See below for a (rough) abstract:
Migrant Bodies of Lampedusa: Policy, Space and Aesthetics
Lampedusa, a tiny island that belongs politically to Italy and geographically to Africa, is today one of the most controversial places within the Mediterranean. It lives off tourism for nearly seven months a year but it is forced to deal regularly with what is commonly perceived, in public opinion, as an ‘invasion of Europe’ by migrants mainly from the African continent.
Migrant Bodies of Lampedusa is a study of how migrants and Lampedusa are represented across different media, how the political and legal systems respond to such representation and what is left out of it. While the body of the migrant is de-individualised by the media, detained by law enforcement, or finds its anonymous resting place in the waters of the Mediterranean, Lampedusa’s migrants are also recently claiming different perspectives and voices in documentaries, festivals, video art and heritage sites, and also in the island thanks to the recent attention that local cultural associations and even the mayor are performing towards the migrants.
Migrant Bodies of Lampedusa will discuss the link between on the one hand the legal and political discourses aiming at regulating – mostly according to a logic of exclusion – the migrant subjects’ passage within the Mediterranean and, on the other hand, the representation of these subjects in visual discourses, from mass media to video art. From the perspectives of geography, politics, law and the media, migrants are most commonly considered and represented as ‘bodies without words’ (Agamben 2005). This book will propose that aesthetic representations (including cultural heritages, visual and documentary art, photography, literature and theatre) in dialogue with cultural, geographical and legalistic conditions and discourses offer privileged and pressing opportunities for the migrants to claim a voice and effectively ‘talk back’.
Finally, this book intends to answer pressing questions revolving on the one hand around the common fear of the Other in Italian society and the related resistance to making national borders more porous, and on the other hand the ‘resistance to this resistance’ performed through interstitial acts of aesthetics and social agency that interrupt the fictitious 'order' of the Italian Nation.