5. Immigration Controls: A Cruel Twentieth Century Aberration
Teresa Hayter (activist and author), Oxford, U.K. Human beings have always migrated. Practically every nation state in the world is the product of successive waves of migration. 'National culture' is an illusion, peddled by the right wing and the racists. States have for centuries, from time to time, given themselves the right to expel people. What is new, and a twentieth century phenomenon, is the attempt by nation states to stop people entering their territories in the first place. At a time when the rich countries themselves recognise that they need more rather than less immigration in order to prosper and even survive, they continue to build ever more vicious structures of repression to keep 'the unchosen' out. This requires explanation. It is not clear that the continued existence of immigration controls can be explained in any way other than by racism. The arguments of economic self-interest on the part of the states applying controls are weak or non-existent. If governments had a real concern about the numbers migrating (rather than merely a desire to act tough to appease the racists and thus, they hope, win votes), they could refrain from military intervention and other actions which force people to flee. An ideal situation would be one in which nobody is forced to migrate, but everybody is free to migrate if they wish to.
6. ‘Frame-breaking: Globalization, Romanticism, Postmodernism.’
Ian Haywood, Roehampton University, London, U.K.
In this talk I will suggest that important and useful parallels exist between the postmodern, globalized condition of modernity and the Romantic era in which migration/exile, nationalism and nostalgia first become powerful political and cultural discourses in opposition to Enlightenment barbarism (war, political economy, imperialism, tyranny). Specifically, I will focus on Byron, the archetypal Romantic radical wanderer and first great European literary celebrity. The Byronic ‘exile’, I will suggest, represents an alternative modern subjectivity: a complex trope of fluid individualism, alienation, pleasure, excess, play, cosmopolitanism, sexual transgression, celebrity, satirical jouissance and strategic nationalism.
I will illustrate these ideas with examples from Byron’s political and literary career, beginning with his defence of the Luddite ‘frame-breakers’ (the basic model of the violent, dispossessed national working class), and drawing on his more famous achievements, the ‘Oriental’ tales, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage and Don Juan. I will end with a brief consideration of J. M. Coetzee’s novel Disgrace, in which Byronism is put forward as an ambiguous resolution of the conflicts between an instrumentalist modernization, the collapse of liberal humanism, women’s emancipation, and violent nationalist territorialism.
7. The Nostalgia at Homeland: Modern Bulgarian National Identity and Economic Existence Abroad
Zhivko Ivanov, Paiissiy Hilendarski University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria
This paper examines the relationship between: economic reasons for emigrating; renewal of the national and patriotic discourse observed abroad; and the redefined national identity of Bulgaria in the European context.
The new forms of distanced emigrant nationalism are available in discursive practice – in electronic fora, websites for emigrants, discussing groups, etc. Cases of traumatic nostalgia are often manifested there, continuing even after a final return home. Both instances of destroyed identity and of economic and social satisfaction are evidenced in the process of surviving in a host country far away from home. In fact, we can observe the rise of a new Bulgarian networking community revolving a great variety of attitudes and opinions about the national and global, about home and abroad, about host country and homeland. Using the words of Lies Sercu in National Helpdesks for Intercultural Learning Materials: A Guideline (Utrecht 1999), ‘Immigration, tolerance, … integration, ethnicity, race, … discrimination, exclusion,… equal opportunities, multicultural… These are just some of the beacons guiding a debate on diversity, which is sweeping through public life in North America and Europe, and of which echoes can be heard in many other parts of the world’(12). As part of the process of border removals and due to the transitions taking place in Bulgarian society on a number of levels, many of the above listed “hot issues” become relevant to contemporary Bulgarian and many more will gain relevance in the future. Multicultural and intercultural issues, which have been recurrent motifs in present day public debates, are also, logically, reflected in educational policy making, since education in general, and especially in the state-run obligatory schooling system, is seen as a key location for influencing developments in society. To a great extent reflecting the above-outlined tendencies, in several countries in Europe a number of National Helpdesks have been founded. In general, Helpdesks address themselves to teachers, teacher trainers, textbook authors, publishers, policy makers. Their purpose is to provide practical advice to educational practitioners related to pursuing the objectives of intercultural education. The primary focus of their work falls on teaching materials and media, mainly on textbooks, since, as empirical studies have established, it is what teachers predominantly use in their daily practice. As legal entities, being NGOs, Helpdesks position themselves proactively and become manifestations of a democratic, pluralist and civil society. … In our approach to the analysis of textbooks and the educational and legal documentation which they implement we engage in two acts: a) that of researching the textbooks for evidence of how they create and confirm majority national and minority ethnic identities; how they invent ways of belonging to the Bulgarian nation state and observing the established ‘order’, and b) that of crossing the boundary of the established norms and seeking to fulfil the Mission of the Helpdesk to promote intercultural education by pointing at and suggesting ways to overcome the negative consequences of constructing national identity as fixed, closed, and unchanging and of marginalising the nationally and ethnically different in the Bulgarian society. It is the heritage of long dating back to antiquity partition which already started to form in Imperium Romanum. Balkans already in antiquity were on the borderland of Latin West and Greek East whose further separation happened in the Middle Ages. The dismemberment was