting points (blood, language, religion, territory), the forced exit is usually produced precisely by originary traumas of blood, language, religion or location. This raises the question of how to build a new relationship between plot and character in modern nation-states and a world of forced exits, where there is as yet no ethical foundation for seeing traumatic movement as the pivot of a serious identity for some citizens.”

Redefining urban citizenship when migrants and refugees are the norm

“The world is currently seeing record levels of displacement, with some 60 million refugees having been forced to flee their homes due to poverty or violence, according to the United Nations. Many of those people prefer to live, or will end up, in cities.

For Habitat III, this year’s major U. N. conference on urbanization, this has become a highly controversial subject. After all, the conference — slated to take place in Quito, Ecuador, in October — will aim to draw up a “New Urban Agenda”, which will seek to pave the way for development in cities over the coming two decades. With more and more people and policymakers concerned with issues of migration, it is inevitable that this background will impact on discussions over what the city of the urban future sould look like.”

At Home in the Liminal World

In recent years, anthropologists have spotlighted a new generation at “home in the diaspora,” in Behar’s words. For them the liminal is not life’s interlude, but life itself. While being uprooted results in lost jobs, broken relationships, and, as cultural anthropologist Anthony D’Andrea says, “displaced minds,” scientists are finding benefits to life in the liminal lane. The more time we spend in alien realms, they say, the more likely we are to perceive the world in ways we could never otherwise imagine, evoking a perfect backdrop for fevered creative work, learning, and personal growth. “When you thrust yourself out of your usual context,” Behar says, “you find out who you are.”

Global communities and critical citizenship: The future citizen

“In the last several years we have seen momentous acts of citizenship across the globe, where citizens have taken over the public sphere and demanded justice and representation in creative and powerful ways. At the same time, citizenship is taking on a global dimension, with acts in one national context resonating and affecting another.

What do these boundary-crossing acts of citizenship tell us about the future citizen? How can we understand what is at stake today when we speak of citizenship and social justice in a globalised world?

This panel will look at the changing idea of the global citizen, from whistle blowers to protestors and migrants, which inform an idea of the future citizen.

This event is aimed at arts practitioners, activists, researchers and those concerned with the role of cultural rights in relation to policies of borders and migration.”

Border are back in fashion

“One of the first measures taken after the fall of communism was to abrogate the exit visas that the authorities used to control those who wished to travel abroad. Thrilled by the news, I took a random plane out of Sofia and flew to Warsaw (socialist countries did not need entry visas), and walked senselessly through the streets wondering what to do with such sudden freedom. A couple of years later, the influx of eastern European migrants provoked a reversal of Ronald Reagan’s famous line: “Mister Yeltsin, put back this wall!” Finally last year, the Russian Duma held a timid discussion on the possible reintroduction of exit visas, presumably for security reasons. Today, many countries in the world are enthusiastically offered generous development aid if they would be so kind as to contain their citizens.

Why did the utopia of a borderless world lose its aura?”

M.I.A -Borders



The Future of Citizenship

“The ongoing expansion in the field of citizenship studies is one of the most important and remarkable recent trends in social sciences and humanities research. Some scholars raise questions about citizenship within a larger critique of liberalism and its institutions; others point to citizenship’s inherently exclusionary nature. This volume examines—without advocating any ideological agenda—the evolving meaning of citizenship, with an eye to the future. The connected contributions—from the perspectives of anthropology, sociology, psychology, law, history, and other disciplines—examine four basic modes of citizenship in comparative global context: Differentiated, Divided, Dispersed, and Deterritorialized. The future of citizenship may, it is argued, come to rely on a global mode of “citizenship by association,” tantamount to a worldwide civic interface.”

Urgente: procura-se uma ideia de Nação

“O termo “nação” teve vários diferentes significados no decorrer dos séculos. Mas atualmente, mais ou menos desde a Revolução Francesa, a expressão tem sido ligada ao Estado, como em “Estado-nação”. Nesse sentido, “nação” refere-se àqueles que são membros por direito da comunidade que está localizada dentro de um Estado.

Se aqueles que formam uma nação dão origem à criação de um Estado; ou se é um Estado que cria a categoria de nação e dessa forma os direitos dentro do Estado é um velho debate. Quanto a mim, acredito que Estados criam nações, e não o contrário.”

How SyFy’s The Expanse cast its multiracial future

“There’s something’s visibly missing in the first season of Syfy’s space-opera series The Expanse. When a catastrophe strands a handful of working-class ice miners in a treacherous situation, most of them immediately look to their black female engineer for guidance, rather than to the ranking white male officer. When those miners are taken aboard an immense Martian warship, the captain is a no-nonsense Asian woman. One of the series’ primary protagonists is a septuagenarian Indian woman in a crucial executive role in the United Nations. There’s no glass ceiling in The Expanse, either for women or for characters of color. There’s also no reason to assume, sight unseen, that any given referenced characters, regardless of their position in the world, will be white men.”

Ranking the world’s most multilingual countries

“Ethnologue, the premier authority on languages, has ranked the world’s countries based on the number of living languages spoken within its borders. It’s important to note that the ranking isn’t a measure of multilingualism on a personal level (i.e. the number of people who speak more than one language), rather a count of the number of languages used as a first language in the country.

The full ranking of multilingual countries is below. ‘Total’ shows the overall number of languages spoken as a first language in the country. This total is then broken down into indigenous (ind.) and immigrant (imm.) languages.”

Long Read: The Brussels teenagers defying culural divisions

“Links to the Paris attacks put Brussels at the centre of Europe’s debate on immigration, throwing up some heated questions. Is a lack of integration leading to radicalised teens? But at Les Ursulines skatepark a refreshing counterpoint is thriving, as kids from all backgrounds skate together in peace.”



Refugee Republic

A new existence in an emerging city. This is an interactive documentary about everyday life in Domiz Camp.