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South and North: Contemporary Urban Orientations
 9780815396840, 9781351047043

Table of contents :
Cover
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of figures
List of contributors
Series editors’ preface
Acknowledgements
1 Introduction
2 Detachment Down South: on salvage operations and city-making
3 The agency of materials and the future of politics in the shanty-town of the Global South
4 Ideological disorientation and urban struggle in postwar Luanda: notes on Neto’s Mausoleum
5 Gentrification in Rio: multiple trajectories and narratives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas after ‘pacification’ policies
6 Village Delhi
7 The university, the novel form, literary life and the urban Global South
8 Terminal city: immaterial migrations, virtual detachments and the North–South divide (Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, 2008)
9 Postcolonial dandies and the death of the flâneur
10 Globalized Parisian spaces: disability and mobility in The Untouchables (2011)
11 A sense of disorder: orientation and migration in the ‘new’ West
12 Dark truths in East German towns in times of Islamophobia
13 Entanglements and dispersals: occidental power and the vicissitudes of displacement
Index

Citation preview

SOUTH AND NORTH

This book explores urban life and realities in the cities of the Global South and North. Through literature, film and other forms of media that constitute shared social imaginaries, the essays in the volume interrogate the modes of production that make up the fabric of urban spaces and the lives of their inhabitants. They also rethink practices that engender ‘cityness’ in diverse but increasingly interlinked conglomerations. Probing ‘orientations’ of and within major urban spaces of the South – Jakarta, Rio de Janeiro, Tijuana, Delhi, Kolkata, Luanda and Johannesburg – the book reveals the shared dynamics of urbanity built on and through the ruins of imperialism, Cold War geopolitics, global neoliberalism and the recent resurgence of nationalism. Completing a kind of arc, the volume then turns to cities located in the North such as Paris, Munich, Dresden, London and New York to map their coordinates in relation to the South. The volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of media and culture studies, city studies, development studies, Global South studies, urban geography, built environment and literature. Kerry Bystrom is Professor of English and Human Rights and Associate Dean of the College at Bard College Berlin, a Liberal Arts University, Germany. Her research is rooted in South and Southern African literary and cultural studies, with a current project on the cultural politics of the Cold War South Atlantic. Ashleigh Harris is Associate Professor at the Department of English, Uppsala University, Sweden. Harris publishes in the field of Southern African, particularly Zimbabwean literature. She is primary investigator in a research project titled ‘African Street Literatures and the Future of Literary Form’, funded by the Swedish Research Council and based at Uppsala University, Sweden. Andrew J. Webber is Professor of Modern German and Comparative Culture at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. His research ranges widely over modern German-language visual and textual culture, with comparative and interdisciplinary interests, and a particular focus on urban studies.

LITERARY CULTURES OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH Series Editors: Russ West-Pavlov, University of Tübingen, Germany and Makarand R. Paranjape, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India

Recent years have seen challenging new formulations of the flows of influence in transnational cultural configurations and developments. In the wake of the end of the Cold War, the notion of the ‘Global South’ has arguably succeeded the demise of the tripartite conceptual division of the First, Second and Third Worlds. This notion is a flexible one referring to the developing nations of the once-colonized sections of the globe. The concept does not merely indicate shifts in geopolitics and in the respective affiliations of nations, and the economic transformations that have occurred, but also registers an emergent perception of a new set of relationships between nations of the Global South as their respective connections to nations of the north (either USA/USSR or the old colonial powers) diminish in significance. New social and cultural connections have become evident. This book series explores the literary manifestations (in their often intermedial, networked forms) of those south–south cultural connections together with academic leaders from those societies and cultures concerned. Editorial Advisory Board Bruce Robbins, Columbia University Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago Elleke Boehmer, University of Oxford Laura I. P. Izarra, University of Sao Paulo Pal Ahluwalia, University of Portsmouth Robert J. C. Young, New York University Simon During, University of Queensland Véronique Tadjo, University of Witwatersrand Books in this series THE POSTCOLONIAL EPIC Sneharika Roy ANNOTATING SALMAN RUSHDIE Reading the Postcolonial Vijay Mishra SOUTH AND NORTH Contemporary Urban Orientations Edited by Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris and Andrew J. Webber For more information about this series, please visit: www.routledge.com/Literary-Cultures-of-the-Global-South/book-series/LCGS

SOUTH AND NORTH Contemporary Urban Orientations

Edited by Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris and Andrew J. Webber

First published 2018 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2018 selection and editorial matter, Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris and Andrew J. Webber; individual chapters, the contributors The right of Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris and Andrew J. Webber to be identified as the authors of the editorial material, and of the authors for their individual chapters, has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record for this book has been requested ISBN: 978-0-815-39684-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-351-04704-3 (ebk) Typeset in Galliard by Apex CoVantage, LLC

CONTENTS

List of figuresvii List of contributorsix Series editors’ prefacexv Acknowledgementsxvii  1 Introduction

1

KERRY BYSTROM, ASHLEIGH HARRIS AND ANDREW J. WEBBER

  2 Detachment Down South: on salvage operations and city-making23 ABDOUMALIQ SIMONE

  3 The agency of materials and the future of politics in the shanty-town of the Global South

43

RUSSELL WEST-PAVLOV

  4 Ideological disorientation and urban struggle in postwar Luanda: notes on Neto’s Mausoleum

65

KERRY BYSTROM

  5 Gentrification in Rio: multiple trajectories and narratives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas after ‘pacification’ policies

87

KLEBER MENDONÇA

  6 Village Delhi

103

PAMILA GUPTA

v

CONTENTS

  7 The university, the novel form, literary life and the urban Global South

125

SIMON DURING

  8 Terminal city: immaterial migrations, virtual detachments and the North–South divide (Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, 2008)

141

GEOFFREY KANTARIS

  9 Postcolonial dandies and the death of the flâneur161 JENNIFER WAWRZINEK

10 Globalized Parisian spaces: disability and mobility in The Untouchables (2011)

181

MIREILLE ROSELLO

11 A sense of disorder: orientation and migration in the ‘new’ West

199

AGATA LISIAK

12 Dark truths in East German towns in times of Islamophobia217 CHRISTINE HENTSCHEL

13 Entanglements and dispersals: occidental power and the vicissitudes of displacement

237

SUDEEP DASGUPTA

Index253

vi

FIGURES



2.1 2.2 3.1 4.1 8.1

AbdouMaliq Simone, Popular market at Kali Baru  Rika Febriyani, Periphery of market at Kali Baru  Russell West-Pavlov, Shack–barber shop at Bojanala  Jo Ractliffe, Mausoléu de Agostinho Neto (2007)  The cityscape from the perspective of the construction robot  10.1 The bricolée machine overtaking tourists on Segways  12.1 Christine Hentschel, Pegida gathering in Chemnitz at the Karl Marx Monument, 30 August 2016  12.2 Christine Hentschel, The anti-Islamization crowd in front of the theatre in Dresden, with banner, ‘Dresden open to the world’ and graffiti, ‘refugees welcome’ 

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34 34 52 73 154 189 228

230

CONTRIBUTORS

Kerry Bystrom is Professor of English and Human Rights and Associate Dean of the College at Bard College Berlin, a Liberal Arts University, Germany. Bystrom is the author of Democracy at Home in South Africa: Family Fictions and Transitional Culture (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016) and editor of various collections, including The Global South Atlantic (co-edited with Joseph R. Slaughter, Fordham University Press, 2018). Articles have appeared in Interventions,  Humanity,  Journal of Southern African Studies and Safundi, among others. Her current research focuses on cultural and political negotiations in the Cold War South Atlantic as well on changing conceptions of justice, solidarity and humanitarianism articulated in literature and media since the end of the Cold War. Sudeep Dasgupta is an associate professor of Media Studies at the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He is affiliated with the Amsterdam Center for Globalization Studies (ACGS) and the Amsterdam School of Cultural Analysis (ASCA). He has published extensively in the area of media studies, visual culture and aesthetics, postcolonialism and gender, most recently in J. Hartle & S. Gandesha (eds.), The Spell of Capital: Reification and Spectacle (Amsterdam University Press, 2017) and in F. Kelleter (ed.), Media of Serial Narrative (Ohio State University Press, 2017). He is the co-editor with Mireille Rosello of What’s Queer about Europe? (Fordham University Press, 2014). Dasgupta has studied in Bombay and Pune, India and Pittsburgh, USA, and completed his PhD in 2000 at the University of Amsterdam. His current work deals with the relationship between aesthetics, visual culture, media studies, gender and sexuality, and postcolonial theories. Simon During is a professorial research fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Queensland, Australia. During studied for his PhD in Victorian literature at Cambridge ix

CONTRIBUTORS

University, United Kingdom. He has been Robert Wallace Chair and Head of Department at the University of Melbourne, and Professor of English at Johns Hopkins University, where he also served as Director of the Film and Media Programme. He has held fellowships and visiting positions at Berkeley and Princeton and elsewhere. Some of his recent books include Exit Capitalism: Literary Culture, Theory and PostSecular Modernity (Routledge, 2009) and Against democracy: literary experience in the era of emancipations (Fordham University Press, 2012). He is currently mainly working on a history of the relationship between Anglicanism and literature in Britain from 1600 to 1945, as well as on a book about the idea of the humanities. Pamila Gupta is Associate Professor at WISER (Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research) at the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. She holds a PhD in Socio-cultural Anthropology from Columbia University. Her research explores Lusophone (post)colonial links and legacies in India and Africa. She has published in Interventions, South African Historical Journal, African Studies, Critical Arts, the Journal of Asian and African Studies, Ler História, Ecologie & Politique, and Public Culture, and is the co-editor of Eyes Across the Water: Navigating the Indian Ocean with Isabel Hofmeyr and Michael Pearson (UNISA, 2010). Her monograph titled The Relic State: St. Francis Xavier and the Politics of Ritual in Portuguese India was published in 2014 by Manchester University Press. Her newest collection of essays titled Portuguese Decolonization in the Indian Ocean World: History and Ethnography is forthcoming with Bloomsbury Press (2018). Ashleigh Harris is Associate Professor at the Department of English, Uppsala University, Sweden. Before taking up this position in Sweden, she taught at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. Harris publishes in the field of Southern African, particularly Zimbabwean, literature. She is primary investigator in a research project titled ‘African Street Literatures and the Future of Literary Form’, funded by the Swedish Research Council and based at Uppsala University. She is also a researcher on the ‘Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literature’ (2016–2021) research programme, funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation, based at Stockholm University. Harris has recently completed a monograph titled De-Realizing Africa: Cosmopolitanism and the African Novel, which is currently under review. Christine Hentschel is Professor of Criminology at the Social Science Department at Hamburg University, Germany. Her fields of inquiry are critical security studies, urban and political sociology, spatial theory, as

x

CONTRIBUTORS

well as postcolonial and affect theory. She is especially interested in questions of vulnerability and uncertainty as they play out on urban grounds, as well as right-wing populisms and emerging regimes of truth. Her latest book Security in the Bubble. Navigating Crime in Urban South Africa was published by University of Minnesota Press in 2015. Geoffrey Kantaris is Reader in Latin American Culture and Director of the MPhil in European, Latin American and Comparative Literatures and Cultures at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. Kantaris specializes in modern Latin American film and literature, with particular interests in urban film (Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and Brazil), women’s writing, popular culture and the cultures of globalization. He teaches a graduate-level seminar on the spatial turn and spatial theory. He has published many articles and book chapters on urban film, postmodernity, women’s writing and dictatorship, and on the theory of Latin American Popular Culture. He is author of The Subversive Psyche (Oxford University Press, 1996) and co-editor of Latin American Popular Culture: Politics, Media, Affect (Boydell and Brewer, 2013). Agata Lisiak is Professor of Migration Studies and Academic Director of the Internship Program at Bard College, Berlin, Germany. She has held visiting fellowships at National Sun Yat-sen University, The Open University, and the University of Birmingham. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Humboldt University’s Institute of Social Sciences (2013–2017) and a Marie Curie Actions/EURIAS fellow at the Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna (2013–2014). Lisiak works at intersections of migration studies, urban sociology, visual cultures, and gender studies. She is particularly interested in everyday urban encounters and imaginaries and developing creative, multi-sensory, and collaborative research methods. She has written about Taiwanese cinema, Polish hip-hop, cultural memory in post-socialist cities, xenoglossophobia, austerity, emotional labour and invisible femininities, among many other topics. She is currently working on a book on migrant mothering based on her research project ‘Immigrant Mothers as Agents of Change’ (2013–2017). Kleber Mendonça is the Director of the Institute of Art and Communication and Associate Professor I of the Department of Cultural and Media Studies at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF) of Brazil. He is also Professor of the Postgraduate Program in Communication (PPGCOM) and coordinator of the Nucleus of Studies of Violence and Communication (NevCom) at UFF. Mendonça’s research is focused on communication with emphases on political philosophy, geography of

xi

CONTRIBUTORS

communication, image and sense, discourse analysis and studies on the informative space of journalism and its interface with the issue of urban violence. Mireille Rosello teaches at the University of Amsterdam (in the department of Literary and Cultural Analysis and the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis), the Netherlands. She focuses on globalized mobility and queer thinking. Her latest works are a special issue of the journal Culture, Theory and Critique (on ‘disorientation’; co-edited with Niall Martin 2016); an anthology on queer Europe, What’s Queer about Europe? Productive Encounters and Re-Enchanting Paradigms (co-edited with Sudeep Dasgupta; Fordham University Press, 2014) and a collection of articles on multilingualism in Europe (Multilingual Europe, Multilingual Europeans, ed. László Marácz and Rosello; 2012). AbdouMaliq Simone is Professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London, United Kingdom, visiting professor at the African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, South Africa, research associate with the Rujak Center for Urban Studies in Jakarta, Indonesia and research fellow at the University of Tarumanagara, Indonesia. Simone is an urbanist in the broad sense that his work focuses on various powers, cultural expressions, governance and planning discourses, spaces and times in cities across the world. His key publications include In Whose Image?: Political Islam and Urban Practices in Sudan (University of Chicago Press, 1994), For the City Yet to Come: Changing Urban Life in Four African Cities (Duke University Press, 2004), City Life from Jakarta to Dakar: Movements at the Crossroads (Routledge, 2009), Jakarta, Drawing the City Near (Minnesota, 2014) and New Urban Worlds: Living in Dissonant Times, with Edgar Pieterse (Polity, 2017). Jennifer Wawrzinek is Visiting Associate Professor at the University of Potsdam, Germany. She has been a British Academy Fellow and an Australian Research Council Visiting Fellow. Her work is interested in the ways that literature negotiates political and ethical ways of being in the world, particularly via renouncing or withdrawing from structures of sovereign power. She has published extensively on African, Australian and Canadian literatures, was co-editor with Russell West-Pavlov and Justus Makokha of Border crossings: Narrative and Demarcation in Postcolonial Literatures and Media (Winter, 2012) and, with Justus Makokha, of Negotiating Afropolitanism: Essays on Borders and Spaces in Contemporary African Literature and Folklore (Brill/Rodopi, 2012).

xii

CONTRIBUTORS

She has just finished a monograph titled Beyond Identity: Romanticism and Decreation. Andrew J. Webber is Professor of Modern German and Comparative Culture at the University of Cambridge, United Kingdom. His research ranges widely over modern German-language visual and textual culture, with comparative and interdisciplinary interests, and a particular focus on urban studies. His books include The European Avant-garde, 1900– 1940 (2004), Berlin in the Twentieth Century: A Cultural Topography (2011) and, – most recently, as editor – the Cambridge Companion to the Literature of Berlin (2017). He is also Principal Investigator for an AHRC-funded project producing digital critical editions of works by Arthur Schnitzler. In 2015–2016, he held the Erich Auerbach Visiting Chair of Global Literary Studies at the University of Tübingen. Russell West-Pavlov is Professor of English (Anglophone Literatures and Cultures) at the University of Tübingen, Germany, and a research associate at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. He convenes a BMBF/ DAAD-funded Thematic Research Network on ‘Literary Cultures of the Global South’ with seven partner universities in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Recent book publications include Eastern African Literatures: Towards an Aesthetics of Proximity (Oxford University Press, 2018), tɛmp(ə)rərɪnəs: On the Imperatives of Place (Narr, 2018, co-written with John Kinsella) and Temporalities (Routledge, 2013). He has edited The Global South and Literature (Cambridge University Press, 2018).

xiii

SERIES EDITORS’ PREFACE

The ‘Global South’ is a descriptive and analytical term that has recently come to the fore across a broad range of social sciences disciplines. It takes on different inflections in varying disciplinary contexts – as a mere geographical descriptor, denoting a network of geopolitical regions, primarily in the southern hemisphere, with a common history of colonization; driven by processes of transformation (the Global South has and continues to be the site of an ongoing neocolonial economic legacy as also of a number of emergent global economies such as India, China, Brazil and South Africa); as an index of a condition of economic and social precarity which, though primarily manifest in the ‘global south’, is also increasingly visible in the North (thus producing a ‘global south’); and, finally, as a utopian marker, signifying a fabric of economic exchanges that are beginning to bypass the Northern economies, and, gradually, a framework for political cooperations, especially from ‘below’, which may offer alternatives to the hegemony of the Euro-American ‘North’. Literary cultures are a particularly pregnant site of south–south cultural analysis as they represent the intersection of traditional and modern cultural forms, of south–south (and north–south) cultural exchange, particularly via modes of translation and interlingual hybridization, and refract various discourses of knowledge in a highly self-reflexive and critical fashion, thereby demanding and enabling an interdisciplinary dialogue with literary studies at its core. Hallowed connections between literary production and the postcolonial nation notwithstanding, transnational south–south literary connections have usually marked the (anti-)colonial, postcolonial and indeed contemporary digital epochs. Thus, literary cultures form one of the central historical and contemporary networked sites of intercultural self-articulation in the Global South. This series intervenes in the process and pre-empts the sort of bland institutionalization which has forestalled much of the intellectual force of postcolonial studies or the more recent world literature studies. It proposes xv

SERIES EDITORS’ PREFACE

wide-ranging interventions into the study of the literary cultures of the Global South that will establish an innovative paradigm for literary studies on the disciplinary terrain up until now, occupied by the increasingly problematized areas of postcolonial studies or non-European national literary studies. The series contributes to the re-writing of cultural and literary history in the specific domain of the literary cultures of the Global South. It attempts to fill in the many gaps left by Euro-American-dominated, but ultimately ‘provincial’ Northern cultural histories. The study of the literary cultures of the Global South ‘swivels’ the axis of literary interrelations from the colonizer–colonized interface which, for instance, has preoccupied postcolonial literary studies since its inception (and which inevitably informed the ‘national’ compartmentalization of postcolonial literary study even when it averted its gaze from the colonizer). Instead, the series explores a set of ‘lateral’ relationships which have always existed but until now largely ignored – and which, in an age of digital communication and online cultural production have begun to emerge, once again, into their properly prominent position. Russell West-Pavlov Makarand R. Paranjape

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This volume originated from a conference called ‘Cities of the South, Cities of the North’ organized by the Literary Cultures of the Global South Network at the University of Tübingen and held at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI) in Berlin, Germany, in November 2015. The editors are deeply grateful to Russ West-Pavlov for his hard work enabling the Literary Cultures of the Global South Network to grow and flourish; to Christoph Holzhey and Arnd Wedemeyer for making the ICI a supportive environment for work in Global South Studies; and to Andrée Gerland and Claudia Peppel for their logistical assistance. The editors would also like to take the opportunity to thank the team at Routledge for their work bringing this volume into print: Russ WestPavlov and Makarand Paranjape (as Series Editors), Aakash Chakrabarty and Brinda Sen. Jo Ractliffe and the Stevenson Gallery have graciously given permission for us to reprint Ractliffe’s photograph ‘Mausóleo do Agostinho Neto’. AbdouMaliq Simone has allowed us to reprint his photograph ‘Popular market at Kali Baru’, and Rika Febriyani has permitted us to use her photograph, ‘Periphery of market at Kali Baru’. We thank Public Books for the permission to reproduce a section of Simon During’s chapter ‘The university, the novel form, literary life and the urban Global South’, which appeared in a slightly different form on their website on 8 June 2013 as ‘Calcutta’s Via Negativa’ (www.publicbooks. org/calcuttas-via-negativa/).