intensified by the Islam expansion, which thanks to Turkish after Constantinople fall in 1453, engulfed almost all Balkan Peninsula. This is how the cultural and civilizing circles were formed which were to influence the countenance of this region of Europe. The borders between the territories marked by the circles are not definite and it is difficult to attribute particular countries to one specific circle. In most cases the borderlines will go through within particular countries and form sort of a net depicting not only ethnic settlement but also cultural and civilizing order which does not depend on national affiliation but on the religion of the region. This situation contributes to inevitable conflicts and to a dialogue which continues despite disagreements. While our continent is still uniting, the events of conflicts and dialogue which have been going on for long time on the south-west borderland of Europe should be the source of reflection over future model of EU. If the unity of our continent is not to be the illusion of integrated community only on the legal and economic ground, so it must be reinforced by more stable foundation than global market. Countries whose relations are based on euros or unified legal system are not strong enough to fight national egoism and antagonisms. There must be ideas that can integrate Latin and Byzantine traditions into one European civilization. And if Muslim Turkey is to join EU it would be necessary to work out a new modus vivendi on the level of the dialogue between civilizations. All those problems have focused for a long time in the land of Balkans. Defining the model of the ancient, and afterwards of the Christian ascesis gradually clears up the notion of man and world in a historical perspective, and, unexpectedly at first sight, draws the picture of the globalized world of today. On the one hand the ancient philosophy considers the world to be a cosmic unity in which the natural and the human determine each other, and on the other hand the Christian vision sets the body as separated from the supreme function of the Spirit which is eternal, while the body is ephemeral. In that sense the ascesis is an internal effort, a spiritual exercise, not a physical torment and a wearisome labour. In today’s modern world the idea of ascesis has thinned to a pedantic rationality and love of economizing. The insane consumption drive of the postindustrial world is an expression of a one-way compensation against the shrunk range of the intimate human experience. Through the ascesis the Christian does not simply overcomes problems and fears, but ascends his spirit to a greater horizon. Globalization uses diets and body restraints, which have nothing in common with the genuine Christian ascesis, in which food abstention represents surmounting of the non-durable and the transient. Today’s models of diets, emptied of spiritual substance, are not related either to the ancient (natural-human) or to the Christian ascesis, which leads to salvation. The mailing list is one of the market squares of the information age. It is thus a site of community formation and identity construction across all layers - individual, gender, community, ethnicity, nationality and race in relation to one perspective of homeland or another. The discursive production of ‘homeland’ in any of these contexts is complex due to the intricacy of joggling multiple positionings of individuals and groups within interconnecting and multiple layerings of home, community and identity (cf. Kondo, 1996: 113). Diaspora Nigerians like other new immigrant communities contend with their locations on the margins of Western societies and the struggle to enter the mainstream and at the same time maintain some relevance to their Nigerian homelands. They thus inhabit the interface of memory and reality and tap into a mix of present and past referential resources to do so. Mailing lists and their narratives become tools for inscribing homeland identities within Nigeria’s virtual diaspora as a specific community of practice. This paper will explore data from a corpus of interactional emails collected from Chat-Afrik a virtual community of Nigerians who are physically located in different parts of the world. As the old joke has it, nostalgia is not what it used to be. If nothing else, the recent growth in academic exploration, governmental management, and international manifestations of ‘cultural memory’ indicates a crisis in our understanding of temporality which is assuming global proportions. The loss or decay of the ‘aura’ of the past is, as Benjamin argues, a mark of modernity, and the concomitant search and desire for ‘origins’ intensifies a sense of ‘transcendental homelessness’ which is the modern condition (Lukacs). But this is also to forget that ‘modernization itself created the auratic effect to begin with’ (Huyssen). This paper will argue that the processes of remembering and memorialization, as ways of thinking about the historical world, no longer give expression to a belief in a telos of history in which collective nostalgia marked boundaries between a nation’s past and present. While such memory exercises were inherently conservative, they nonetheless embodied a sense of historical development which could be usefully and effectively mobilised as an instrument of progressive transformation and resistance. The paper will also argue that the course of globalisation has intensified this sense of amnesia by promoting certain forms of neo-conservative ‘tradition’ while effectively neutralising other forms of radical memory. I will explore these issues as they are materialised in texts, monuments, conserved ruins, etc, and ask where are the contemporary ‘lieux de memoire’ which counter the reductionism of globalised collective memory?
14. Re-Imagining the Homeland in a Post-Colonial Context
Dennis Walder, Faculty of Arts, Open University, U.K.
This focuses upon the remarkable recent outpouring of attempts by South Africans to reinstate the most derided figure on the old neo-Darwinian racial map, i.e. the Khoisan or Bushman (the very naming is subject to ongoing controversy), in such works as Andre Brink's recent novel The Other Side of Silence, set in German SWA 1890s, some poetic renderings of San songs by Watson and Krog (representing English and Afrikaans SA), and some docu-prose attempts to represent the Kalahari Bushmen as ultimate victims of neo-colonial capitalism. The migrant-European angle would be produced by my own 'reflective-nostalgia' (as defined by Svtelana Boym) perspective, in terms of struggling to come to terms with family links to the German settlement and the so-called Second Reich.