Metaphoricity and the Politics of Mobility

Metaphoricity and the Politics of Mobility

Metaphoricity and the Politics of Mobility

Metaphoricity and the Politics of Mobility

Synopsis

This collection of essays investigates the convergence between the postmodern politics of mobility and a politics of metaphor, a politics, in other words, in the context of which the production and displacement of meaning(s) constitute the major stakes. Ranging from discussions of multiculturalism, digisporas and transnational politics and ethics, to September 11th, the Pentagon's New Map, American legislation on Chinese immigration, and Doris Salcedo's Atrabiliarios, the collection aims to follow three different theoretical trajectories. First, it seeks to rethink our concepts of mobility in order to open them up to the complexity that structures the thoughts and practices of a global order. Second, it critically examines the privileged position of concepts and metaphors of mobility within postmodern theory. In juxtaposing conflictual theoretical formulations, the book sets out to presentthe competing responses that fuel academic debates around this issue...

Excerpt

Maria Margaroni and Effie Yiannopoulou

Metaphoricity: Definition and Theoretical Advantages

In his introduction to a recent book in the Thamyris/Intersections Rodopi series, Tim Cresswell assesses what has been seen as “the postmodern turn” in Western theorizations of mobility (see Cresswell 2002). As he argues, the humanistic “sedentarist metaphysics” that privileged place, roots and an identity firmly located in the particularity of its “Being-there” has given way to an equally problematic “nomadic metaphysics” that promotes a “fascination with all things mobile” (“Introduction: Theorizing Place” 11, “Mobilities – An Introduction” 9). Although, according to Cresswell, the contemporary re-evaluation of mobility has been necessary to counter the longstanding suspicion towards it, it has gone too far in the other direction, producing an a-historical conceptual framework that fails to do justice to our diverse, historical and geographically concrete experience of movement. in response to this nomadic metaphysics, Cresswell calls for the theorization of a “politics of mobility” (“Introduction: Theorizing Place” 11), in other words, for a critical and transformative practice that will restore the material, historical contexts of contemporary phenomena and that will remain attuned to their complexity and diversity.

Our contention in this volume is that at the heart of such a postmodern politics of mobility lies what we shall call “metaphoricity,” a concept that we want to introduce into contemporary mobility studies. “Metaphoricity” draws on metaphor and its Ancient Greek root metapherein, the verb meaning to “transfer,” to “move” from one context to another. the term refers, then, to the action of a (decontextualizing as much as recontextualizing) movement that blurs conventional boundaries and introduces difference in the self-same, opening up the “one” to receive the “other.” Due to its connection with the rhetorical figure of metaphor, the term inscribes this action within the production of meaning, thus foregrounding the inextricable link between physical, social, conceptual and discursive movement.

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