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1 INTRODUCTION Kerry Bystrom, Ashleigh Harris and Andrew J. Webber

He smiled and said: “You asking me the way?” —(Franz Kafka, ‘Give it Up!’ 1992, 456) You’re sure this is the right place? the taxi-driver asked —(Achmat Dangor, Kafka’s Curse, 2000, 24)

Cities are at once perhaps the most palpable forms of human civilization, and yet among the most elusive: structures of intersecting types of formality, but also of massive informality; bastions of achievement and status, but also locations of deep precarity; sites of multitudinous attachment, both internally and outwards to the world, but also of profound forms of detachment on both levels. Cities are overlaid and undergirded with sophisticated systems of orientation, but they are also the sorts of places in which we are most likely to get lost. While the increased globalization of the last decades, going hand-in-hand with the digital revolution and the mass movement of people and resources, has in certain senses rendered the cities of the world more open and interconnected, those developments have also served to entrench newly complicated forms of asymmetrical relationship in the distribution of economic, political, cultural and informational power (e.g. Sassen 2001, 2011). The great cities of today are at once hubs of transnational and transregional interaction and citadels of national and regional vested interest. And this, in turn, has led to a need for new forms of understanding and critique of the conditions of our world, not least as applied to cities as the nodes of global connectivity and disconnectivity. What those new forms of critical urban knowledge show is that contemporary conditions are both in certain ways unlike what has gone before, but in important respects also embedded in the more general conditioning 1

K . B ystrom , A . H arris and A .  J . W ebber

of urban modernity as the leading edge of a global order which, over the span of the modern period, has been subject to broad domination by the North and West. In view of this embeddedness, in considering the workings of orientation within and between contemporary cities of the Global South and the Global North, we could first take a step back in order to take our cue from three twentieth-century writers whose identities are generally placed in the cities of the North, or the West, but all of whom explore the tensions inherent in those cardinal directions in the exploratory spaces of their urban writings. It is perhaps only suitable for a volume which emerges from a symposium that took place in one of the great cities of the North – Berlin – to take its initial orientation in this way.1

North and South The first such writer would be Franz Kafka, the author who, for Deleuze and Guattari (1986), embodies the model of ‘minor literature’, writing from within a dominant culture, but also deterritorializing and disorienting it through minority perspectives. Kafka’s texts, and not least those preoccupied with urban settings, constantly explore what it means to have a minority identity within majoritarian conditions, to be a displaced person. His urban subjects are only ever afforded uncertain forms of what Henri Lefebvre (1996) has called the ‘right to the city’, which also means having right of way – and the capacity to find the right way – into, through, out of, and between cities.2 In one of his short, allegorically disposed texts, generally known as ‘Give it up!’, which was published posthumously in 1936, Kafka presents the predicament of a subject who finds themselves at a loss in an unnamed city. Seeking to reach the railway station in time for an assumed departure, they may be a visitor or a disoriented ‘indigenous’ inhabitant, or perhaps indeed a refugee, a displaced person. What is clear is that the loss of bearings renders them ‘minor’ as they make the classic Kafkan move of an attempted appeal to the law, a move much-reworked in literatures of both the South and the North.3 The subject is thrown by suddenly seeing a public clock which indicates that they are behind schedule, and seeking orientation from a traffic policeman, they receive the sort of guidance that exposes both the potentially abusive power and the grotesque impotence of the systems designed to regulate cities and the movement through and between them: He smiled and said: “You asking me the way?” “Yes,” I said, “since I can’t find it myself.”  “Give it up! Give it up,” said he, and turned with a sudden jerk, like someone who wants to be alone with his laughter. (Kafka 1992, 456) 2

INTRODUCTION

The lack of orientation in what we might take to be an early twentiethcentury Central European city with its apparently advanced forms of regulation is also a mark of Kafka’s explorations of the spaces beyond Western modernity, oriented East and South. His texts move from the enigmatic, dystopian brutality of the extraterritorial settlement of ‘In the Penal Colony’ (1919), via the impenetrable architectures of Imperial China in ‘The Great Wall of China’ (written 1917), where the capital city, Peking, along with the Emperor taken to be coextensive with it, remains an unreachable ‘center of the world’ (Kafka 1992, 244), to the para-urban terrain of ‘Jackals and Arabs’ (1917) for the European traveller displaced from the ‘far North’ (Kafka 1992, 409) into the South as a disorienting, nomadic arena for a primordial struggle for life between indigenous humans and animals. What is implicit in this last travel narrative is the importation of this form of radical, nomadic reorientation back into the North from which the traveller comes, and with it the unsettling, deterritorializing logic of what David Pinder (2011) calls the nomadic city.4 All of Kafka’s cities are nomadic in this sense, scenes of ‘uncertain definition, dimension and direction’, paradigmatic ‘places of displacement’ (Webber 2017). The second cue comes from perhaps the most influential figure in modern urban studies, Walter Benjamin. Benjamin, too, is most associated with cities of the North and West, and in particular the Paris of the Arcades Project as ‘capital of the nineteenth century’ (itself, of course, a construction of the Eurocentrism of that era) and his home city of Berlin. But, while he never set foot outside Europe, his creative documentary writings also explore cities that, if broadly European, are oriented towards the South and East: Naples, Marseilles and Moscow. To adopt and reroute the title of one of his key texts, for Benjamin the finding of direction and bearing in the urban environment is never a one-way street, but a complex and multi-orientational process of passage. The stylized addresses that make up the montage structure of One-Way Street (Einbahnstraße (1928)), which we might take to reference a European city on the model of Berlin,5 are recurrently also inhabited by scenes or visions travelling in from the nonWestern world. This is a key element in the process of ‘mingling and contamination’ and the displacement of ‘authenticity’ by ‘ambiguity’ that is the inherent condition of the city in Benjamin’s account (1979, 59). There is the orientalization of Western urban interiors (Benjamin 1979, 49) or the analogy between the textual form of the tract and Arabian buildings at the address ‘INTERIOR DECORATION’ (69); the access via the address marked ‘MEXICAN EMBASSY’ to an expedition in the Mexican jungle (51), the occupation of a square in Paris (‘the foremost Western cultural empire’ (70)) by an Egyptian obelisk; the transformation, at the address marked TOYS, of a Northern urban quarter into the harbour town of a 3

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South Sea island, its indigenous inhabitants revelling in the artefacts that ‘Europe tosses at their feet’ (84); or the sailors, drinking at the ‘STANDUP BEER-HALL’, whose home city is the open sea, where ‘on the Marseilles Cannebière, a Port Said bar stands diagonally opposite a Hamburg brothel’ (102). The kind of convoluted and fluid urban geography that is represented in the stylized succession of addresses in One-Way Street is compounded where Benjamin’s travel writing moves to Marseilles and other cities more directly opening up to and in communication with the South and East. Naples, in the account of 1925 he co-authored with Asja Lacis, is distinguished from other (implicitly Western) cities by the way in which the house as the cellular unit of ‘Nordic’ urban space (Benjamin 1979, 170) is displaced by more communal and porous structures of living (see also Chapter 5 in this volume). Private life is saturated by that of community in the manner of the African village, cast in the discourse of the colonialist North of the day: ‘To exist, for the North European the most private of affairs, is here, as in the kraal [the original reads “Hottentot kraal”], a collective matter’ (Benjamin 1979, 174).6 The fringe city, at the Southern edge of the North, is marked by hybridity in its socio-cultural practices and representations. Similarly, in a text of 1929, Marseilles, another port city and space of transaction with the South and East, is described as fed by ‘black and brown proletarian bodies’ as the boats come in (Benjamin 1979, 209). It is experienced in the text ‘Hashish in Marseilles’ (1932) through narcotic disorientation, which leads the itinerant writer through labyrinthine streets to dance halls from which Chinese figures emerge as doormen (Benjamin 1979, 221). And if these transitional harbour cities of the European South are co-inhabited by the Southern and Eastern other, in a text of 1927, the landlocked metropolis of Moscow is experienced as the dialectical other of the Western/Northern city. This is an urban environment that is at once strange and familiar for the travelling urbanist at large in it, effecting a sense of displacement when he returns to Berlin. Subject to the effects of Moscow’s topographic mockups, as the labyrinthine, para-European city ‘masks itself, flees, intrigues, lures’, the disoriented traveller can only imagine the practical solution of having ‘orientation films’ for foreigners screened in such great cities (Benjamin 1979, 179). The third cue is a familiar one for thinking global cities and the movements in and between them, but one that, as Andreas Huyssen (2008, 3) points out, ‘strikes a deep chord’ for any consideration of urban imaginaries, and is worth invoking once more here. It comes from an Italian writer, born expatriate in Cuba but named for the European origins to which he would return: Italo Calvino. His classic text of creative urbanology, Invisible Cities (1997), establishes an imaginary dialogue between another Chinese 4

INTRODUCTION

Emperor, Kublai Khan, and the Western explorer Marco Polo, called upon by the melancholic despot of the East to tell of the cities he can claim to have come to know around the globe. It is as if the travelogue narrator is projecting a set of ‘orientation films’, in Benjamin’s sense, but in forms that recurrently succumb to disorienting moves between reality and fantasy, between a sense of historical and geographical place and an anticipation of Marc Augé’s anthropology of supermodern non-places (1995).7 The cities, cast between ancient and modern times, between beguiling visualization and the invisibility of the title, are organized into a set of intersecting categories, either by epithet – Thin Cities, Trading Cities, Continuous Cities and Hidden Cities – or by emblematic coupling – Cities & Memory, Cities & Desire, Cities & Signs, Cities & Eyes, Cities & Names, Cities & the Dead and Cities & the Sky. The names of the cities in question (‘exotic’, personal names) place them in an orientation to the East or the South for the Venetian explorer, but the opening account tellingly fails to locate the place from which orientation is to be taken, as an anonymous ‘there’: ‘LEAVING THERE AND proceeding for three days toward the east, you reach Diomira, a city with sixty silver domes’ (Calvino 1997, 6). And the subsequent encounters also resist relational plotting of the ‘invisible cities’; cast between urban reality and confabulation, they give scant orientation for the movements between them and supply little workable sense of orientation within them. The invisible cities may merely be a set of variations on the home city of the explorer (Calvino 1997, 78), another port city, pivoted between West and East, South and North. Or they may be a set of constructions of otherness in the form of cities, with Venice just the recurrent point of departure. Above all, Calvino’s text reminds us that urban experience is never fixed and singular, but mobile and serial. Even as they exert powerful visual effects, claims to attachment and direction, the structures of life of the world’s cities, South and North, East and West, remain in important senses inscrutable, detached and perplexed in their orientation. The three exemplary figures of urban imagination and conceptualization that have led us into this Introduction can also serve to exhibit the kind of orientational template that has dominated the cultural production of modernity, and not least its thinking about cities. Even as Kafka, Benjamin and Calvino critically unsettle the cities of the North and West through transactions of cultural imagination with the South and East, they remain domiciled in the space of the former. The measurements and directions of global culture have standardly and too often been taken from the North/ West. As the contemporary Egyptian writer and activist, Nawal El Saadawi, puts it, terms of global mapping like the ‘Middle East’ are to be resisted, measured as they are from the cardinal points of Western colonialism (‘Middle to whom?’, she says, before flipping London into the territory of 5

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the ‘Middle West’ as plotted back from Cairo).8 It is in this spirit that this collection of essays on contemporary global orientations of urban experience, while alert to the intersections and transactions between cities of the Global South and Global North and their representations, seeks to suspend and disorient the hierarchical assumptions that inhere in ‘North and South’ thinking.

South and North The imperative to use the South, rather than the North, as an entry point into global knowledge production has been articulated forcefully by Jean and John Comaroff in their volume Theory from the South (2011). To frame this project, they note that Western enlightenment thought has, from the first, posited itself as the wellspring of universal learning . . . concomitantly, it has regarded the non-West – variously known as the ancient world, the orient, the primitive, the third world, the underdeveloped world, the developing world and now the global south – primarily as a place of parochial wisdom, antiquarian traditions, of exotic ways and means. Above all, of unprocessed data. . . . In some measure, this continues to be the case. But what if . . . we invert the order of things? What if we subvert the epistemic scaffolding on which it is erected? What if we posit that, in the present moment, it is the global south that affords privileged insight into the workings of the world at large?’ (2011, 1) This provocative set of questions aims to ‘provincialize’ EuroAmerica (to trope on Dipesh Chakrabarty (2000)) and to enable theoretically the shift in global mapping El Saadawi enacts when she poses London as the ‘Middle West’. Attempting to trouble ingrained habits (above all in the Northern academy) of seeing political and cultural vectors as moving in one direction from North to South is of course by no means a project unique to Theory from the South; among and adjacent to the scholars that Comaroff and Comaroff explicitly build on is a range of urban theorists who have already reversed this polarity to chart the impacts of the South on the North, in addition to working laterally within the South itself. Theorists like Koolhaas and Cleijne (2001), Belanger and Koolhaas (2000) and Mike Davis (2000, 2006) have observed that, while the city of the South has conventionally represented the arrival of Northern modernity in traditional societies, the 6

INTRODUCTION

unbridled, naked capitalism that operates brutally in the South is now also re-inventing Northern metropolises; with Koolhaas going so far as to see Lagos as the ‘paradigm for [the] future of all cities’ (Koolhaas and Cleijne 2001, 652–3). In such views, the impacts of neo-liberal globalization have boomeranged back from the South – where neoliberalism came into its own – to the North, precipitating a series of convergences of global urban life. This happens, we might add, even as Southern migrants reinvent cities of the North in other ways not reducible to the workings of capital. Michel de Certeau is regularly cited for his meditation on the practice of everyday life in the Northern city. But his work is less often used to chart the ways in which the South can become embedded in and reconfigure the North; this, despite the fact that de Certeau draws attention to precisely this dynamic. He writes: a North African living in Paris or Roubaix (France) insinuates into the system imposed on him by the construction of a lowincome housing development or of the French language the ways of ‘dwelling’ (in a house or a language) peculiar to his native Kabylia. He superimposes them and, by that combination, creates for himself a space in which he can find ways of using the constraining order of the place or of the language. Without leaving the place where he has no choice but to live and which lays down the law for him, he establishes within it a degree of plurality and creativity. By an art of being in between, he draws unexpected results from his situation. (de Certeau 1984, 30) For de Certeau, the North African’s orientation within the European city is contingent on numerous, intersecting factors (economics, migration, language – to which we should add race, gender, sexuality and many others). These become the coordinates of the North African immigrant’s Paris and while we might surmise that he has been oriented North as part of the global flows of the market economy, he is also a nodal point around which Paris is reoriented. In Cosmopolitan Style: Modernism Beyond the Nation, Rebecca Walkowitz uses the same paragraph from The Practices of Everyday Life to illustrate the ‘small degrees of resistance’ (Walkowitz 134) that open up in the interstices between the residual structures and modes of urban space and the individual’s habitation of that space. Walkowitz’s recognition of the political potential of everyday reorientations of city spaces is shared by urban theorists of the Global South, focused not on Southern migrants to the North, but in the South itself. Discussing African cities, AbdouMaliq 7

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Simone, for example, states that despite the fact that for many ‘urban residents, life is reduced to a state of emergency, . . . emergency describes a process of things in the making, of the emergence of new thinking and practice’ (Simone 2004, 4). The emergence of new ways of thinking and living urban spaces in the Global South has prompted scholars to search for more precise methods for reading, interpreting and understanding these everyday registers of life in the cities of the Global South than those offered by Northern urban theory. A pertinent example is Ato Quayson’s Oxford Street: Accra, which applies the literary methodology of close reading to a single street in Accra. In this version of urban theory, Quayson comes to describe the specific ‘styles of being’ demanded by life in African cities. Unlike the flâneur,9 the key urban agent of Benjamin’s Paris, whose meanderings de Certeau called an ‘operational schema’ for the writing of modern Europe, the African street dweller’s ‘ways of operating’ (de Certeau, 30) are conditioned by very different urban experiences. Instead of the flâneur, then, Quayson considers the Ghanaian ‘street-lounger’, known as kòbòlò, who ‘is defined primarily as a good-for-nothing street lounger’, a figure that resonates with hustler figures in other African cities, such as Lagos’s ‘area boys’ and Dakar’s fakhman (Quayson 2014, 199). He says of Accra’s kòbòlò, that it would be a cardinal error to romanticize [his] attachment to street life: he is no flâneur or one for solitude. His wanderings are driven by the desire towards self-improvements, and his engagement with the urban is a conduit for augmenting the skills required to “make it” or die trying. (Quayson 2014, 202) Not one for melancholic or poetic wandering, the street hustler operates in a far more urgent temporality, one that relies ‘upon anticipating and speculating on chronic market volatility as well as life’s chances’ – what Kristin Peterson calls ‘derivative life’ (2014, 22). The movements of the street hustler then are performed via a very different style-of-being to those of the European flâneur, and unlike the stroll of the flâneur, which is a whimsical and playful inhabiting of the city, the ‘entrepreneurial actors within the African informal economy switch roles in a progressively upward spiral so as to transcend meniality and move into roles that entail participation in ever vaster and complex networks’ (Quayson 2014, 245). Thus, hustling implies social aspiration at the same time as it requires an ability to improvise, to perpetually re-orient oneself productively in relation to urban space. Quayson notes that this ‘necessity of recycling or reinvention of the self . . . is an inescapable product of the informal 8

INTRODUCTION

economy.’ (2014, 245). And it is in this observation that the styles-ofbeing of the African street suddenly take on global significance. We could indeed find versions of Quayson’s street boys (and girls) in the informal economies of other cities of the South (as seen in the films City of God (Meirelles/Lund, 2002) and From Afar (Vigas 2015), set in Rio de Janeiro and Caracas, respectively) or in the migrant counter-economies of cities of the North (as in two recent films set in Paris, Eastern Boys (Campillo (2013)) or Girlhood (Sciamma 2015)). Quayson critiques Koolhaas and the Comaroffs for what he sees as their ‘romanticism regarding the inventiveness of African urban dwellers’ (2014, 240). More problematic, we might add, is that while there is a certain economic logic to the Comaroffs’ claim that ‘in the history of the present, the Global South is running ahead of the Global North’ (2013, 126), the simple inversion of North to South directionality that can sometimes seem mandated by their writing is equally restrictive.10 If one is not careful, this kind of move enables a binary mode of thinking that, as Agata Lisiak notes in her contribution to this volume, ‘has been duly criticized as lacking in both analytical and descriptive qualities’. Rather than reifying South or North as geographical, economic or cultural locations, there is a need for more precise and flexible ways of accounting for relations within and between them – never mind within and between the Occident and Orient, East and West, and First, Second and Third Worlds that the terms ‘Global South’ and ‘North’ bear in their intellectual genealogy. ‘Thinking from the South’ – as a more precise interpretation of Comaroff and Comaroff (2011) suggests, and certainly as the authors of the present volume understand the term – means something beyond reversing a polarity or hierarchy. It must involve dwelling on and in the complexity of Southern urbanity, attending to enfolded historical experiences and conversations across regions designated by all four cardinal points as well as to differences and disjunctures; to co-existing and conflicting forms of global embeddedness and local particularity; to ways of moving in multiple directions at once; indeed to the very feeling of disorientation that occurs when things suddenly no longer go in the expected direction or move in too many directions to count.

