Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement

Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement

Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement

Cultures of Exile: Images of Displacement

Synopsis

Exile is the dominant theme of our times. It can be found in the forced migration of populations but also in the temporal, cultural and physical alienation of the individual's experiences of the postmodern world. This is a world of unstable, shifting identities dominated, and perhaps most acutely expressed by, the fluidity of the visual image. The essays in this volume examine issues such as remembering and forgetting trauma and nostalgia, time and space, social and sexual exclusion in relation to visual media and new technologies, cinema and the visual arts. The multi-facetted and interdisciplinary exploration of exile and displacement - whether geographical, temporal, corporeal or performative - provides an important analysis of a significant and fascinating aspect of contemporary culture.

Excerpt

As the turbulent, terrifying and exhilarating twentieth century drew to its close, to be replaced by the even more terrifying beginnings of a new millennium, it has been particularly fascinating to observe the extent to which long-standing historical, political, and geographical experiences of exile came to assume a significance which both included and transcended their specific circumstances. Given that exile must now be recognised as a key concept affecting virtually every aspect of contemporary life, there could be no more fitting moment for the publication of this volume of essays, whose multiple perspectives and wide-ranging analyses explore and develop the simple proposition that the experience of exile constitutes the major defining experience of the modern world.

While narratives of exile are a cultural commonplace, deeply rooted in human consciousness and offering a founding myth that is readily translated into the everyday experiences of populations and generations, it is perhaps the coming together of the political and the economic on a hitherto unimaginable scale that has marked the last hundred years as the century of the migrant and the exile. Importantly, while the Irish, the Italian, and the Middle-European diasporas were crossing the Atlantic, other equally transforming if less spectacular journeys were also taking place. the inexorable spread of mechanisation and industrialisation, for example, caused whole generations to desert the stable if penurious existence of the peasant for the precarious world of the urban proletariat, and it is clear that the atomised culture of life in the city is a . . .

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