ŽIŽEK, MIGRATION, EXCLUSION
Thursday 19th February 2015, 3-5pm, Lecture Room 213, Brunel University, London
Irregular immigration is at the forefront of global struggles for economic opportunity, for political rights and for security. Pressed by the increasing influence of both global governing institutions and transnational corporations, along with rising cultural diversity, anxiety about the coherence of the imagined national community within Western nations has increased. This anxiety, along with the global economic downturn and concurrent rises in unemployment, is contributing to the sharpening of ideological policing of national borders, with new legislation targeting irregular immigrants and sympathy for the predicament of those immigrants falling. In turn, the plight of those driven by poverty, environmental insecurity and concerns over security to attempt to gain entry into Western nations outside of official channels has become increasingly fraught, with an estimated 2,500 migrants having drowned in the Mediterranean so far this year (as of October 2014).
For Slavoj Žižek these flows of irregular migrants exemplify a shifting of the borders of political and economic exclusion. Having identified the troubling presence of ‘new forms of apartheid’ most prominently found in the slums, sweatshops and construction projects of ‘the developing world’, this surplus of humanity is increasingly apparent on the borders of the Western world. Arguing that this surplus is not an aberration in the development of global capitalism, but represents its ‘universal singular’ moment, Žižek suggests that as the ‘part with no part’ of the nation political community, irregular immigrants hold a uniquely disruptive presence.
This workshop brings together prominent Žižekian theorists to discuss the trauma, difficulties and radical political potential of the disruptive presence of irregular immigration and the ‘new forms of apartheid’ of the 21st century.
Mark Devenney, University of Brighton
Heiko Feldner, University of Cardiff
Chris McMillan, Brunel University
Fabio Vighi, University of Cardiff
Organised by Chris McMillan. For more information, contact Chris.McMillan@brunel.ac.uk
‘Human Herbs’ – a song by Cold Hands & Quarter Moon: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Au-vyMtfDAs
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Online Publications at The Flow of Ideas: http://www.flowideas.co.uk/?page=pub&sub=Online%20Publications%20Glenn%20Rikowski