Orientation(s) and disorientation To state the point differently: de Certeau’s example of the North African in Paris draws attention to the inventiveness demanded of the migrant by their linguistic, ethnic, national, economic and other, positioning. What strikes us most here is the extent to which it is the volatility of living at the whims of the informal economy, irrespective of where one lives, that 9

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demands the ‘degree of plurality and creativity’ that de Certeau describes. The experience of homelessness, of Simone’s life in a ‘state of emergency’, might resonate across cities as diverse as Paris and Accra, Jakarta and Stockholm, whereas a street child and a corporate lawyer, a student and a fruit seller, a beggar and a builder, passing one another on the streets of Cape Town inhabit irreconcilable dimensions of the city’s spatial, economic and psychological geography.11 Yet, while certain sectors of cities of the Global South might orient themselves towards, or according to, cities of the North, these spaces are also different to their Northern counterparts. We need a model that attends to both the intersections between these cities and their historical, economic, infrastructural and social differences. This volume aims to contribute to such a multi-scalar model by attending to two senses of the term ‘orientation’: that is, as a spatial metric and as a marker of disposition and attitude. As a concept, orientation is bound up with geography, with knowing one’s place, and with the ability to forge a path from one place to another through a canny navigation of the compass. North, South, East and West provide fixed terms that enable movement, allowing for new trajectories across space within a knowable grid. Orienting oneself, or orienteering, becomes a skill, and it is one that opens up access to new areas of the globe. And yet, as Sara Ahmed has noted in her important queer phenomenological theorization of orientations, a sense of orientation that allows us to ‘find our way in a world that acquires new shapes, depending on which way we turn’ (2006, 1) can for many reasons flip into disorientation, into people being lost, blocked, unable to move. Orientation is also a cognitive and affective state, a position in relation to or a ‘sense’ of – a disposition ‘toward’ or ‘around’ – not only abstract geographic coordinates, but also places, things, ideas and bodies (Ahmed 2006, 90–1, 115–16). We commonly speak of sexual orientation, political orientation, orientations towards past events and the future. Such dispositions or attitudes can signal understanding and affinity, but also justify myopia and exclusion; in this sense, they can also result in disorientation, confusion and paralysis. The present volume shifts Ahmed’s (2006) focus on individual embodied experience and how it intersects with objects and others at collective levels, creating the texture of social space from the family to the nation, to the particular scale of the city. It seeks to think about how people orient themselves within urban spaces that are multi-dimensional, layered and present often contradictory surfaces and interiors. Urban orientations can be about people’s sense of belonging in their local communities, their desires to leave, their cognitive maps of possibility and the directions in which these point, their senses of being ‘stuck’ (Ahmed 2004, 2006) in and to certain places, and of reaching across space and time towards other 10

INTRODUCTION

worlds. They can be about knowing one’s city (the city in which one is) or being lost within it, about the process of movement to other urban zones or the experience of stasis, about the models one chooses for life and the places, ideas, events and people that exert a magnetic pull on one. Larger collectives in urban space and cities themselves also have orientations, towards certain populations, towards other cities or geographical markers, and towards history, which makes habitation easier for some than others, even as trajectories of migration and forms of globalization scramble senses of belonging. The desire for a city to become more (or less) ‘Northern’, ‘Southern’, ‘Western’, ‘Eastern’ or ‘global’ has played a key role in the decision-making process of politicians and bureaucrats in charge of urban areas, for instance, and such orientations are visible in the policies of inclusion and exclusion and the forms of infrastructure on which cities are built. In fleshing out and reflecting on a series of such orientations within or generated by or in response to the South, broadly conceived, our contributors tend to emphasize unconventionality and lack of linearity in the trajectories of urban lives and city spaces, their swings in new directions, from South to North as well as South–South, South–East, East–West etc. Reflecting the multi-directionality that characterizes urban life, the visions and theorizations they offer point to contradictions as much as convergences. They bring into focus both what separates South and North, whether through tracing imperial histories that reinvent themselves in the present or attending to practical forms of what Simone (in this volume) calls ‘detachment’, and the forces of convergence and forms of what Sarah Nuttall (2009) terms ‘entanglement’ that make dividing the world into geographical, cultural or economic regions a quixotic struggle. ‘Entanglement’, Nuttall writes, is a condition of being twisted together or entwined, involved with; it speaks of an intimacy gained, even if it was resisted, or ignored or uninvited. It is a term which may gesture towards a set of social relationships that is complicated, ensnaring, in a tangle, but which also implies a human foldedness. (2009, 1) While some of the contributions here take up the normative challenge posed by the Comaroffs to rewrite urban studies from the South to the North, others rather grapple with disorientation: the unstable, shifting ground that opens up when vantage points are challenged, geographical certainty fails and something new perhaps opens. As Ahmed notes, it is in such moments of disorientation – of order being disturbed, of things becoming ‘queer’ – that ‘we might learn what it is to be orientated in the first place’ (2006, 11

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6). While this volume does not focus on the queer as such, its concern with subjects who unsettle and thereby expose the normative orientations of relations within and between cities of the South and North, places it in intersectional proximity to Ahmed’s project.

Detachment, convergence, entanglement We have already observed that, as a result of neoliberal globalization and the movements of people it compels, the cities of the South and the cities of the North are in certain ways converging; and this prompts a set of questions. What forms does this convergence take? What divergences does it presuppose? What fallacies does an overinvestment in convergence contain? What forms of agency does it enable or disqualify? What regimes of knowledge production does it entail? What aesthetics, ethics and politics might it engender? What happens when we consider the South, rather the North, as the originator for this convergence – or when we loosen or undo these directional markers altogether? Looking across performances of political rhetoric in public space, literature, film, television broadcasts and other forms of media that constitute shared social imaginaries of urban life, the chapters in this volume explore these questions by tracing trajectories that traverse and join, but also divide and delimit the cities of the South and the North. They interrogate the modes of production that make the fabric of urban spaces and the lives of their inhabitants, and rethinking the practices that engender ‘cityness’ (Simone) in diverse but increasingly interlinked conglomerations. They come together in an emphasis on the concept of orientation, and in the work of re-orienting – in multiple senses of this term – the study of contemporary urban life. They are arranged to create a loose arc moving from South to North, though within this trajectory, in line with the project of this volume, they also suggest that even this kind of reversed directional plotting can only be a first step towards making sense of changing global coordinates. AbdouMaliq Simone’s opening chapter, ‘Detachment Down South: on salvage operations and city-making’, delivers a clear challenge to the direction of much of contemporary urban studies. In a kind of a ‘thought experiment’, he asks us to imaginatively disentangle urban zones from the seemingly inextricable rule of neoliberal capitalism in its relentless drive towards convergence, to draw things into relation on its own terms. Simone offers ‘detachment’ as a strategy of reading the urban that is not about denying the imbrications of people, spaces, infrastructures, technologies and economies, but rather about remaining open to alternative orientations and practices generated from within Southern city life that 12

INTRODUCTION

can serve as resources for constructing other kinds of politics. The chapter looks specifically at the way people occupy affordable housing blocks in Jakarta, Indonesia, as well as at the persistent operation of this city’s massive Kali Baru market, to show concretely how the daily use of diverse city spaces resists cooptation into a predetermined market logic. They rather open in unexpected directions – enabling neighbourhoods in Jakarta to remain specific ‘somewheres’ rather than becoming the homogenized ‘everywhere’ of capital. The work of neoliberal capital not only tends to homogenize space, but also consistently turns human into things. In his chapter ‘The agency of materials and the future of politics in the shanty-town of the Global South’, Russell West-Pavlov models another kind of ‘detachment’ to show how urban practices from the South can provide resources to break down the division of human from nature. His innovative reading brings together a rich and eclectic set of representations of African slums or ‘townships’, including works about South Africa like Neill Blomkamp’s futuristic film District 9, Craig Fraser’s coffee-table art book Shack Chic, and poetry by Sandile Dikeni, as well as the Kenyan novel Going Down River Road by Meja Mwangi, to show how things such as mud, cardboard, corrugated iron and paint – those materials with which African urban shanty-towns are made – act with humans in a process of ‘life-sustaining recycling and transformation’. As they do so, he argues, they reveal temporal orientations that displace the trajectories of a failed (or future) transition to modernity so often foisted on the South, and which, in the face of rapid climate change, may assist in reconceiving urban politics on the planetary scale. Kerry Bystrom’s chapter, ‘Ideological disorientation and urban struggle in postwar Luanda: notes on Neto’s Mausoleum’, also addresses objects or materials used to create urban landscapes and explores their transtemporal power, while explicitly bringing into discussion the legacies of the East/West Cold War ordering that complicates current visions of Global North and Global South. In 2002, Angola’s long-standing anti-colonialturned-civil war ended and the governing MPLA – originally a Marxist party aligned with Cuba and the Soviet Union – began a massive reconstruction project that largely benefits a new petrocapitalist elite. Bystrom explores two works dating from roughly five years after the end of the war, when Luandans struggled to find their bearing amidst a wave of forced evictions enacted by the MPLA in the name of this reconstruction: South African photographer Jo Ractliffe’s exhibition Terrenos Ocupados (2007) and Angolan novelist Ondjaki’s Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret (2008; English trans. 2014). Analyzing the representation in these works of Agostinho Neto’s Mausoleum, Bystrom points to the lasting weight of what Stoler (2013) has called ‘imperial debris’ – reconfigured as Cold War 13

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debris – in shaping urban futures, while also highlighting the possibilities for its imaginative repurposing as a link to the ideals (if not realities) of socialist internationalism. The question – or the threat – of development, urban renewal or gentrification as it plays out in Southern locales serve as substrata in the analyses of Simone and West-Pavlov, and come to the fore in Bystrom’s contribution. The following two chapters then bring this topic to the centre of attention, looking at processes of gentrification in Brazil and India and alternately from the point of view of the displaced and the new global elite pushing and benefitting from this trend. Kleber Mendonça’s ‘Gentrification in Rio: multiple trajectories and narratives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas after “pacification policies” ’ explores the impacts of ‘improvements’ such as increased policing and drug enforcement undertaken by the city of Rio in advance of the 2014 soccer World Cup in historical slum areas known as favelas, and the story about urban space spun around such undertakings. Looking at the coverage of favela space in television broadcasts on TV Globo’s RJTV between 2010 and 2014, Mendonça suggests that, as part of a shared press and government project to make Rio into a ‘Global City’, mainstream news privileged the voices of middle-class Brazilian or Northern tourists while silencing favela dwellers or pressing them into narratives about the rightness of ‘revitalization’. Not coincidentally, given the collusion of the mainstream media and state power, it further underplayed police collusion in the very kinds of violence ‘pacification’ was supposed to combat. Mendonça ultimately charts an attack on the ‘porosity’ of Southern urban life (as theorized by Benjamin; see above) that he sees as crucial to allowing communities to find their own solutions to ‘legacies of neglect and histories of underdevelopment’. Pamila Gupta’s ‘Village Delhi’ focuses on upwardly mobile individuals from South Asia who moved in the first decade and a half of the 2000s from cities in India, particularly Delhi, to the countryside in Goa and who have recreated semi-urban lives there. They thus create a counter-migration to the movement from country to city that comprised the experience of previous generations (often within their own families) and which remains the standard narrative of modern urbanization. Moving between ethnographic interviews and readings of poetry, fiction and non-fiction about Goa, Gupta traces forms of convergence between South Asians and Northern/ Western tourists creating a hybrid form of ‘urban rural living’ that brings access to consumer goods and services while being shot through with the romance of historical village lifestyles and Portuguese colonialism. Yet she also shows how this creates polarizations within the more long-standing Goan inhabitants, creating opportunities for some while, in other cases, 14

INTRODUCTION

hardening divisions between insiders and outsiders and releasing feelings of loss and fears of a renewed invasion. Another consideration of how elites navigate and imaginatively reshape Southern urbanity can be found in Simon During’s contribution, titled ‘The university, the novel form, literary life and the urban Global South’. This chapter engages with questions of knowledge production from and about the South via the triangular relationship between the global university system, the global novel and the cities of the South, where so many of the most dynamic global novels of the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries emerged. Focusing on texts about Mexico City (Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives) and Kolkata (Amit Chaudhuri’s Calcutta and The Immortals), During traces the rise of an urban fictional aesthetic forged in dialogue with what he terms ‘literary humanities’ in the global academy and centred on the refusal of interiority, moralism or politics in favour of exteriors, adventure, drift and contingency. It is an aesthetic that detaches the literary from politics to trace flows of everyday life. The novels During considers and their writers – while distinct in many ways – come together in their abandonment of previous tropes of the city including its coding as a ‘negative sublime’, a ‘passage for creativity and progress’ or as a ‘machine of modernization’ to create an imaginary of the city as space constituted by possibilities for global transport, ‘always already transnational flight paths’. Urban life here opens in all directions and is constituted in and through the canny deployment of mobile networks which are the source of literature and which enable this literature to travel. Exploring the concrete networks and infrastructures that connect Southern cities to the rest of the world is a crucial aspect of parsing the new urban orientations of our subtitle. If the transnational provenance and itinerary of ‘world literature’ and world authors offered by During provide one case study, Geoffrey Kantaris provides another (and darker) vision in relation to the Southern Californian ‘megapolitan area’ criss-crossing the US and Mexican border, developing since the mid-1960s and fueled, in the 1990s, by free trade agreements. His chapter ‘Terminal city: immaterial migrations, virtual detachments and the North–South divide (Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, 2008)’ uses Rivera’s techno-noir film as a basis for theorizing ‘tachment’: something that pertains to a body but can also be seized from it, a simultaneous attachment to our networks and detachment from our locations, identities and even bodies. Specifically, he poses the web of extending violence in the film, which ties together remote labour and remote warfare across locations including a water reservoir in Oaxaca, the shacklands of Tijuana and a construction-site San Diego. These locations converge as a prophetic vision of the future of neoliberal globalization, showing how even as people become walled within national borders, their affective or 15

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immaterial labour is extracted for circulation in ‘biosocial’ networks built on state and corporate power. The result is a ‘layered spatiality’ extending across the globe where humans stuck in Southern locations are nonetheless pulled into an unfolding global order almost too massive to comprehend. While the resulting disorientation may generate useful forms of resistance, Kantaris notes, it also may not; it is by no means clear that there is an outside to the web we have created. Both During and Kantaris project bridges from South to North, looking at how different kinds of people might cross this mobile, tenuous and sometimes even immaterial border. The remaining chapters are located geographically on the other side of this divide and investigate the ways in which Southern migrants navigate the space of the North, as well as the urban orientations generated in response to them. As they detail the impacts of the South on the North, they also speak to the difficulty of maintaining such geographic divisions without much greater differentiation and contextualization in our situation of planetary entanglement. In particular, the South/North paradigm for urban orientation is shown to be imbricated in complex ways with that of East/West. Jennifer Wawrzinek’s chapter, titled ‘Postcolonial dandies and the death of the flâneur’, enacts a critical reappraisal of Teju Cole’s celebrated novel Open City (2014), a text that charts the footsteps and meandering memories of an elite Nigerian immigrant to New York. Wawrzinek suggests that Cole’s creation of a black postcolonial flâneur offers the possibility of reconstellating the Northern city to reveal its repressed histories of violence and create networks across time and space through which oppressed black voices can be animated. While similar directions are taken by other Nigerian artists like Shonibare and, as noted above, the figure of the flâneur has been reappropriated by Ato Quayson, Wawrzinek shows the constellations actually highlighted in Cole’s text to be quite other. The novel becomes an extreme example of the literary aesthetic described by During in this volume, as its protagonist Julius links himself to the world of commodity capitalism and high culture in which literature becomes a mere exchange of citations. This version of the flâneur is one detached from politics, history and human connection, and the ‘open city’ that results leaves Julius enclosed within himself even as it brings the novel into global circulation through the literary marketplace. Mireille Rosello also probes the relative ‘openness’ of Northern cities in her chapter ‘Globalized Parisian spaces: disability and mobility in The Untouchables (2011)’. She shows sites and processes of exclusion as well as how cities can be remapped in ways that reach beyond stereotypes about North and South – and how popular cultural texts can support both tendencies, sometimes at once. Continuing the analysis of how people 16

INTRODUCTION

navigate through city space seen, for instance, in Wawrzinek’s chapter, Rosello reads The Untouchables as a story of the ‘discrepant mobilities’ of a paralyzed upper-class and white French man, Philippe, and the young Senegalese man, Driss, who comes to work as his carer. Each is in different ways both disabled and enabled by their histories, racialized bodies, and class positions. The ‘intersectional map’ of the city that results from their interactions reveals the repetitive logic of the colonial order which recreates a Paris of the South within the Paris of the North – banishing Driss to the banlieue – and documents the deep structural inequality witnessed there. Yet at the same time, Rosello argues, the film undercuts the North–South binary as a stereotypical and hegemonic way of imagining the world, and offers possible detours and re-routings as lines of escape from different forms of paralysis induced by inequality. Agata Lisiak’s chapter ‘A sense of disorder: orientation and migration in the “new” West’ further challenges that North–South binary by drawing attention back to the East–West divide first raised in this volume by Bystrom, and unpacking its implications for understandings of the North/ West. Lisiak focuses attention on literary and cultural representations of post-socialist Polish urban space, as well as the experiences of migrants when they move from Poland to Germany and the United Kingdom. Lisiak shows how disorder and messiness came to characterize perceptions of Polish cities after the fall of Communism, with the ‘West’ conversely serving a fantasy of orderliness connected to upper middle-class lifestyles and the ‘civilized’ standards associated with Global North. Migrants within the enlarged EU – or what she calls the ‘new West’ – often experience a disorientation of such beliefs when they make from Eastern Europe to Western Europe and are forced to renegotiate their attitudes to their birth countries and their host societies. The result is a much more complex and differentiated meaning of what a tag like ‘West’ might mean, with potential benefits and also dangers. One way Polish migrants manage to re-orient themselves with the ‘West’, as Lisiak details, is by naming other ethnicized or racialized migrant groups as the agents of disorder. Christine Hentschel’s chapter ‘Dark truths in East German towns in times of Islamophobia’ follows directly on from Lisiak’s observations, though it stages lines of division between ‘East’ and ‘West’ within a now ‘unified’ Germany. Playing on the association of the former East Germany as ‘Dark Germany’ for the former West, Hentschel reads the street performances of the leaders and supporters of PEGIDA (European Patriots against the Islamization of the Occident) in small-to-medium sized cities such as Dresden as modes of ‘affective presencing’ that attempt to undo stereotypes of the East and break taboos linked with Western (liberal) dominance. She traces how populist speakers develop dense urban orientations 17

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towards outsiders staked around their own mode of ‘truth’ production that mixes references to figures such as Martin Luther and Adolf Hitler in collective events where they draw on street signs, memorials and markers as something like props for their appeals. Such public performances, aimed at protecting what PEGIDA supporters see as the ‘true’ Germans against threats to their culture coming both from the Federal Government and migrants from the Islamic world, complicate what ‘East’, ‘West’ or ‘North’ might mean even as they reiterate a racialized and culturalist conception of the ‘South’. The final chapter in this volume asks us to rethink the city itself as the destination point of migration and modernization trajectories and reveals North, South, East and West to be woven together in painful configurations of power that echo across time. In ‘Entanglements and dispersals: occidental power and the vicissitudes of displacement’, Sudeep Dasgupta explores political rhetoric and literary fiction surrounding the current socalled refugee crisis in Europe. He first considers the case of the Angolan asylum-seeker Manuel Mauro who spent nine years in the Southern Dutch village of Budel (province of Limburg) before being threatened with deportation. Dasgupta’s reading of this case shows how migrant experiences in, and on the way to, ‘global cities’ in the Netherlands unsettle the theories of policy makers such as those responsible to The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration about integration and segregation, even as they also reaffirm the importance of ‘Western’ acculturation seemingly best accomplished not in the city, but in the village. To raise questions about the standard of ‘sufficient Westernization’ as a model for legitimation of claims to residence, Dasgupta then turns to a reading of Italian novelist Margaret Mazzantini’s Morning Sea (Mare al mattino (2011; English trans. 2016)), which undoes the supposed benefits of ‘Westernization’ by tracing histories of colonial domination in Libya and the impacts on individual bodies of moving the borders of migration enforcement into the Saharan desert or the Mediterranean Sea. Dasgupta ultimately poses the city as a relational space emerging from entanglements and dispersals between displaced bodies. As we have noted, the chapters collected here begin from a thought experiment in ‘detachment’ that focuses attention on what it means – from the Southern perspective of Jakarta – to be both materially and theoretically locked into a relationship with Northern capitalism and how one might escape from the kinds of considerations ensuing from this perspective, and thus being blinded to distinctive and creative forms of city-making. The volume then explores a sequence of experiences of urban life in Southern locations such as Johannesburg, Luanda, Rio de Janeiro and Goa. These reveal a number of dynamics that may define a kind of shared Southern urbanity, but are themselves – and notwithstanding attempts at detachment – fundamentally 18

INTRODUCTION

entangled. Following this are chapters that specifically theorize or track literal intersections across the putative North–South divide, whether these be transport hubs, the circulation of world literature, or work contracts stretching across the US and Mexican border. The volume finally turns to cities located in the North such as Paris, Dresden and New York to explore the impact of migration, including the so-called refugee crisis, and forms of capital expansion coming from the South, on daily life, politics and identities in Europe and beyond – and ultimately suggest a need to attend to the dialectic of entanglement and division. Running throughout the engagements with contemporary urban life here, and viewed from these different locations and angles, is a set of common questions. How are cities across the globe being linked within the convergences created by global capital and the other entanglements that must be mapped, and what do such intersections mean for cities and their inhabitants? Which forms and directions of mobility are allowed, and which ones blocked? Recalling the policeman of Kafka’s ‘Give It Up’, what kind of orientation is provided by the law, in particular for subjects living in illegality or on its borders? How do migrants navigate their changing geographies, and what does their orienteering do to the conceptions of North, South, East or West that might have inspired movement in the first place? What counter-mobilizations occur as people fight to maintain more traditional visions of community? What does it mean to be a ‘global city’ today? Further, to the extent that we need to push against a focus on convergence, are there aspects of urban life in the ‘South’ that need to be understood separately from the relentless process of neoliberal globalization we are confronting, and what may they be? And do specific Southern urban practices point to other modes of being urban, being together, new orientations towards the planetary that we can draw on even as entanglement becomes ever more apparent? In pursuing these questions, the volume’s chapters add to a growing body of postcolonial and urban scholarship aimed at disturbing reigning narratives about what was taken by earlier generations of (Northern) scholars to be the fundamental directionality of contemporary urban life: towards progress, towards modernity, as what has historically been considered the ‘North’. They help us ask ourselves, like the taxi driver in South African novelist Achmat Dangor’s Kafka’s Curse, ‘You’re sure this is the right place?’ (2000, 24). Of course, embracing the disorientation that results from asking such questions, while crucial, is not enough. To come back to Sara Ahmed, ‘[t]he point is what we do with such moments of disorientation, as well as what such moments can do – whether they can offer us the hope of new directions, and whether new directions are reason enough for hope’ (2006, 158). 19

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Notes 1 The symposium, ‘Cities of the South, Cities of the North’, took place at the Institute for Cultural Inquiry (ICI), Berlin, on 14 December 2015. 2 For a reading of the displacements and exclusions enacted in Kafka’s accounts of his dreams of Berlin, see Webber (2008, 6–10). 3 In his Elizabeth Costello (2003), for example, J. M. Coetzee transposes the Kafkan scenario of being ‘before the Law’ to an unnamed city of the South, with the eponymous author being denied entry at the city gates until she can give acceptable justification of herself. 4 ‘Jackals and Arabs’ has been read as representing the conditions of early twentieth-century Prague and its different ethnic populations, though always with uncertain, or nomadic, attributions (see Spector 2000, 191–2). 5 The cover photograph for the original publication, a photo-montage by Sasha Stone, certainly appears to represent a Berlin street. Its multiple, red ‘Einbahnstraße’ signs pointing in a transversal direction, as if indicating that readers will have to orient themselves obliquely, against the linear flow of the ‘one-way street’ (see also Webber 2008, 54). 6 In Benjamin’s day, African villages were routinely transplanted as ethnographic spectacle for fairgrounds and global exhibitions into such cities of the North as Paris, Berlin, Vienna and Hamburg. Kafka’s story ‘A Report to an Academy’, with its Hamburg setting, seems to reference such practices, as argued by Jens Hanssen (2012, 182) in his reading of the critique of colonialist politics conducted by this and other Kafka texts with extraEuropean focus, in particular ‘Jackals and Arabs’. 7 Thus, Marco Polo becomes an international air-passenger, and – arriving at the airport of the ‘continuous city’ of Trude – realizes that ‘The world is covered by a sole Trude which does not end and does not begin. Only the name of the airport changes’ (Calvino 1997, 116). It is perhaps not arbitrary that this global city as non-place bears a Nordic name, at odds with the other Eastern and Southern city names of Calvino’s text. 8 In interview with Margaret Busby at the Royal African Society’s ‘Africa Writes’ event (El Saadawi 2016). 9 See Jennifer Wawrzinek in this volume for a more sustained discussion of this matter. 10 Comaroff and Comaroff are interested in more than the binary, of course. They ultimately call for ‘mov[ing] beyond the north-south binary, to lay bare the dialectical processes that have produced and sustain it’ (2011, 1). 11 Saskia Sassen (2014) makes a similar observation about the worldwide, ‘savage sorting’ produced by the globalization of capital.

References Ahmed, Sara. 2004. The Cultural Politics of Emotion. New York: Routledge. ———. 2006. Queer Phenomenology: Orientations, Objects, Others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Augé, Marc. 1995. Non-Places: Introduction to an Anthropology of Supermodernity. Translated by John Howe. London: Verso.

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Belanger, Pierre, Rem Koolhaas, et al. 2000. Lagos Handbook, or a Brief Description of What May be the Most Radical Urban Condition on the Planet. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Cities Project. Benjamin, Walter. 1979. One-Way Street and Other Writings. Translated by Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter. London: NLB. Calvino, Italo. 1997. Invisible Cities. Translated by William Weaver. London: Vintage Books. Chakrabarty, Dipesh. 2000. Provincializing Europe. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Comaroff, John and Jean L. Comaroff. 2011. Theory From the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving Toward Africa. Boulder: Paradigm Press. Dangor, Achmat. 2000. Kafka’s Curse. New York: Vintage. Davis, Mike. 2000. Magical Urbanism: Latinos Reinvent the U.S. City. London: Verso. ———. 2006. Planet of Slums. London: Verso. De Certeau, Michel. 1984. Practices of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1986. Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature. Translated by Dana Polan. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press. El Saadawi, Nawal. 2016. Interview with Margaret Busby (www.bbc.co.uk/ iplayer/episode/b08g7hr8/imagine-winter-2017-1-she-spoke-theunspeakable (accessed 22 February 2017)). Hanssen, Jens. 2012. ‘Kafka and Arabs’. Critical Inquiry 39 (Autumn 2012): 167–97. Huyssen, Andreas. 2008. Other Cities, Other Worlds: Urban Imaginaries in a Globalizing Age. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Kafka, Franz. 1992. The Complete Short Stories of Franz Kafka. Edited by Nathum N. Glatzer. London: Minerva. Koolhaas, Rem and Edgar Cleijne. 2001. ‘Lagos’. In Rem Koolhaas (et al.), Harvard Project on the City. Barcelona: ACTAR. Lefebvre, Henri. 1996. ‘The Right to the City’. In Writings on Cities, edited and translated by Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas, 147–59. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Nuttall, Sarah. 2009. Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Postapartheid. Johannesburg: Wits University Press. Peterson, Kristin. 2014. Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Pinder, David. 2011. ‘Nomadic Cities’. In The New Blackwell Companion to the City, edited by Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson, 221–34. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. Quayson, Ato. 2014. Oxford Street, Accra: City Life and the Itineraries of Transnationalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Sassen, Saskia. 2001. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. 2nd edn. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

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———. 2011. ‘Analytic Borderlands: Economy and Culture in the Global City’. In The New Blackwell Companion to the City, edited by Gary Bridge and Sophie Watson, 210–20. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell. ———. 2014. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Simone, AbdouMaliq. 2004. For the City Yet to Come: Changing African Life in Four Cities. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Spector, Scott. 2000. Prague Territories: National Conflict and Cultural Innovation in Franz Kafka’s Fin de Siècle. Berkeley: University of California Press. Stoler, Laura Ann. 2013. ‘The Rot Remains’: From Ruins to Ruination’. In Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, edited by Laura Ann Stoler, 1–33. Durham, NC: Duke UP. Webber, Andrew J. 2008. Berlin in the Twentieth Century: A Cultural Topography. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ———. 2017. ‘The City’. In Kafka in Context, edited by Carolin Duttlinger (forthcoming). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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2 DETACHMENT DOWN SOUTH On salvage operations and city-making AbdouMaliq Simone

The urban Global South seems to presently exist in a kind of parallax view. On the one hand, it acts as vernacular shorthand to refer to long-term parochialism in the formation of urban theory. Thus, it is a means to make the case for the need to consider a broader multiplicity of places, histories and processes. In this way, the urban South assumes an enhanced view, whose consideration becomes the key resource for the replenishment of existent, depreciated urban theories or the basis for new theorizing (Watson 2009; Edensor and Jayne 2011; Bunnell and Maringanti 2010; Parnell and Oldfield 2014; Connell 2013; Miraftab and Kudva 2015). On the other hand, the Global South once acted as a trope for a divergent urbanism, an ontologically distinct amalgam of urban zones constituted by shared subjections to colonialism and underdevelopment. Additionally, it pointed to a process of city-making in the interfaces among culturally dystonic impositions of planning, infrastructure, policy and local vernacular practices. These functions now seem to rapidly fade from view or perhaps never should have been envisioned in the first place (Santos 2001; Therborn 2003; Roy 2009; Williams et al. 2009; McCann and Ward 2011; Varley 2013; Wilson and Swyngedoux 2014). Empirical explorations of an urban South may continue to have some purchase in accounts of geopolitical trajectories, the pragmatics of international political organizing, or in analyses of economic inequality and precarity (Escobar 2009; Rehbein 2010; Mignolo 2011; Garavini 2012; Prashad 2013; Jaglin 2014; Roy 2014; Derickson 2014). But the salience of these explorations is largely grounded in the ways in which a multiplicity of interchanges, economic flows, governance regimes, national histories and regional alliances actively shape and reproduce disparities across urban 23

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areas (Mignolo 2000; Brenner and Schmid 2015; Vasudevan 2015; Wyly 2015). How salient territories get made may have little to do with being enfolded in any semblance of a univocal ‘South’ or even in an extensively textured one. What I want to do in this discussion is to think about the terms through which notions of detachment might be useful as a way of continuing to refer to a South. The point is to consider what kinds of distinctive citymaking processes formerly embodied in a conceptual detachment of South from North can still be culled as resources for a new urban political imagination. How might these processes be strategically detached from the more hegemonic processes of global neoliberal organization? I initially take a quick look at the remnants of that urban South in contemporary discourse, consider its various conceptual conundrums, and explore the comparative possibilities opened up by Jennifer Robinson’s (2013, 2015) groundbreaking work. I follow this by outlining the tactical underpinnings of the use of ‘detachment’ as a device, pointing out some of the concerns entailed in contemporary emphases on relationality. I then move on to focus on particular mechanisms of detachment, primarily in Jakarta. These include: the massive profusion of affordable housing projects; and the remaking of markets as ‘irregular’ vectors of the political. I do this to think about urban processes which are no longer (if ever they were) evidence or embodiments of an urban South but which are neither strictly exemplars of neoliberal or planetary urbanization. What look to be practices and processes that mirror the neoliberal fragmentation of social collaboration and promote entrepreneurial selves might also instigate new forms of collective life. These forms may not be easily subsumable to abstracted forms of agency and time of capital accumulation. In other words, I want to relocate the urban South as a kind of elsewhere at the interior of a seemingly hegemonic trajectory that converts urban space in a uniform everywhere. I recognize that any manoeuvre emphasizing detachment is fraught with all kinds of dangers, particularly in a time where solidarities are disentangled, citizens are disenfranchized, and the entrepreneurial selves are condemned to sleeplessness. Yet the detachments from social anchorage and public deliberation effected through neoliberalism feed off a complicity with a range of other detachments undertaken to both update the capacities of collective life and to explore new forms of sympathetic collaborations. These are collaborations not tied down to reified forms of labour and social reproduction (Lazzarato 2014; Read 2015). So how might we stay with these manoeuvres of detachment and take advantage of the particular ways of seeing that detachment affords as a component in the recomposition of a common world? (Stengers 2010). 24

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On detachment: some conceptual manoeuvres A variety of thinking and sentiments about urban politics have been predicated on steering unmapped intersections of disparate urban forces into new directions. Here, the emphasis was to bring the formal and informal, legal and illegal, local and macro-economies, the grassroots and the state, institutionalized pedagogy and street wisdom into some kind of generative crossroads. To think about enhancing the mobility of justice and good urban practice by putting places in greater relation with each other (Healy 2007; Jacobs 2012; McGuirk 2012; Bunnell 2015). This impulse toward policy mobility and integration is sometimes viewed as a conceptual exigency in light of the contemporary emphasis on planetary urbanization. Planetary is understood here not so much in Lefebvre’s sense, but in Nancy’s (2007) – a planetary that drifts along in its own incessant differentiation rather than as a globe or a coherent congealment. Nancy draws us toward the coappearance of all that relates so that ‘living with’ is at once both more and less than ‘relation’ or ‘bond’. This is especially the case if such relation or bond presupposes the pre-existence of the terms upon which it relies. In Nancy’s thought, the ‘with’ is the exact contemporary of its terms. But Nancy’s sense can be easily inverted – where the crossroads of co-appearance become a form of mutual capture, rather than captivation. For example, the augmentation of urban economy increasingly centres on the remapping of the city and the generation of new value based on the proliferation of intangible infrastructures. But these infrastructures are rolled out in the name of the exigency of transparency and legibility. A form of time is introduced that closely couples the mundaneness of the everyday with the anticipation and experience of rupture and crisis (Barry 2013; Bear 2014). Databases are agglomerated, information on consumptions practices are correlated with demographic indices, and inhabitants are ‘sliced and diced’ according to affective inclinations, behavioural regularities and non-standard deviations. Inhabitants are turned into tendencies and potentialities that all have some calculable relational value. These channels of data collection become the locus for the intersection of the ways in which people are affiliated to particular networks, places and circuits of movement, to different forms of regulating the city (Crandall 2010; Bratton 2014; Kitchin 2014). The designs of buildings, projects, budgets, capital investment plans, strategic visions and inter-calibrated infrastructures of material flow – water, power, waste, information and transport – are generated through constantly updated recalibrations of the relationships among increased volumes and types of data. Subsequently, a space of deep and extensive relationships 25

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is being created that impacts upon the ‘real city’, but which is something else ‘besides’ it, even as it is a ‘part’ of it. Here, the interfaces are uncertain, even as the pragmatics of these calculations emphasize the sense of stability and order brought to bear on the ‘real city’ (Galloway 2012). In contrast to the emphasis on deep relationalities, Laruelle (2011) proposes detachment. Here, detachment is not a countervailing, but a complementary move in grasping how reality remains something removed from any manoeuvre that would associate with specific empirical evidence, chains of association or overarching infrastructure. It doesn’t mean that such chains or associations are not inevitable. Rather, it allows us to think about how things like infrastructural arrangements, which are usually seen as combining, reticulating, representing and enjoining, can be viewed also as a process of detaching. Instead of seeing detachment as simply exclusion or segregation, we might also see it as grounds for viewing urban spaces in new ways. We might see it as keeping things out of analytical connections, and to think of the potentials of the supposedly useless, marginal or anachronistic in different ways, subtracted from their usual associations. No matter how the details of city experience and its components might be explained, Laruelle (2011) would insist that these explanations remain insufficient to what these details might be and how they might act. It doesn’t mean that anything we might identify as an entity or actor has a capacity or being on its own separate from other things. It doesn’t mean that it is impermeable to being affected by and connected to all kinds of arrangements and structuring. Rather, to detach experiences, practices and persons from the explanatory frameworks in which they are usually accounted for potentially allows for a re-description of the details, a way of seeing in them the germination of other vectors of urban political change. I will talk about this more below in terms of the details through which new affordable housing projects are actually occupied.

The strange affordances of affordable housing Much has been written about the ways in which standardization in the complexion of built environments operates as a means of suturing discrete and discrepant places as nodes within larger infrastructures of commodity, financial and informational flows (Urban 2012; Kennett et al. 2013). Here, the creation of spatial products looking as if they could be anywhere is a particular materialization of the everywhere. It is a means of capital penetration and expansion. In this sense, such spatial products can be seen as impositions, ways in which violence has been scorched into the urban landscape – various expulsions and erasures – which ‘undo’ specific interweaving of vernacular, buildings, corridors, code, sentience, sacrifice, impulse, 26

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enchantment and risk. This is certainly evident in the tremendous volume of purportedly affordable housing being built across many parts of Asia and Africa. In Jakarta, nearly half a million such units are underway. What is of particular interest here is to consider how the imaginaries and procedures of implementation entailed in the realization of the housing projects go beyond their homogenizing impacts, standardized forms and sometimes seeming obliviousness to the specificities of the local dynamics in which they are situated. It is also important to consider how they seem to actually invite, even instigate, a more singular set of dispositions. These may replicate the by now expected detachments from the textures of longstanding neighbourhoods. But projects of this kind also detach themselves from the anticipated outcomes that such standardization would seem to imply. In talking to a wide range of project managers, real estate and labour brokers, fixers who mediate between various government authorities and construction companies, there is an anticipation of something happening as a result of the project that cannot be predicted. The projects implicitly seek out different synergies with the local surroundings in ways that will, as one broker, Hari, puts it, ‘energize all kinds of possibilities’: ‘We want to act fast, get this thing [building] up as fast as possible, get people in living here, bring new blood to the area so that this part of the city can really discover what it is made of.’ In conversations with actors involved in these projects, there is a sense of the project as some kind of magical instrument that will be eventually changed by the ‘magic it works’. These projects are purveyors of speculation, emplacing capital flows and instruments that disentangle long-honed practices of inhabitation and reassemble residents into new forms of obligation and control. Yet, these projects also detach themselves from those functions, seeking to create spaces that could not only be anywhere, but also to piece together a very specific, even idiosyncratic somewhere, constituted through particular combinations of the project with its surroundings. While these housing projects may indeed act like impositions, the process of putting them together does take into consideration the contingent nature of their very possibility, as well as the shifting terrain of the locations, materials, politics, regulatory systems and effort needed to actualize them. Nearly 500,000 units of purportedly affordable housing will come online in Jakarta by the end of this decade. These are mostly being inserted into green fields within and outside the urban core. They are almost all prefabricated off-site and assembled in large clusters usually ranging from eleven to twenty forty-storey tower blocks. Many are also being situated in the midst of ‘popular neighbourhoods’ that have evolved over the past four to five decades. These have contained highly textured local economies based on heterogeneous ways of life, 27

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ethnic and class composition, and long-honed complementarities among residency, commercial activities, and a wide range of social practices. This heterogeneity is enumerated through various extractions exerted by an array of officials and brokers who constitute not only a particular modality of ‘governance’ based on choreographing different commercial activities and residential configurations, but also sculpting specific kinds of subjectivities capable of navigating across seemingly disparate institutional landscapes and moral economies. Value is calculated in terms of a wide range of provisional sutures, where spaces created to accommodate the simultaneity of divergent ways of doing things, securing livelihood and consolidating basins of particular collective identities, ‘warrant’ various taxations. The quantity of what is extracted and the procedures for doing so must constantly be recalibrated in terms of their debilitating impact on what is to be facilitated or protected. The relationships of popular neighbourhoods to larger urban regions have grown more volatile and uncertain. It becomes difficult for local ‘regulatory agents’ to attune the calculations of extraction to the actual capacities of the economic activities through which rent is extracted. As authority-claims spread and intensify, along with competition and crowdedness within particular economic sectors, extractions can often become impediments to action and collaboration, ushering in a need for more precise calculations as to the value of everyday labour, available assets and expected profitability. This in turn becomes a motivation for some to acquire apartments in these new projects. The majority of units on offer are 32-square-metre one-bedroom apartments, with smaller 16-square-metre studios and, at their largest, 46-squaremetre two-bedroom apartments. The bulk of financing is generated from Indonesian developers, although increasingly other major Asian companies are entering this market. Typically, almost all of the units are sold prior to construction, with project developers offering their own financial schemes, as very few bank mortgages are involved. These schemes usually require a 30 percent down payment, with the balance paid in consecutive monthly installments ranging from 10 to 28 months. Mobilizing finance for the acquisition of units crosses a wide range of practices and strategies. Extensive lateral networks of borrowing are configured across family networks and other associational ties. Businesses and institutions buy units for their staff or with the intent to rent. Sometimes assets are traded, as when older residential properties are rented out unofficially for commercial purposes and where the owners then take one to two years of rent upfront in order to purchase clusters of contiguous units on a given floor in a new project. These units are often, in turn, rented out to extended families that cluster together in a series of 28

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individual apartments. These projects can also become the destination of various financial diversions, where money is basically laundered in the acquisition of an asset that can be used to access formal lending institutions. They are also the vehicles through which collective accumulation – earnings that are the result of collaborative efforts, such as non-formal markets, integrated production assemblages, savings groups and improvised pension schemes, which do not belong to specific individuals – is invested. There is a disjuncture between the imaginaries at work to render these projects affordable and profitable and the modalities of inhabitation in which the projects are actually used. Whereas the projects would appear to cultivate a highly individuated, tightly nucleated subject of consumption, the means through which finance is mobilized and units occupied produce different scenarios. This does not mean that single individuals or small families do not make up a significant proportion of the residents of these projects. Rather, what is striking is the extent to which units are assembled and then availed both to extended families, co-workers, members of specific associations, and networks of friends and more provisional, loosely configured social groupings, where individuals may or may not have prior relationships to each other, but who come to operate as collectivities in how they reside in these projects, as they conjointly administer floors, redesign the apportionment of space, or provide essential inputs. New modalities of sociality come into being via these projects in ways that elaborate complex forms of brokerage that reapportion units and piece together various subcontracting agreements. This is particularly evident in the majority of projects where those who buy the units are not the same people as those that come to occupy them. In one of the older projects completed five years ago at Kali Bata, these subcontracting arrangements have proved so intricate that the owners have formed an association to try and get back control of their properties through the courts – a process that might take years. In the interim, the buildings have come to house an intensely heterogeneous mix of people organized into various associations, lifestyles, national groups and crosscutting social arrangements. So, despite how the structures of these projects would appear to shape a new kind of urban resident in Jakarta, an incipient evanescent sociality ensues instead. Particularly important to consider is that developers, brokers and managers purport to know that this is indeed the actual outcome, even if all of their efforts would seem to anticipate a very different scenario. The epistemology of the vertical towers project seems to be all about quantification – the price per square metre, the number of inhabitants 29

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that can conceivably occupy a particular volume, the profitability derived through different streams of payment plans. Seemingly devoid of social considerations, the vertical project does allow, however, an account, a quantification of effort that gets harder to assess in the surrounding popular neighbourhoods in terms of what the efforts of residents actually achieve. While it is possible to trace intricate assemblages of effort and material and map out complex relational webs, what does all of this popular labour actually do? How can it assume a representation that enables individual and collective deliberation? At the same time, this epistemology of quantification does not dissipate negotiations over the composition of residency. Rather, it can actually intensify them, given that the formats of space that are quantified and attributed particular financial and symbolic values are not readily viable in terms of actual life within them. To actually inhabit the units in the tower in a way that makes them financially and socially viable then requires an intensification of niche socialities and localized markets of exchange that are constantly being experimented with, provisionally adopted and discarded, rather than specific styles of living with and together being the components of an oscillating yet somehow integral fabric as they are in the surrounding popular neighbourhoods. The move toward ordinariness in the relationships between the vertical project and the horizontal neighbourhood assumes a particular form of mutual consideration. It is as if the popular looks upon the vertical and concludes that these new projects are the embodiment of all of their own attainments. But at the same time, the popular also assumes the position of being the object of the gaze of the vertical (as if the mirror borrows my eyes in order to look at itself) and as such becomes aware of concrete instances of its own incompletion. Thus it points to specific possible trajectories for updating its own look and ways of doing things. For the vertical may need to copy the popular in order to sustain itself, but the actual instantiation of this process of mimesis generates unanticipated results. They are constantly reworked, constituting a different lens through which the popular can consider its own operations. At the same time, precise quantification may be displaced. But the indeterminacy of value may only be apprehended in a situation where surfaces become available precisely to be quantified. This takes place within a machine of inscription that divides the vertical project into concrete spatial, prefabricated units, which make subdivisions and agglomerations impossible as physical and fiscal entities. This is in contrast to the built environment of the popular where physical structures are constantly being changed around, with different discernible values being added on or subtracted. 30

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Detachment and popular markets The augmentation of urban economy increasingly centres on remapping the city and generating new value based on the proliferation of intangible infrastructures, but in the name of the exigency of transparency and legibility. From anti-corruption campaigns, to enhanced security provisioning, rationalization of urban services, and maximizing opportunities to access various resources, residents of cities, particularly the middle class, demand increased transparency and accountability (Zeiderman et al. 2015), Metropolitan governments invest in new apparatuses of urban computation that intersect the enrolment of publics in a distributed system of data collection with the operations of control rooms that aggregate different data streams and administrative departments. As Luque-Ayala and Marvin (2016) point out, [the] horizontal extension of network and nodal logics across urban infrastructures represents a particular form of ‘‘operational’’ re-bundling aimed at guaranteeing flow maintenance under many different conditions. The extension of such control room logic to the totality of the city is a first step in the un-black boxing of infrastructures. Here a (metropolitan) control room, as an ongoing practical accomplishment, reveals functions and operations in the everyday. (203–4) This process of extracting data through the quotidian behaviours of people and infrastructure introduces a form of time that closely couples the mundaneness of the everyday with the anticipation and experience of crisis, which I mentioned earlier. Apparatuses of urban computation aim to intercept crises before they happen, in part through curating sanctioned corridors of legitimate circulation and exchange. In doing so, they constrain the manoeuvrability of the ‘unaccounted for’ – the unemployed, the self-employed, the impoverished and other marginalities. But as Ravi Sundaram (2015) points out, instead of adhering to particular regimes of moral conduct and verification, many urban inhabitants are producing their own scenarios, evidence and realities. They do this through the widespread dissemination of images, texts and tweets aggregated in various forms and targeted for specific purposes and audiences. Through new geographies and velocities of circulation, shifting circuitries of crosspurposes, collision and complicity, oscillating vectors of the political are produced that are not readily subject to hegemonic regimes of visibility. 31

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Cubitt (2014) demonstrates how discarded phones and other equipment are customized giving rise to local craft-based industries, providing affordable access to services, and increasing the lifespan of otherwise jettisoned equipment. Reference was made earlier to ways in which the circulations of e-rubbish become a locus through which assemblages of skill and entrepreneurship are constituted that combine different degrees of visibility and formalization to extract and reformulate various materials from waste in different forms and through different production methods. These networks of operations, some small firms, others floating artisanal activities, engender multiple backward and forward linkages with varying intensities of association with larger commodity chains (Lepawsky et al. 2015). This ‘sector’ is not strictly formal or informal; it is not the purview of a particular social class or geography. It combines forms of wealth, locations, political networks and cultural capacities. In this way, it is a particular vector of the political that falls aside the dominant forms of how and what we see. The efficacy of extensive circuits of transporting people, goods, and information under the radar across regions is made possible through the elaboration of ‘multiple sovereignties’. Formally ‘illicit’ forms of creating wealth, shaping and regulating an ‘economic body’ and establishing the parameters of truth and reality rest in continuously reworked, mobile networks that cut across cities and urban spaces (Anwar 2015). For example, as Liang (2014) points out, just as the piracy of the past disturbed the equilibrium composed of slavery, indentured labour, the expropriation of the commons, the factory system and penal servitude, the electronic piracy of the present is destined to wreck the culture industry, either by making the economic and social costs of policing content prohibitive or by ushering in a diversity of new protocols for the use, distribution and reproduction of cultural and intellectual content that will make the whole enterprise of making vast sums of money out of the nothing of data and culture a difficult business. (76–7) It is important to keep in mind, however, that such ‘popular economies’ struggle with a double existence. As Gago (2015) points out, governments sometimes seek to link their benefit policies with popular economies in order to boost consumption or revitalize sagging traditional industries. Conditionalities attached to subsidies and regulations can fold popular markets into official finance-debt systems. This leads to ‘the establishment of communication pathways between global logistics – that a territory’s insertion into the global market depends on – and a plurality of ad hoc 32

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infrastructure. This process translates and multiplies territories’ dynamics of valorization, again on diverse scales’ (23). And this means, in turn, that Consumption as mediation and the financial as the figure of command put all the world to work without replacing the homogenous figure of labor. This diffusion of the imperative to selfentrepreneurship is exploited, promoting the invention of new forms of value production, beyond the confines of waged labor and the parameters of its legality. The extractive form is exterior in this schema because it prescribes the valorization but not the mode (as occurs with industrial control). From there comes its ‘amplitude’. (Gago 2015, 24) ‘Irregular’ vectors of the political are elaborated within the overall augmentation of urban space, but also continue, as Gago herself concedes, as something detached from it. While the extensions of these transactions under the radar reiterate the apparatus of ‘economy’ as a practice detached from any substantive core of power, and thus applicable in forging various relationships with the process of governing, there is another provisional detachment that can lead to multiple and parallel operations not easily annexed to corporate parasitism (Mörtenböck 2015). We can see this interior detachment in the growth of one of Jakarta’s popular markets at Kali Baru (Figures 2.1 and 2.2). For, ‘popular’ markets – largely constructed and managed by the participants – have long provided contexts for witnessing how economic and social realities get ‘done’. In other words, markets become methods of assembling different, non-coherent practices into the ‘economic’ reality that markets appear to service and embody. Individuals and entities may secure a place in the market through negotiations with networks and contracts, which specify a given location and terms for operation. This means that even though sellers largely pursue their own economic interests, the very practices needed in order to make this pursuit work give rise to what Law (2011) calls ‘collateral realities’. These are realities of collective entanglement created in the background, incrementally and ‘silently’, as the visible and ‘official business’ of the market is put together. These ‘collateral realities’ make markets into collective forces. The market may appear to be a gathering up of individualized entities, albeit with different scalar composition. It may appear to simply be a place and occasion for buying and selling based on price advantages, sourcing of products and individualized calculations of both the pressures of supply and demand and other larger price-setting mechanisms. But behind these appearances is an intricate infrastructure of understandings and practices that enable these appearances to operate in concert. 33

Figure 2.1  AbdouMaliq Simone, Popular market at Kali Baru Source: Author

Figure 2.2  Rika Febriyani, Periphery of market at Kali Baru Source: Rika Febriyani

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In Kali Baru, for example, those who unload, deliver, park, invoice, sell, clean, buy, repair, instruct, smooth over, enforce, inform, circulate, allocate, juxtapose – all essential practices in the market – may be distributed across specific roles and individuals. But these roles, for the most part, can also be assumed by anyone operating within the market. In this way, practices interpenetrate each other, as do those that perform them. This is why markets do not work well when, for example, municipalities try to administer them from above, imposing hierarchies of authority and specific rules and procedures about how those practices are going to work with each other. This is, in turn, why the ‘real authorities’ in the popular markets of Jakarta are often weakly defined or undesignated clusters of individuals who appear to have no formal role, but whom everyone knows to be somehow ‘in charge’. The basis of their authority rests completely with the story-lines they are able to discern from and engender for the market. In other words, these are characters that pay a great deal of attention to how all of the noncoherent practices work or do not work with each other, the oscillations of transactions and performances, the affects that a wide range of actions and behaviours seem to exert on each other. The power of the market is largely concretized in unsettling the dominance of any one story, a story that might break the ongoing line. This is why governments often perceive markets to be dangerous places, since they are never really able to impose one story about what the market is and should do. Part of the reason why markets do not demonstrate the kinds of social solidarities to which they might otherwise give rise, is that governments often have to resort to extra-parliamentary measures in order to constrain them. They do this through shakedowns, extortion and underthe-table payoffs. States also sometimes intervene by turning the market into a space of exception. In other words, they render the market exempt from the enforcement of laws around such practices as counterfeiting, smuggling, illegal labour, and even theft, in return for a portion of market proceeds. Kali Baru is close to one of the most important historical railway stations in Jakarta, which in past decades used to be the point of arrival for the bulk of new migrants to the city, but is now ensconced in an overcrowded, volatile series of districts under intense threats of mega-redevelopment. The market has spread like wildfire along tracks, thoroughfares, lanes and creeks. It is the centre of a thriving printing business, and it is estimated that almost 50 percent of what is printed in Indonesia is produced in this area. The whole gamut of printing is available in almost any medium and in almost any kind of production mode. Interspersed with this business is the possibility of buying almost anything in any quantity. In some ways in a 35

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city that has some 137 shopping malls, areas like Kali Baru might seem like an anachronism. Many other ‘traditional’ markets and commercial zones in Jakarta are gone or are in rapid decline. They all had their own singular characteristics and lures, and these particularities enabled them to endure for years past their prime. But the onslaught of development has been too extensive, particularly as medium scale enterprises, such as banks, automobile dealerships, restaurant chains and supermarkets extend outward, escalating land prices and drawing commercial-based revenues into municipal coffers. When we have asked different people about what enables Kali Baru to attain the edge and vitality it has, the common response has been that this is a place ‘now big enough to take what we have and make something happen in ways we could never expect before’ and ‘that leaves us alone to see what we do’ and ‘that gives all kind of new people to work with’. It is a place that doesn’t ‘forget who we are’ but still gives us the opportunity to ‘forget everything we did in the past’. What is evident in these sentiments is that Kali Baru re-describes the singularities of other markets across the city into a new modality of operation – one that does not mirror each former or fading market in their entirety and collect them like some bricolage. Rather, the driving features of the other markets are resituated in a distinctive structure of finance, distribution, production and exchange. These pasts become components that enable an elaboration of multi-scalar and multi-perspectival economic transactions, where big business coincides with variously scaled and managed networks that are not subsumed by the ‘big bosses’ in exclusive subcontracting arrangements. Instead, a plurality of ways of inputting goods, soliciting customers, filling orders and configuring services remain detached from each other, enabling the particularities of other ways of doing things in other places to retain a certain autonomy, even if they persist only through various ways being folded into something that exceeds themselves. Detachment, ultimately, is only one in a series of moves involved in the making and regulating of urban spaces. It is not a deconstructive manoeuvre or a way in which imaginations, places or projects can cut themselves off from the prevailing conditions of a larger world or set of circumstances. I have tried to look at various moves of detachment: the logistical circulations of the young, often stuck in their being set loose, without strong orientations and anchorage in the city piecing together elastic sociality; the modes of inhabiting so-called affordable mass-produced housing in ways that exceed the mappings that such spatial products would seem to enforce; and, the detachments of markets from a definitive association with individual self-interest and rational calculation. In each of these instances, detachment also instigates forms of social relations whose 36

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terms and operation may not be easily specified, but which are relations nevertheless. Might it not be possible to envision, then, forms of urban institutions that are detached from their rootedness in specific sectoral functions and bureaucratic formations and whose operations are distributed across emerging social relations occasioned by various infrastructural and economic interventions in urban life? Might suturing together different operations of regulation, from the ways in which residents repair decaying or pirated urban services, manage local markets, transport residents and goods across the city in improvised networks of vehicles, to putting together various associations of instruction, health care, and household support, perhaps bring into greater visibility such emergent social forms? Might they provide clearer and conveyable terms for them, and lend them an enhanced, concrete existence? Given the capacities of urban governmental technologies to track, survey, aggregate and compute the various flows of the city in real time, could such technical operations facilitate the realization of distributed institutions, where planning, implementing and regulating is distributed across already existent activities undertaken by actors with different capacities and locations? Such formations would of course entail new ways to think about consolidations, costs and accountability. But at least in some initial experimental efforts, cities might learn to run things with a more heterogeneous cast of characters and ways of doing things involved. Providing increased employment opportunities for youth, designing prefabricated affordable housing with flexible uses and spaces and marketed to different forms of mobilizing finance and occupation, and the enhancement of ‘real’ provisioning markets might be a particularly strategic way to start. In a more overarching sense, those that run cities, manage disasters and attempt to make them adaptable to climate change increasingly come to grips with the fact that cities are not just for us human residents. Cities are neither the embodiment of all that needs to be rescued or redeemed nor are they the launching pads for that very salvation. Still, this recognition is largely harnessed to the imagination of our connection to some larger constellation of ultimately virtuous forces, some semblance of an overarching ecology capable of recalibrating all the damage that human inhabitation has done if only humans recognize how interwoven they are with the city’s multiple materiality (Colebrook 2012). That we are now increasingly prepared to jettison ourselves – our modalities of subjectivity and identity – into recombinant assemblages of artificial intelligence, interoperable machines and languages, extended minds and distributed bodies, simply reiterates the long history of humans trying to exceed (and get rid of) themselves. This is a history both of aspiration and extinction. The imagination of human capacity as that which reflects upon 37

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itself and aims for continuous transformation has always depended upon the subjection of specific kinds of people (Wynter 2006). Slavery was a critical substrate of the urban, and without surplus labour, there would not have been the religious and cultural institutions that iterate the possibilities of collective striving and attainment. So, we must always be on the lookout to detach ourselves from these legacies, from the need to be something in particular, and to always have to outdo ourselves.

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Watson, Vanessa. 2009. ‘Seeing From the South: Refocusing Urban Planning on the Globe’s Central Urban Issues’. Urban Studies 46: 2259–75. Williams, Door Glyn, Paula Meth and Katie Willis (eds.). 2009. Geographies of Developing Areas: The Global South in a Changing World. London, New York: Routledge. Wilson, Japhy and Erik Swyngedoux (eds.). 2014. The Post-Political and Its Discontents: Spaces of Depoliticization, Spectres of Radical Politics. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Wyly, Elvin. 2015. ‘Gentrification on the Planetary Urban Frontier: Turner’s Noösphere’. Urban Studies 52: 2515–50. Wynter, Sylvia. 2006. ‘On How We Mistook the Map for the Territory and ReImprisoned Ourselves in Our Unbearable Wrongness of Being, of Désêtre: Black Studies Toward the Human Project’. In Not Only the Master’s Tools: African-American Studies in Theory and Practice, edited by Lewis Gordon and Jane Anna Gordon, 107–18. London, New York: Routledge. Zeiderman, Austin, Sobia Ahmad Kaker, Jonathan David Silver and Astrid Wood. 2015. ‘Uncertainty and Urban Life’. Public Culture 27: 1–19.

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3 THE AGENCY OF MATERIALS AND THE FUTURE OF POLITICS IN THE SHANTYTOWN OF THE GLOBAL SOUTH Russell West-Pavlov

Ghanaian artist and sculptor El Anatsui constructed and exhibited in 2000 a remarkable installation titled ‘Crumbling Wall’. The installation looks, at a distance, like the wall of a shanty-town shack such as one might find in diverse Global South urban spaces from Latin American favelas to South African informal settlements. The wall is constructed of battered, rusting scraps of metal collaged together in an irregular patchwork with slightly undulating contours (Anatsui and Barlow 2003, 34, 48). In this respect, the sculpture resembles many of El Anatsui’s works, for instance the gigantic house-sized ‘drapes’ made of bottle tops wired together that are then hung over walls or the sides of buildings in a sort of autochthone version of Christo’s wrappings. Upon closer examination, it transpires that the panels of the ‘Crumbling Wall’ installation are the hand-punched metal graters used to grate cassava pieces to make gari flour (ibid: 9, 14, 36). The wall is thus not merely dilapidated – ‘crumbling’ – but includes in its current avatar a trace of its ‘original’ function, that of ‘crumbling’ of cassava into flour flakes. The wall elements shift their function from that of nutrition to that of shelter, but the materials of construction remain part of a continuum that sustains life: sustenance segues into shelter. However, it is not merely the function of the panels that is significant, but also their inherent function. The panels are not merely used to transform raw cassava into the ingredients for cooked food (the gari flour), as part of a transformation/translation continuum where cultivation, cooking, digestion, growth, and cultivation again (and so on) are all linked to each 43

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other in networks and cycles of transformation. More radically, the panels themselves embody transformation, elements in a process of transmutation. They begin life as pieces of galvanized iron, transform into handmade graters, and then undergo further transformations as they become building materials/artistic materials. Finally, El Anatsui often cedes his sculptures or ‘textiles’ to other curators, allowing them to use them as they wish, thereby triggering further transformations of the objects. One could go as far as to say that to the extent that they embody transformation, the metal panels, like all objects in the natural world, are part of a continuum of life, regardless of whether they are sentient or not. When, in an interview, El Anatsui says ‘yes, these [materials, bottle tops, milk cans, graters] are transformed into something else, given a new life, a new function’ (ibid: 23), life is, indeed, what it is all about. If the criterion of belonging to life is the capacity to participate in processes of ‘emergence’, that is, the phasal transformations that make up the ‘chaotic’ process of unpredictable but constantly creative evolution, then El Anatsui’s panels certainly qualify. I begin this chapter with a commentary on a work of art that refers to shanty-town construction as a work of life-sustaining recycling and transformation for two reasons. First, because the shanty-town is a significant marker of various Global South urban conglomerations, with a large proportion of the world’s urban inhabitants living in precarious self-built environments. Let us focus on the country where most of my examples are located. Recent estimates suggest that seven million South Africans (roughly 15% of the population) live in ‘informal’, that is, self-built shack-form housing (Douglas 2012). Informal housing constitutes a major, indeed unresolvable problem for the South African government and its urban planning sectors; at the turn of the century, Taweni estimated a growth rate of the informal settlements of 10 percent per annum (Gondwe and Mputing in Fraser 2002, 9). These rates will surely rise, because across the Global South, urbanization is increasing at considerable speed. A decade ago, Africa was expected to double its population over the next quarter of a century, growing from 294 million in 2000 to 742 million or more in 2030 (UNFPA 2007, 8); by 2015, these figures had been corrected upwards, as Africa in 2015 already had a population of 1.2 billion, and was expected to grow to 2.5 billion in 2050 (UN DESA/PD 2015, 3). Urban populations will rise, rural populations will shrink. No African government has the resources to deal with this surge in urban growth, meaning that informal urban construction will become the norm rather than the aberration it is currently believed to be. In the face of such challenges, considerable reorientations of peri-urban policy in Africa and elsewhere are needed (Boaden and Taylor 1992, 153; Tiwari 2007, 350). My concern here is 44

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not, of course, to make an intervention in the domain of urban planning. Rather, my interest is in the ways the semiotics of the shack-landscape may suggest possible new and future-oriented perspectives on the nature of the postcolonial polity itself and the modes of political activism that can be extrapolated from it. Consequently, and this is my second reason for starting in this way, the current crisis, focused particularly acutely in the plight of the peri-urban poor, demands a reorientation of politics. The explosive expansion of urban slums is a concrete index of an ever-widening gap between rich and poor that procedural democracy, already weak in its real democratic purchase, and ever weaker in a world in which more and more nations are sliding towards autocratic forms of governance, has little interest in palliating. How are we to reconceptualize politics under the current climate of global crisis, where all over the Global North and South politics in its traditional form appears to be failing to guarantee social transformation and the welfare of the majority – if indeed that is its self-assigned goal at all, an idea which seems increasingly far from the truth (Streeck 2014). These factors make El Anatsui’s synecdoche of the most disenfranchized urban dwellers of the Global South an important contribution to a future reorientation of urban political cultures. For, if the grater-panels participate in various assemblages that contribute to the continuation of life, one could also suggest that they have the potential to allow us to radically rethink the ways in which we conceptualize politics: not merely as an activity among humans, but as a larger field of collaboration and struggle, in which politics is shared among multiple actors against an increasingly ferocious global neoliberal order that increasingly reduces humans to the status of ‘animated things’ (Mbembe 2010, 15–17; 2013, 2014, 125). In other words, a broadening of the constituency of political actors so that previously disenfranchized actors (animals, plants, material objects) are acknowledged as actants (‘persons’ in the terminology of Viveiros de Castro 2014, 57–8) may be a vital step in confronting a neoliberal order that, conversely, would reduce most persons to the status of discardable commodities. Where better to explore such experimental possibilities for widening the political constituency than in the Global South? For this is the crucible of global futures, if we are to believe Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff: ‘[c]ontrary to the received Euromodernist narrative of the past two centuries . . . it is the [global] south that is often the first to feel the effects of world historical forces, the south in which radically new assemblages of capital and labor are taking shape, thus to prefigure the future of the global north’ (Comaroff and Comaroff 2012, 12). In general, as Mbembe claims, ‘Those of us who live and work in Africa know first hand that the ways in which societies compose and invent themselves in the present – what we could call the creativity 45

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of practice – is always ahead of the knowledge we can ever produce about them’ (Mbembe in Shipley, Comaroff, and Mbembe 2010, 654). In this chapter, I turn to the shanty-towns in the Global South (particular in Southern Africa), paying particular attention to the materials out of which they are constructed, in order to explore the ways in which they may suggest a mode of wider participation in political struggles where part of the natural world previously banished from personhood, according to the great ‘apartheid’ of Enlightenment (humans vs. nature), is massively visible. The Enlightenment reposed upon a caesura that laid down the epistemological basis for the Industrial revolution and the technological modernity which has ensued: nature was separated out, in rhetorical and conceptual terms, from humanity, in a conceptual transformation which accompanied the increasing distance of industrial lives from the natural world. In particular, the shanty-towns of Southern Africa are located in regions where that Enlightenment ‘apartheid’ has been pursued most relentlessly since the dawn of a colonial venture. Colonial practice situated the nature–human divide on the black–white border, relegating black people to the status of animals or sentient things (Mbembe 2001, 27–8). For that reason, the shanty-towns or so-called informal settlements might be privileged sites to reverse that Enlightenment/colonial operation of scission – and thence to explore the question, ‘When we act, who else is acting? How many agents are also present?’ (Latour 2005, 43). My chapter seeks to look at the ways artistic works of various genres, mainly but not only of South African provenance, describe the shanty-town so as to shift the border between personhood and non-personhood, agency and non-agency, and thereby to open up possibilities for rethinking political activity. Having begun by reading El Anatsui’s ‘Crumbling Wall’ installation, I open my main discussion with a consideration of Blomkamp’s futuristic replay of South African apartheid in the 2009 science fiction feature District 9. I interpret the film as an iconic gesture which puts the ‘shacklands’ centrescreen as an ‘actant’ to be recognized as part of the political landscape. I then turn to a number of documentary texts (by Anton Harber and Steven Otter), poems (by Sandile Dikeni) and a novel (by Kenyan Meja Mwangi) to identify ways in which the building materials of the shanty-town figures might offer a significant reorientation of political action. They mutely – and not-so-mutely – address human observers and thus draw attention to themselves; they activate a futurist temporality which is coeval with that of life itself in its capacity to release potential and generate possibilities; and they enhance the field of actants in the political sphere and therefore transform the temporality of emancipatory political activism, pulling it into the ambit of a temporality of recycling-as-renewal. Put simply, the shacklands 46

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have the potential to re-orient not only our conception of the urban Global South, but global political activism in a broader sense.

District 9 and panoramas of the township Neill Blomkamp’s remarkable 2009 film, District 9, presents a science fiction analogy of apartheid in which a population of aliens, anthropoid ‘prawns’, with insect-like facial features and a carapace-torso, find themselves stranded in South African Johannesburg, cordoned off in a shantytown (District 9, alias Soweto) on the margins of the financial and mining metropolis, but in view of its distant CBD skyscrapers. Customary interpretations of Blomkamp’s District 9 focus upon the patent parallels with apartheid or the residual traces of post-apartheid African racism (specifically, South African racism about other African nationalities) in the film (Moses et al. 2010). However, these various forms of segregation refer to another form that has always underpinned South African apartheid. White racist attitudes towards the ‘natives’ have always regarded them as closer to animals than to humans, with the domestic servant appearing as a sort of domesticated animal (Mbembe 2001, 27–8). At the same time, the white settler mentality constructed a curious relationship to the natural environment, which both commodified the landscape and elided its inhabitants; it sacralized the country, while exploiting the natural environment and its indigenous custodians or original owners to the point of exhaustion and extinction (Coetzee 1988; Foster 2008; Hughes 2010). Thus, the South African relationship to animals and the natural environment encapsulates the great ‘apartheid’ of Enlightenment. South African apartheid stressed separation from the native population and reified a landscape which could be progressively coded as strange, hostile and then beautiful; both operations served the purpose of exploitation. The human rights abuses of the apartheid era are well known (TRC-SA 1996). Less well known is the staggering degradation of the natural environment in South Africa, whose arable regions are among the most massively depleted in the world as a result of industrial agricultural methods (Hoffman and Ashwell 2000). Thus, the ‘apartheid’ analogy the film mobilizes can also extend to a deeper, global apartheid: that form of segregation that powers modernity by a rhetorical caesura, spurious but responsible for a myriad of fateful consequences, between humanity and nature. District 9 erodes this division by making the alien ‘prawns’ more human than the humans. The alien Christopher’s unassuming scrap-wood and corrugated-iron shack contains banks of computer screens, and under a trapdoor in the floor, a mini-space-capsule has been constructed for the purposes of escape. Among the putatively subhuman aliens a technological 47

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sophistication is to be found which far outstrips that of humanity, thus undermining the nature-humanity divide which posits agency, sentience and imagination only on the human side of the binary. Indeed, the aliens display qualities of solidarity and love which at least match those of the human characters in the film, and in many cases outdo them. Piet Smit, a CEO with MNU, has no qualms about handing his mutant-hybrid son-inlaw Wik over for vivisection in the hope of accessing the alien DNA and thence the key to operation of the aliens’ immensely superior weapons; by contrast, Christopher almost scuttles his own MNU-basement-raid to recapture the canister when he is overtaken by grief at the spectacle of dismembered fellow aliens on the operating tables. This reading, however, pulls the aliens into the orbit of the human, thus merely reinscribing the human–natural divide at the very moment of apparently seeking to deconstruct it. The anthropoid appearance of the ‘prawns’, their use of an identifiable ‘click’-language, and their display of sociable characteristics rescue them from the inertness and insentience that is customarily attributed to the natural world. For this reason, I would like to draw attention to a rather different actor (or actant) in the film, one that is foregrounded again and again by the camera’s repeated aerial views of the shanty-town landscapes of District 9/Soweto. Here, I would suggest, another subaltern comes into view, one that cannot so easily be ‘naturalized’ by being ‘humanized’, one that resists ‘canonization’, in South African poet Sandile Dikeni’s analogy for the strangeness of the townships (1999, 75). This unassimilable element is the ‘informal’ peri-urban fabric itself, exemplified in the high-tech shack inhabited by Christopher. The shack dwellings of the ‘informal’ townships of South Africa are customarily regarded as provisional, substandard inhabitations created under duress in the absence of alternatives; they are coded almost entirely negatively in all readings. The building material itself is generally given cursory attention in the sociological literature on the ‘informal townships’, at worst constituting evidence of the poverty of the shack-dwellers, at best of their resilience, flexibility and creativity (Dikeni 1999, 75). By contrast, I would argue that the shacks of the South African townships represent a subaltern materiality which, in Blomkamp’s film, with its fascinating wide-angle panoramas or god’s-eye views, is elevated to the status of a collective, non-human subject. The technological wizardry hidden inside the corrugated-iron walls of the shack, and the concealed spaceship buried underneath the dirt floor, bespeak a sophistication in material which promotes the township to the rank of an actant capable of mobility, autonomy, intellection and creative activity. If the shanty-towns of District 9 constitute a metonymy of all that is material in this non-human world, then those peri-urban expanses both index and elide the subaltern 48

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material which, in our post-Enlightenment world, cannot speak: material itself, as an actor silenced by human discourse and technological agency, resurges, albeit mutely, not merely on the margins of, but right across the wide screen.

In praise of shacks District 9’s futurity is significant because it is situated in South Africa, the locus of one of the last of the great moments of utopian liberation, now assailed by ‘a certain experience of temporal afterness . . . in which the trace of futures past hangs like the remnants of a voile curtain over what feels uncannily like an endlessly extending present’, in the words of Jamaican theorist David Scott (2014, 6). This chapter suggests that to escape the contemporary sense that we have reached an impasse in envisioning radical politics, a sentiment of ‘living on in the wake of past political time, amid the ruins, specifically, of post-socialist and postcolonial futures past’ (ibid: 2), we need to turn to things. In the material landscapes inhabited by the periurban poor in South Africa, we may find ‘an exemplary terrain on which to think through the contemporary aporia of the crisis of political time’ (ibid: 5). In order to work out these ideas, the chapter responds to the compelling intensities that are the South African shanty-towns. These apparently chaotic peri-urban conglomerations have continued, even after the demise of state-sponsored apartheid, to emerge and expand around major cities such as Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban, as well as on the peripheries of even the smallest rural centres. My reading of the shacks themselves, makeshift constructions of recycled wood, cardboard, plastic and corrugated iron, proposes an understanding of the materials in which they themselves become the matrix of actantial futurity. For decades, South African conurbations have been plagued by the contradictions created by apartheid construction of low-grade peri-urban settlements for its reservoir of cheap black labour in the cities, and the informal settlements inhabitants built for themselves as demand outstripped availability. Even after the demise of apartheid, forced removals have continued, with a constant ‘low intensity war’ going on between poor residents and urban planners determined to clear the landscape of unsightly settlements springing up on the outskirts of major conurbations (Murray 2008, 102–5). This is one specific, local manifestation of a global ‘ceaseless social war in which the state intervenes regularly in the name of “progress”, “beautification” and even “social justice for the poor” to redraw spatial boundaries to the advantage of landowners, foreign investors, elite homeowners, and middle-class encounters’ (Davis 2006, 98). Yet, as the gap between the unstemmed urban influx of extremely poor populations and 49

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inadequate government responses continues to grow (Mudzuli 2014), a number of unconventional responses have been formulated by urban planners. They consist, first, of acknowledging the ‘informal settlements’ as a legitimate part of the urban fabric that is there to stay, rather than as a problem to be combatted and somehow to be ‘eradicated’ (Harber 2011, 155; Murray 2008, 101). Second, these approaches accept that the ramshackle dwellings erected in the ‘informal settlements’ are more than merely ‘aberrant and archaic living arrangements which deviate from the stated goal of formal housing with its standardized rules, bureaucratic procedures, and legible measurements’ (Murray 2008, 113–14; see also Cook 1992, 130). Rather, shack-building tricks, techniques or cultures are taken as indices of inventiveness, resourcefulness and ‘creative planning and design talent’ (Lipman 2006, 13), ‘defying gravity’ as they do (Otter 2008, image caption facing 186). Thus, for instance, the cluster formations of many shack neighbourhoods ‘conform to a deliberate pattern that reflects a collective desire for convenience, security and orderliness’ (Murray 2008, 112); such patterns function to provide ‘units of support’, community care structures for parentless families or shops within close walking distance, protection against theft for shop storage spaces, and so on (Harber 2011, 154–5, 159–61). One of the most interesting projects displaying this pragmatic, groundlevel approach is the iShack initiative set up by a team from the Sustainability Institute at the University of Stellenbosch in the nearby Enkanini township. The iShack or ‘improved shack’ project aimed to improve living conditions in the improvised shacks by providing a small number of minimalist modifications in the illegal settlement, in particular regarding waste disposal, sanitation and energy (Swilling et al. 2013; Wild 2012). The most daring innovations were those that exploited ‘technologies’ already used by the shack-builders themselves. Cardboard was used to insulate the corrugated-iron shacks so as to bring daytime temperatures in summer down from 45 degrees and to keep them above freezing point in winter (Douglas 2012), imitating the frequent use of surplus cardboard in many township shacks as insulation or as lining (Otter 2008, 255, 265). Similarly, clay and straw were also used as insulation (IRIN 2012). Here, the materials themselves, customarily considered to be the refuse of South African society, are revealed as the sites of complexity, ecological resilience and an unsuspected technological ingenuity: ‘the cheapest metals and the throwaway things of the wealthy had been used with great care to create the best living conditions possible’ (Otter 2008, 255). Attention is rarely paid to the materials out of which the shacks are built. Their builders are already subaltern subjects, largely excluded from any form of public expression except that of usually restrained, occasionally 50

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violent protest actions, so frequent over recent years that South Africa has gained an international reputation for being one of the most protestridden societies in the world (Duncan 2014). Murray comments that ‘[t]he failure of the cartographic representation of the cityscape to register the presence of the marginalized people who inhabit unacknowledged places effectively renders them unknown and unknowable, expunging them from history and memory’ (Murray 2008, 120). Speaking of the Nigerian context, Okome responds, ‘Slums have neither a face nor do they have a voice’ (2002, 316). South African poet Sandile Dikeni imagines a presentday apartheid icon, Steve Biko, as ‘he punches nails | into the obstinate souls of amnesiacs | Biko is only building a shack’ (2000, 43–4); Biko, brought back from the dead, seeks to put the shack-builders back on the historical map, against the force of ‘amnesia’. But if the forgotten, voiceless, subaltern dwellers of the informal settlements have been referred to as ‘disposable people’ (Dlamini in Mbembe, Dlamini and Khunou 2008, 240; Murray 2008, 90; see also Mbembe 2013, 13), or ‘throwaway people’ (by the Pretoria News in 1990, cited in Horn, Hattingh and Vermaak 1992, 116), this term highlights an even more subaltern figure: supporting the township dwellers and in their midst is the figure of the throwaway material out of which the concrete infrastructure of their daily domestic existences is constructed. Wood, cardboard, plastic or corrugated iron are subaltern actors in social existence to the extent that they constitute ‘a kind of fugitive materiality which lives in the interstices of life, the materiality of a ground which receives attention only if its workings are interrupted’ (Thrift 2004, 585). Thus, subaltern spaces (the informal settlements) and subaltern peoples (the shack-dwellers) are underpinned by an even more profoundly unrecognized material substrate. The material rarely speaks. When it does, it may be with help of a paratext. The inscription on a shack-barber-shop in the informal settlement adjacent to the Hernic smelter at Bojanala in South Africa’s Northern Province, ‘Three Missed Calls’ (Figure 3.1), refers, in its pseudo-computer script, to an Afro-modernity centred on the mobile phone, the ubiquitous sign of technological sophistication beyond the digital divide (De Bruijn, Nyamnjoh and Brinkman 2009; Powell 2014). But it also speaks of the shack itself, the material bearer of messages often unheard, so many ‘missed calls’. The barber-shop-hut, in its defiantly ramshackle there-ness, calls to me, the passing observer. In the words of Chris Warnes, speaking of a shack-inscription project initiated by Niq Mhlongo, this interpellation ‘is an act of negotiation, of declaration, a kind of “here we are!” couched in the language of the local’ (Warnes 2011, 554). The appeal of this call is strong enough for me to be compelled to photograph it in the course of an ephemeral encounter. The inscription that addresses me is a performative, 51

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Figure 3.1  Russell West-Pavlov, Shack–barber shop at Bojanala Source: Author

challenging me to refute its explicit message. For, in the moment of reading it, I show that those calls are no longer missed, that I have, tentatively at least, accepted the encounter. The subaltern has, for once, been able to speak. In similar vein, Sandile Dikeni pays indirect tribute to what he imagines as a literary autopoesis of subaltern building materials when he states, ‘Everyday the ghetto has created for itself a new vocabulary that the canonizers of conventional poetry cannot canonize’ (Dikeni 1999, 75). But how often does the subaltern material and its life really get heard when it calls, mutely, to us? In what follows, I wish to make some space for the usually unheard speech of material subalternity via the example of the South African shacklands, with a brief closing look at Kenya. The shack-building materials are the poorest of the poor among materials, the leftovers of civilization. They represent the subalterns among the subalterns. As such, they constitute a limit-case for exploring the status of materiality in the world. Although such a project involves the risk of merely reinscribing and replicating the state of subalternity via the act of ‘speaking for’ (Spivak 1999, 277), I posit that it is also possible, gesturally, to point towards materiality’s own distinctive visual language of intensity so as to avoid speaking excessively on behalf of that medium: ‘Articulating a space means letting the space have its say. Looking at a space and exploring it not as a means of doing what you want to do in it, but of uncovering what the space is, 52

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how it is constructed, what its various rhythms are’ (Schechner 1994, 12 n3). By allowing spaces and their material constituents to speak, as far as possible, in their own language, I aim here to draw attention to ‘the context in which certain works, acts, or encounters, by creating a new field of sensory perception, have the potential to bring about shifts in the way a community delineates itself in what it perceives to be significant, or even noticeable at all’ (Clarkson 2014, 3). I seek, then, to elaborate a multivectorial epistemology of the recycled materials of the township shacks, the poorest of the poor among materials, so as to lay bare a complexity, a temporality of transformation, and an agency which generally goes unacknowledged.

The life and times of material In the township informal settlements, materials such as corrugated iron, wood, plastic, cardboard, and so on, are crucial elements in a complex life-support system: ‘Steve, I think we’d better get some pieces of wood to insulate the walls’, suggests Ta-fumsa, one of Otter’s Khayelitsha friends: ‘It’s going to be really hot in summer and very cold in winter if you don’t insulate it’ (Otter 2008, 264–5). Matter ensures that life goes on. Material has its own life, and thus its own temporality. Practices of recycling, ubiquitous across African cities from the megalopolises to mid-sized conurbations, have come to be characterized as a salient material practice known as ‘re-collection’ (Förster 2014, 38–40) whose second-order temporality is ostentatiously marked by the prefix ‘re-’. As Gondwe and Mputing comment, [t]he discarded rudiments of other people’s pasts are reincarnated into vibrant and living elements of the present. In a society where practically everything is obtained second or third hand, found objects are shaken free of their previous associations to take on a whole new and permanent part of the life of the home. (Gondwe and Mputing in Fraser 2002, 141) Thus, ‘reincarnation’ generates ‘vibrant living elements’ which generate the ‘life’ of the shack. In commenting upon the temporal notion of ‘life’ here, one could refer to Garuba’s notion of ‘animist realism’, which acknowledges the life inherent in things, and thereby ‘has often provided avenues of agency for the dispossessed in colonial and postcolonial Africa’ (Garuba 2003, 285). It provides agency because it allows collaborations, felt sensuously as an agency-enhancing encounter, with material, that enhance life. To realize this is not merely ‘to feel when touching the roughcast wall of a 53

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four-roomed “matchbox” only the “dirt and disease and depression of the spirit in that area” ’ as Dlamini (2009, 119) puts it. It may be much more: Shack Chic is about texture in huge amounts. The surfaces are a multimedia patchwork of wood grain, plastic, cardboard, sand, zinc, vinyl, concrete, brick, cotton, satin, sisal, paper, mud, fine dust, chicken feathers, crocheted bedspreads, wool, curly hair. . . . In this eclectic mix of textures, Shack Chic expressively mirrors the reality of life – shiny and dull in patches, hard and soft in places, tough and fragile in turn. (Gondwe and Mputing in Fraser 2002, 141) For life, here, one could of course read ‘the social life of the townships’, but one could also read against the grain – or better, ‘with the grain of texture’ – so as to detect here ‘the reality of life’ of things. This appeal, call, pull, would be the affective charge which would create coalitions between the material agent and the human agent, leading to the cooperations that we know as technology. One index of this affective power of the material as it is manifest in the township shacks can be seen in South African photographer Craig Fraser’s volume of images (2002) documenting the ‘style’ of the shacks. Many of its photographs at dusk endow the colourfully painted shacks with a luminous, almost iridescent intensity. It could plausibly be argued that this sort of photography merely romanticizes the grim realities of poverty, violence, and chronic precarity in the shacklands of post-apartheid South Africa. At the same time, however, it might equally be suggested that such photos give expression to the manner in which material exerts an attractive force upon the human subject. This affective pull is mediated through the camera lens and documented in the tones of the photo volume. Again, it might be objected that the photos, not the shacks, exert a commodified relational pull. Such objections notwithstanding, the iridescent, almost other-worldly colours of the shacks at sunset or dawn do serve to suggest an intensity that is already at work within the material assemblages. To that extent, the photos merely frame and enhance what we usually elide in our anthropocentric blindness. Sandile Dikeni articulates these intensities in a poem titled ‘Shack Chic’ from the volume Planting Water: There are many ways to make music. Sometimes it is a deep blue against the wall, a bright yellow against fear, another red to tribute imagination, hopefully orange to earth bad vibes 54

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and my black voice saying my life is beautiful. (2007, 54) The colours of the painted shacks, the music that is felt to radiate from their vibrancy, and the colour of the builder’s skin combine to form a material synaesthesia. This assemblage is emblematic of the shacks’ own affective charge as sited intensities. The poetic voice acts as a relay to give expression to the materials’ own language, the non-linguistic language of things themselves, nothing more and nothing less than their material intensity, summoning, fascinating. This ‘strange attraction’ is perhaps the force that explains the countless more banal photographs in the media or the internet of the informal settlement depicting the immense jumbled expanse of low-squatting huts with their corrugated-iron roofs stretching away to the horizon. It is not merely the voyeuristic spectacle of squalor that constitutes the kick of the act of viewing. Rather, it may also be the fascinated confrontation, the encounter with a material agency, a collective subject of matter, which interpellates the observer. In this township context (despite, and with all due respect for the creativity evinced by the peri-urban dwellers), we need to mark out a theoretical space which is post-human. Against the powerful, self-assertive, often violent placing of European settler selfhood in the landscape (Dubow 2009), Foster (2008, 6) refers to the ‘affective power of the South African landscape’. By this he means the rural landscape as reflected in a European settler tradition of landscape painting, I would like to re-read this ‘affective power’ as falling within the purview not only of the subaltern modes of existence of less privileged subjects than white settlers, but more radically, with their subaltern materials.

The shacks are there One way of elaborating such notions might be to turn to another African context framed in Kenyan novelist Meja Mwangi’s still very topical Going Down River Road (1976). The dynamism of material is indexed in Meja Mwangi’s ironic description of a slum-clearance operation carried out by the City of Nairobi health department. The shacks built along the Nairobi River are razed at dawn, and re-erected by the fall of dusk by their resourceful inhabitants: There is something malignant about shanty huts. They got up in the smoke of dawn, spring to life again by twilight. One just 55

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cannot keep them down. The Council knows this. Clear them as many times as you like and they mushroom back just as many times. Sticks, wire, paper and iron sheets is all it takes. The shanty house is reborn, maybe a bit frail, but quite potent and once again a health hazard. (Mwangi 1976, 179) Mwangi describes a kind of ‘viral’ life of things in the manner in which the shacks reconfigure themselves out of their own ruins. The term of ‘autoconstruction’, which emerged out of the Latin American favelas (Holston 1991), urban cousins of the Eastern African shanty-towns, takes on a multiple valency here: Mwangi’s description ascribes agency mainly to the shacks themselves, buildings that thus appear in another sense to ‘autoconstruct’ themselves: ‘they mushroom back. . . . The shanty house is reborn . . . quite potent’ (Mwangi 1976, 179). Mwangi’s shacks are endowed with an agency via metaphors of cancerous growth (‘malignacy’, ‘health hazard’), vegetal life (‘mushroom’), gestation, pregnancy, natality and youth (‘reborn, maybe a bit frail, but quite potent’). Mwangi’s description is ironic of course, and the text does not intend that we take it literally. Yet its irony, saying something that it does not really mean, is part of an attitude of resilience that is frequently identified as a fundamental character trait enabling survival in the face of adversity, the shack-dwellers’ ‘deep sense of survival that has now proven to be the best option in a hostile society’ (Dikeni 1999, 75). And it is resilience that can be seen in the shacks’ capacity to ‘spring to life again’. What might be interpreted as metaphor actually describes a material process of recycling, presented as ‘self-recycling’ by virtue of the evacuation of human agency from Mwangi’s description. To that extent, Mwangi’s text ultimately endows the shacks with an agency in which, at a superficial level, it probably does not believe. The shacks and their material (‘Sticks, wire, paper and iron sheets is all it takes.’) are possessed of a resilient capacity to recycle, and this endows them with a ‘distributed agency’ (Bennett 2010, 38); ‘it takes’ indexes an irreducibly active nature, even if it appears not to have an actantial subject. The OED (1994, 2002, col. 3), surveying the massive proliferation of meanings and usages of the verb ‘to take’, calls it ‘one of the elemental words of the language’, perhaps suggesting a subterranean relationship to the ‘elements’ that it takes to articulate a world. ‘It takes’ does not strictly have a logical semantic meaning. Its meaning is constructed via a process of semantic ‘distributed agency’, dispersed via the ‘it’ and attributed to the ‘elements’ themselves that would appear to be doing as much ‘taking’ of what they need than the impersonal ‘it’ that they share with human, animal and vegetal actants. Out of this taking arises the 56

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shared, common ‘resilience’ that is lodged in the tenor of Mwangi’s diction and that he mutely attributes to the shacks, and by extension to their constitutive materials themselves. Thus, Mwangi’s shacks may be subjects to the extent that they are inhabitants of a social landscape where ‘action is distributed among agents, very few of whom look like humans’, and where action ‘is simply not a property of humans but of an association of actants’ (Latour 2005, 50; 1999, 175). At a variety of different ranges, then, such building materials present themselves as co-actants in the work of constructing a township, actants whose propensity for recycling collaborates with the persistent creativity of the slum dwellers themselves. ‘If creativity is about the production of the new, then there must be different forms of agency and different forms of sociality that foster its emergence,’ comments Till Förster (2014, 36). Thus, we must hear a range of referents when we read that Khayelitsha’s ‘lean-tos are a testament to innovation’ (Otter 2008, 14) – not merely to that of the builders, but also to that of the constantly recycling materials themselves. The ‘abundance of ideas . . . in the township’ (Otter 2008, 64) must be attributed not only to the human constructors, but also to the construction materials themselves. Possessed of a ‘general intellect’ (Marx 1993, 703), materials suggest ideas to the constructors, contain the seeds of future innovation in their own materiality. Such a perspective also resonates with the vibrant life of the peri-urban settlements in South Africa, allowing one to re-read many of the words of praise uttered towards the collective subject of the township by its inhabitants. ‘Diepsloot is alive, it is buzzing’, says Harriet Chauke, a young poet who has moved to a nearby community with water and electricity, but misses the shacklands (quoted in Harber 2011, 6); ‘This intense activity is very much a part of Diepsloot, and the reason why many people express a love of the place, despite its hardships’ (ibid: 6: 31).

A politics of material agency This vision of the material world around us is radically innovative in conceptual terms (at least within the Euro-American academy), but perhaps of little practical utility if it does not lead to new versions of political collaboration. How might an appreciation of the material agency of the shacklands offer new perspectives on political agency? Mbembe suggests that capitalism in its long history beginning at the same time as, and inextricably entangled with, the slave trade, has always tended to reduce human beings to the status of things, and continues to do so (Mbembe 2010, 15–17; 2013, 2014, 125). As a countervailing movement, however, vitalism or animism in its many Global South forms would include the entirety of 57

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the natural world in the category of ‘persons’, that is cognitive, ethically responsible co-actants within the field of life (Viveiros de Castro 2014, 57–8). If we are to take this idea seriously, we also, then, have to expand politics to include all persons, not just humans, which involves rethinking not merely the constituency of politics, but also its scope, aims, temporalities. The question, then, would not be how to bring non-humans into human politics, but how to re-envision politics as something that is already being pursued by a much larger constituency than humans alone. This, indeed, would shift the agency involved in thought itself: the task is not to ‘think up’ a solution that would include the excluded, but rather to learn to acknowledge that others actants’ agency is always already political, in ways that have not hitherto been recognized. Acknowledging the co-presence of other actants, with their very different modes of existence, their means of interrelating with their environment, and their forms of creativity, may assist us to the extent that it allows us to recast our imaginary of political agency – if only to realize that everything does not hang on our own shoulders. Does this amount to a form of quietism, a relinquishment of a strongly affirmative political activism? What of the possible accusation that an affirmation of the creativity at work in the very materiality of the shacklands entails a loss of political impetus? Such questions, however, merely reveal the anxiety about the priority of human agency, which it is our task to relativize by putting it back within a larger network of relations. This in turn implies that we may also need to recalibrate our customary temporalities of political goal-setting and achievement. David Scott (2014, 6) suggests that we live in an age which mourns the loss of the great emancipationist socialist and anti-colonial dreams and which thus demands that we think about ‘the temporality of action – the temporality of political action, especially’ (ibid, 3). Readjusting to the various timescales of material that exceed or lie below the threshold of the human, from the highspeed oscillations of subatomic electronic charges to the glacial slowness of nonorganic forms (Cruikshank 2005) may involve a significant revision of the timescales of political change. Scott (2004, 8) comments that postcolonial political activism has long been framed within ‘a certain (utopian) horizon towards which the emancipationist history is imagined to be moving’. This utopian notion of liberatory history involves ‘narratives of overcoming, often narratives of vindication’; and such narratives ‘have tended to enact a distinctive rhythm and pacing, a distinctive direction, and to tell stories of salvation and redemption’. However, he adds, after Bandung, after the end of anticolonialism’s promise, our sense of time and possibility have altered so significantly that it is 58

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hard to continue to live in the present as though it were a mere transitory moment in an assured momentum from a wounded past to a future of salvation. Rather, we live in an age that ‘recasts our historical temporalities in significant ways’ (Scott 2004, 210). This recalibration of our political timescales may involve a modulation towards a political teleology which has much more in common with the recycled nature of shack materials.

Shack building This new sense of shared agency and altered temporality might resonate with Sandile Dikeni’s reiterated celebrations of ‘Victory | To Build a Shack | And call it home’ (Dikeni 2007, 54). Such minimalist gestures of ‘victory’ may be the stuff of a futurity that resides in humble material with its own historicity, both past and future. How such a material futurity may emerge in an immanent autopoetic process is revealed by the history of the poem itself. Significantly, this verse builds upon a poem in Dikeni’s inaugural 1992 volume Guava Juice: Victory To know you are down refusing to be down To cry for your dumbness and sing for your sight To build a shack and call it home (Dikeni 1992, 49) The poem was stripped down and integrated into a new cycle of poemfragments dispersed through Craig Fraser’s photo-documentary Shack Chic (2002), which subsequently coagulated back into a single poem with that same eponymous title in the anthology Planting Water (2007, 54). Thus, Dikeni’s poetry pursues, across time, a concrete performance of the process of recycling which typifies the building arts of the informal settlements. Dikeni’s writing consistently sets up analogies between the work of linguistic-literary creation (poetry) and material poeisis. In the context of the shacklands’ materials, this poeisis becomes an ‘autopoesis’ in which material collaborates in the emergence of structures made together with the constructors. Their common process of emergence, which has from the outset gone hand in hand with the unfinished South African ‘Struggle’ 59

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(Chapman 1982), converges with other material practices: ‘It is by poetry alone that we survived – we redesigned parliaments out of corrugated iron’ (Dikeni 2000, 11). The poetic process of recycling is one in which language participates in a broader range of autopoetic processes within the natural–material world itself. Language as a process is distinct from other material processes, but is also related to them to the extent that it also emerges out of the material creativity of the flows of communication themselves (DeLanda 2000, 227–55). Thus, the reconceptualization of our commons as a shared community of human and non-human alike, should also allow us to reconceptualize our notion of history, which will become coeval with the processual temporality of things themselves, thus teaching us that time is not a binary of presence and absence, but a perpetual transition between phases which cannot merely be accounted for by notions of entropy or progress. Rather, we need to think in terms of getting on the bandwagon for change which is always already happening; the change that political activism seeks to bring about should be conceptualized within those frameworks. This by no means eradicates the acute necessity of political action epitomized in Dikeni’s outraged protest against the fate of ‘the child . . . dying . . . naked in a naked shack’ (1992, 16). Nor does it mitigate the urgency of remedy in such communities as those in Dikeni’s native Eastern Cape: ‘The Eastern Cape is still poor. Poverty is all over the place. Most of all it is in the hearts of the shack dwellers and nearly all creatures there’ (Dikeni 2002, 145). Such urgency is evinced in the angry words of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela upon visiting townships such as Bekkersdal in 2013, when she admitted being ‘deeply hurt that I have seen no changes . . . since 1994 when I was here with Chris Hani. . . . It’s not acceptable that I should be driving over sewerage in Bekkersdal in 2013 when I did that in 1994’ (quoted in Matlala and Aboobaker 2013). This anger and urgency should not be abandoned or relinquished, but rather, articulated upon other, complementary senses of political time. Indeed, this outrage and sense of permanent delay and transformation should not lead us to dismiss as naively idealist or irresponsible the attempt to widen the constituency of political resistance and rethink the temporality of political action. Speaking of African cities, Mbembe (2016, 321) notes that [o]ne of their defining features is not only their disjunctive social geography, but also the way in which humans and non-humans are linked together in heterogeneous and often unrecognized assemblages that contribute to the making of a unique urban civilization. More than at any other time in their recent history, these mega-regions are the direct outcome of new socio-economic

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forms as well as a different politics of human/non-human/ techno-ecological relations. Thus, in the way the ‘shack dwellers have advanced creative solutions to what appear to be intractable problems’ (Murray 2008, 114), in collaboration with the vibrancy and creativity of the materials themselves, a synthesis between enduring political imperatives and altered timescales of materiality becomes evident. Within this conceptual framework, then, a politicized humanism will have to rethink its temporalities and its futures in the light of a humanism that flows out of a broader framework of trans- or posthuman ‘poetics of relation’ (Glissant 1990).

References Anatsui, El and Martin Barlow. 2003. El Anatsui: Gawu. Llandudno: Oriel Mostyn Gallery. Bennett, Jane. 2010. Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Boaden, Bruce and Rob Taylor. 1992. ‘Informal Settlement in KwaZulu/ Natal’. In The Apartheid City and Beyond: Urbanization and Social Change in South Africa, edited by David M. Smith, 136–57. London: Routledge. Chapman, Michael (ed.). 1982. Soweto Poetry. Johannesburg: McGraw Hill. Clarkson, Carrol. 2014. Drawing the Line: Toward an Aesthetics of Transitional Justice. New York: Fordham University Press. Coetzee, J. M. 1988. White Writing: On the Culture of Letters in South Africa. New Haven: Yale University Press. Comaroff, Jean and John L. Comaroff. 2012. Theory From the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving toward Africa. Boulder: Paradigm. Cook, Gillian P. 1992. ‘Khayelitsha: New Settlement Forms in the Cape Peninsula’. In The Apartheid City and Beyond: Urbanization and Social Change in South Africa, edited by David M. Smith, 125–35. London: Routledge. Cruikshank, Julie. 2005. Do Glaciers Listen? Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters, and Social Imagination. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press. Davis, Mike. 2006. Planet of Slums. London: Verso. De Bruijn, Miriam, Francis Nyamnjoh and Inge Brinkman. 2009. Mobile Phones: The New Talking Drums of Everyday Africa. Leiden: African Studies Centre/Bamenda: Langaa. DeLanda, Manuel. 2000. A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History. New York: Swerve Editions/Zone Books. Dikeni, Sandile. 1992. Guava Juice. Bellville: Mayibuye Books. ———. 1999. ‘Township Culture’. In Townships: De la ségrégation à la citoyenneté/Van apartheid tot burgerschap, edited by Sandile Dikeni, Tony

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Ehrenreich, Valmont Layne, Shepi Mati, Ciraj Rasool, Crain Soudien and Vincent Williams, 74–5. Brussels: Colophon ASBL. ———. 2000. Telegraph to the Sky. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press. ———. 2002. Soul Fire: Writing the Transition. Pietermaritzburg: University of Natal Press. ———. 2007. Planting Water. Scottsville: University of KwaZulu-Natal Press. District 9. 2009. Dir. Neill Blomkamp. Produced Peter Jackson and Carolynne Cunningham. Screenplay Neill Blomkamp. WingNut Films/QED International. Dlamini, Jacob. 2009. Native Nostalgia. Johannesburg: Jacana. Douglas, Kate. 2012. ‘Enter the iShack, a Possible Answer to Improving Africa’s slums’. How We Made It in Africa: Insight Into Business in Africa 26 November 2012 (www.howwemadeitinafrica.com/enter-the-ishack-a-possi ble-answer-to-improving-africa’s-slums/22386/ (accessed 10 May 2014)). Dubow, Jessica. 2009. Settling the Self: Colonial Space, Colonial Identity and the South African Landscape. Saarbrücken: VDM. Duncan, Jane. 2014. ‘The Politics of Counting Protests’. Mail and Guardian 17 April 2014 (http://mg.co.za/article/2014-04-16-the-politics-of-count ing-protests/ (accessed 1 August 2014)). Förster, Till. 2014. ‘African Cities as Sites of Creativity and Emancipation’. In Popular Culture in Africa: The Episteme of the Everyday, edited by Stephanie Newell and Onookome Okome, 27–46. London: Routledge. Foster, Jeremy. 2008. Washed With Sun: Landscape and the Making of White South Africa. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press. Fraser, Craig. 2002. Shack Chic: Innovation in the Shack-Lands of South Africa. London: Thames and Hudson. Garuba, Harry. 2003. ‘Explorations in Animalist Materialism: Notes on Reading/ Writing African Literature, Culture and Society’. Public Culture 15.3: 261–85. Glissant, Edouard. 1990. Poétique de la relation: Poétique III. Paris: Gallimard. Harber, Anton. 2011. Diepsloot. Johannesburg: Jonathan Ball. Hoffman, Timm and Ally Ashwell. 2000. Nature Divided: Land Degradation in South Africa. Cape Town: University of Cape Town Press, 2000. Holston, James. 1991. ‘Autoconstruction in Working-Class Brazil’. Cultural Anthropology 6.4 (November): 447–65. Horn, André, Phillip Hattingh and Jan Vermaak. 1992. ‘Winterveld: An Interface Settlement’. In The Apartheid City and Beyond: Urbanization and Social Change in South Africa, edited by David M. Smith, 113–24. London: Routledge. Hughes, David McDermott. 2010. Whiteness in Zimbabwe: Race, Landscape, and the Problem of Belonging. New York: Palgrave. IRIN. 2012. ‘South Africa: Shack Living Goes Green’. IRIN News 8 October 2012 (www.irinnews.org/report/96482/south-africa-shack-living-goes-green (accessed 31 July 2014)).

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Latour, Bruno. 1999. Pandora’s Hope: Essays on the Reality of Science Studies. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. ———. 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to Actor-NetworkTheory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lipman, Alan. 2006. ‘Beyond Our Urban Mishaps’. In From Jo’burg to Jozi: Stories About South Africa’s Most Famous City, edited by Heidi Holand and Adam Roberts, 133–6. Johannesburg: Penguin. Marx, Karl. 1993. Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Martin Nicolaus. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Matlala, George and Shanti Aboobaker. 2013. ‘Why Our Townships Are Burning’. IOL News South Africa 17 November 2013 (www.iol.co.za/news/ south-africa/why-our-townships-are-burning-1.1608166#.U1srzF7Ohd1 (accessed 26 April 2014)). Mbembe, Achille. 2001. On the Postcolony. Berkeley: University of California Press. ———. 2010. Sortir de la grande nuit: Essai sur l’Afrique décolonisée. Paris: La Découverte. ———. 2013. Critique de la raison nègre. Paris: La Découverte. ———. 2014. ‘Afrofuturisme et devenir-nègre du monde’. Politique africaine 136 (December): 121–33. ———. 2016. ‘Africa in the New Century’. In African Futures: Thinking About the Future in Word and Image, edited by Lien Heidenreich-Seleme and Sean O’Toole, 315–35. Bielefeld, Berlin: Kerber. Mbembe, Achille, Nsizwa Dlamini and Grace Khunou. 2008. ‘Soweto Now’. In Johannesburg: The Elusive Metropolis, edited by Sarah Nuttall and Achille Mbembe, 239–47. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Moses, Michael Valdez, Lucy Valerie Graham, John Marx, Gerald Gaylard, Ralph Goodman and Stefan Helgesson. 2010. ‘District 9: A Roundtable’. Safundi: The Journal of South African and American Studies 11.1–2: 155–75. Mudzuli, Kennedy. 2014. ‘Billions Needed to Fix Protest-hit Townships’. IOL News South Africa 7 February 2014 (www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/ billions-needed-to-fix-protest-hit-townships-1.1643434#.U9s7al5g3bQ (accessed 1 August 2014)). Murray, Martin J. 2008. Taming the Disorderly City:The Spatial Landscape of Johannesburg. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Mwangi, Meja. 1976. Going Down River Road. London: Heinemann. Okome, Onookome. 2002. ‘Writing the Anxious City: Images of Lagos in Nigerian Home Video Film’. In Under Siege: Four African Cities – Freetown, Johannesburg, Kinshasa, Lagos, edited by Okuwi Enwezor, 315–34. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz. Otter, Steven. 2008. Khayelitsha: uMlungu in a Township. Cape Town: Penguin. Oxford English Dictionary/OED. 1994. The Compact Oxford English Dictionary. Oxford, London: Oxford University Press/BCA. Powell, Crystal. 2014. Rethinking Marginality in South Africa: Mobile Phones and the Concept of Belonging in Langa Township. Bamenda: Langaa RPCIG.

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Schechner, Richard. 1994. Environmental Theater. New edn. New York: Applause. Scott, David. 2004. Conscripts of Modernity: The Tragedy of Colonial Enlightenment. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ———. 2014. Omens of Adversity: Tragedy, Time, Memory, Justice. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Shipley, Jesse Weaver, Jean Comaroff and Achille Mbembe. 2010. ‘Africa in Theory: A Conversation Between Jean Comaroff and Achille Mbembe’. Anthropological Quarterly 83.3 (Summer): 653–78. Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty. 1999. A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Streeck, Wolfgang. 2014. Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism. London: Verso. Swilling, Mark, Lauren Tavener-Smith, Andreas Keller, Vanessa von der Heyde and Berry Wessels. 2013. ‘Rethinking Incremental Urbanism: Co-Production of Incremental Informal Settlement Upgrading Strategies’. Paper presented at International Sustainable Development Research Conference, Stellenbosch, July 2013 (www.sustainabilityinstitute.net/newsdocs/documentdownloads/cat_view/23-research-project-outputs?start=10 (accessed 31 July  2014)). Thrift, Nigel. 2004. ‘Movement-Space: The Changing Domain of Thinking Resulting From the Development of New Kinds of Spatial Awareness’. Economy and Society 33.4: 582–604. Tiwari, Geetam. 2007. ‘Informality and Its Discontents’. In The Endless City: The Urban Age Project by the London School of Economics and the Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, edited by Ricky Burdett and Deyan Sudjic, 348–51. London: Phaidon, 2007. TRC-SA (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa). 1996. Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of South Africa. Cape Town: Juta. UN DESA/PD (Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division). 2015. World Population Prospects: Key Findings & Advance Tables: 2015 Revision. New York: United Nations. UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). 2007. State of the World Population 2007. New York: UNFPA. Viveiros de Castro, Eduardo. 2014. Cannibal Metaphysics: For a Post-Structural Anthropology. Translated by Peter Skafish. Ann Arbor: Univocal. Warnes, Christopher. 2011. ‘Welcome to Msawawa: The Post-Apartheid Township in Niq Mhlongo’s Novels of Deception’. Journal of Postcolonial Writing 47.5 (December): 546–57. Wild, Sarah. 2012. ‘University’s iShack Project Gets Large Grant to Upgrade Informal Settlements’. Business Day (South Africa) (20 July): 5.

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4 IDEOLOGICAL DISORIENTATION AND URBAN STRUGGLE IN POSTWAR LUANDA Notes on Neto’s Mausoleum Kerry Bystrom

. . . I will celebrate The Man who rode a trinity Of awesome fates to the cause Of our trampled race! Thou Healer, Soldier and Poet! —Chinua Achebe (1990 [1981], 73) pleeze no forget tell your grandsun body of Komrad —President Agostinho Neto is gud, away from explozhun —Ondjaki (2014 [2008], 166)

Just outside Viriambundo there is a building with three portraits painted on the wall: Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev. While I was photographing, a young man, a teacher from a school close by, came to talk to me. He was curious about why I would want an image of these three men. . . . He did not share my excitement about this image of the ‘holy trinity’. He said that the war had gone on too long and now it had to be left behind, that Angola wanted to move forward and the future was about different things. —Jo Ractliffe (2010, 13)

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The 1979 death of Agostinho Neto, the poet, physician and leader of the anti-colonial Movement for the Liberation of the Angolan People (MPLA) before becoming the first president of the independent Angola in 1975, prompted tributes from around the world. In 1981, Chinua Achebe memorialized him in an eponymous poem, reflecting on Neto’s accomplishments and personality within the wider drama of African decolonization that played out in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. ‘Neto’, he asks, ‘were you no more than a middle child favored by fortune’, coming after more acclaimed figures such as Kwame Nkrumah and before a ‘laggard third’ that spirited away the promise of independence with their ‘twisted fingers’ (1990 [1981], 73)? ‘No’, the poem declares, the Angolan leader did much more than simply inherit the mantle of decolonization; he forged his own path, making ‘secure strides’ towards liberation that deserve remembrance and celebration (1990 [1981], 73). Achebe’s tripartite chronology underscores the way his second or ‘middle child’ inhabited a second moment of decolonization. Because of the length of time the Portuguese clung to their colonies, Neto arrived when nationalist and ‘nativist’ anti-colonial liberation struggles had begun to fizzle and the pull of international socialism in the ‘Third World’ reached its zenith (Westad 2005). Although the Nigerian writer avoids explicitly naming it, it was this alliance with the ‘Second World’ – along with his solemnity and his skills as a ‘Healer, Soldier and Poet’ – that Neto brought to bear on what Achebe calls ‘the cause of [his] trampled race!’ (1990 [1981], 73). The Neto memorial with which I am most centrally concerned in this chapter, made not in verse, but in concrete, came about precisely through this connection between the ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ worlds. The Mausoleum of Agostinho Neto, located in Luanda, was a gift from the Soviet Union built jointly by the Soviet and Angolan ‘people’. Construction on the site began in 1982 just shortly after Achebe’s poem was penned, but dragged on interminably in the context of the civil war that followed independence and which ultimately emptied this independence of much of its promise. Even before the Portuguese withdrew from their colonies, resistance in Angola was split among the explicitly Marxist MPLA, led by Neto (it was taken over by the still-reigning President Jose Eduardo dos Santos on Neto’s death), Holden Roberto’s FNLA (National Front for the Liberation of Angola) and Jonas Savimbi’s UNITA (National Union for the Total Independence of Angola). Increasingly, over the 1970s and across the 1980s, the country became one of the hotspots of what Odd Arne Westad (2005) calls ‘the global Cold War’, as Cuba, the USSR and other Eastern Bloc states supported the MPLA against the Mobuto-affiliated FNLA and then a South African and US-backed UNITA. The end of the Cold War changed much about the configuration, with external allies on all sides 66

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melting away and the MPLA renouncing its Marxist–Leninist platform, but it did not end the war. Savimbi refused to accept a UN-brokered peace in the early 1990s and what Ricardo Soares de Oliveira describes as the most destructive phase of the war began (2015, 15–16). Peace did not come until Savimbi was killed in 2002, and an MPLA quite altered from its original foundation fully took control of the country (Oliveira 2015; Moorman 2008). The first postwar national elections, won by the MPLA, took place in 2008. In 2005 work re-started on Neto’s Mausoleum and in 2012, thirty years to the day after the construction began, the site was finally opened.1 This chapter explores two artworks that represent the Mausoleum well after it was begun, but prior to its completion. The first is the South African photographer Jo Ractliffe’s image ‘Mausoléu de Agostinho Neto’, which forms part of a 2007 exhibition about postwar Luanda called Terreno Ocupado. The second is Angolan writer Ondjaki’s 2008 novel Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret, read as translated into English by Stephen Henighan in 2014. Each piece was made approximately five years after the end of the concatenated anti-colonial, Cold War and civil wars briefly outlined above, reflecting on Luanda from a moment when the character of the postwar state became clearer and new imperatives for urban struggle – especially around rebuilding and reconstruction – had emerged. By the end of the war, much of the country was in ruins, and Luanda (although spared direct fighting) relied on deteriorated infrastructure, while the population had risen dramatically as internally displaced people crowded into the capital.2 The MPLA was faced with the imperative of rebuilding, and it used this process to redefine itself and the country. In his extensive analysis of the government reconstruction plans, Oliveira shows how the MPLA, governing what is effectively a one party state funded through a ‘parallel economy’ centred in oil for infrastructure deals with China in particular, sought in the first decade of the 2000s to create a vision for the peacetime nation through massive infrastructure and redevelopment projects in Luanda above all (2015, 19–20, 40 and 56). He notes the ‘transformation of Luanda itself into a mirror of the elite’s aspirations for the new Angola’ (2015, 71). Such ‘transformation’ largely turned away from the ‘people’ the MPLA once professed to stand for to focus on urban redevelopment for the petrocapitalist elite, with skyscrapers, commercial centres peddling luxury goods and expensive beachfront restaurants for wealthy Angolans, returning Portuguese and other expatriates (Oliveira 2015, 71–2). The poor, war refugees and otherwise, were displaced out of their living space through a number of strategies including state-mandated forced removals (Oliveira 2015, 22 and 72–3). As Oliveira puts it, the ‘mindset’ that ‘poverty is unsightly and musn’t 67

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distract from the achievements of national reconstruction’ was at the root of MPLA plans (2015, 72).3 One pressing set of questions facing Luandans in the mid-2000s, then, was about how their city should be rebuilt: for and by whom? With what materials and resources? To what future ends or with what vision? These questions were compounded, I would suggest, by the way ideological disorientation intersected with reconstruction projects. As the MPLA completed its transition from workers’ party to petrocapitalist oligarchy, it complicated further a tangled web of loyalty to the government, especially for those who had believed in the anti-imperialist, anti-racist national vision Achebe once celebrated, sometimes even taking up arms on its behalf. Complex lines of division between MPLA and UNITA were scrambled and recomposed between the winners and losers of the new MPLA dispensation. It is here that Neto’s unfinished Mausoleum, a highly symbolic site which at the time of Ractliffe’s photography and Ondjaki’s writing had recently become an active construction zone within the costly MPLA plans to ‘reinvent the Luandan coastline’ (as Oliveira describes (2015, 72)), is particularly interesting in its relation to the past, present and possible futures of Luanda – becoming both a warning and a resource, as the artworks reveal. James E. Young, one of the pre-eminent scholars of memory and memorials, has claimed in the German context that ‘only an unfinished memorial process can guarantee the life of memory’, allowing for continual engagement with, rather than a capping off of the past (2). Following Young, I will suggest that Ondjaki and Ractliffe use the ‘unfinished memorial’ that was for so long Neto’s Mausoleum to explore of an era of internationalist alignment whose legacy remains open for contestation in the present. I argue that the way these artworks pose the Mausoleum construction site as something like ‘Cold War debris’ helps us to see the overlaps and disjunctures between Portuguese colonialism, the mythologies and lived experience of a decade and a half of ‘socialist friendship’, and the unfolding present which brings both peace and a deterritorialized empire of global neo-liberal capitalism. ‘Cold War debris’ is a variant of what Ann Laura Stoler (2013) calls ‘imperial debris’, a concept that indicates the structures and relations of domination, which are the calculus of empire and which remain in the built and psychic environment long after actual colonial rule has ended: ‘the toxic corrosions and violent accruals of colonial aftermaths, the durable forms in which they bear on the material environment and on people’s minds’ (2013, 2). Ractliffe creates a productively ‘off-kilter’ map of both ‘imperial’ and ‘Cold War debris’ as the material setting for postwar urban life, while Ondjaki zeroes in on the task of imaginatively repurposing this debris for a different future. 68

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While focused on the questions of how Ractliffe and Ondjaki approach the Mausoleum as debris, how debris structures postwar urban life and whether and how it can be reconfigured, the following analysis also aims to open up larger questions of interest to this volume by drawing attention to what Sarah Nuttall (2009) calls ‘entanglements’, both geographical and temporal, of cities of the South, North and beyond. The geography is one deeply entwined with the global Cold War, stretching across ‘First’, ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ worlds and complicating the imperial coordinates of ‘the West versus the rest’, and then ‘North and South’, that have oriented much postcolonial studies scholarship.4 Engaging with the legacy of the ‘East’ in Luanda helps us parse histories that interweave all four cardinal points; and it challenges us to see Luanda and the lands of its various imperial occupiers, from Portugal to Russia to South Africa, as not only convergent, but also mutually constitutive. The temporality of Cold War debris similarly cuts against standard narratives of development and progress associated with modernization in the metropolis. If objects and structures themselves remain as material reminders that history cannot be confined to the past, allowing for the reconstruction of forms of oppression and the reappearance of spectres of violence, they also serve as a conduit for memories or stories of what Jennifer Wenzel (2006) calls ‘the past’s futures’ that can reanimate the present.

Imperial and Cold War debris in Terreno Ocupado South African Jo Ractliffe became known as a photographer and visual artist in the late 1980s, with photographs and photomontages meditating on the psychic and structural impacts of apartheid on Cape Town and its surrounding landscapes. Since then, she has kept a keen eye on the progression towards and the aftermath of ‘liberation’ in South Africa, with projects including reShooting Diana (1990–95) and Johannesburg Circa Now (2006). Renowned Nigerian curator Owkui Enwezor notes how over this time, ‘Ractliffe’s work has carefully avoided modes of social exhibitionism that exalt binaries of good and bad, black and white, oppressor and oppressed, native and settler’ (2009, 86). Rather, an attempt at ‘unraveling and revealing the qualities of space and habitation that are generally left unaccounted for or unremarked upon, psychic disruptions that accompany the documentation of absence; of what is not there, missing, erased’ mark her ‘continuous exploration of urban forms, landscapes, street scenes and processes of anomie’ (Enwezor 2009, 86, 91). It was not until 2007 that Ractliffe began to work in and on Angola, though, as she notes in an introduction to the Terreno Ocupado project, the ‘myth’ of the country and its relation to South Africa played a role in 69

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her thought and artistic production starting much earlier. ‘I first read about Angola’, she writes: in Another Day of Life, Ryszard Kapuscinski’s book about events leading up to Angola’s independence. This was during the mid1980s – some ten years after it was written. I was struck by that book, especially by the ways it resonated with what was happening in South Africa then. . . . At the time, I was photographing in the townships around Cape Town. . . . Until then, in my imagination, Angola had been an abstract place. In the seventies and early eighties, it was simply ‘the border’, a secret, unspoken location where brothers and boyfriends were sent as part of their military service. And although tales about Russians and Cubans and the Cold War began to filter back – all of which conjured up a distinctly different image from the one portrayed by the South African state – it remained, for me, largely a place of myth. All of this was very much on my mind when I first went to Luanda in March 2007. (2009, 62) If ‘myth’ provided the genesis of the Terreno Ocupado series, then the artist felt on her trip an increasing pull towards the ‘real’ postwar experiences of people rebuilding their city and lives: I was not looking to produce a commentary on the state of things in Luanda now. I went in search of something else. Emblematic things. Traces of that imaginary Angola. But ironically, as it turned out, I found myself needing to do almost the opposite once I was there. (2009, 62) Perhaps reflecting this, her framing text for the exhibition on her Stevenson Gallery website begins by recapitulating the quick turn from Neto’s assumption of power in 1975 to a civil war where a million and a half people died, four million were displaced, infrastructure was demolished, and the countryside sown with land mines. Ractliffe summarizes the results of this strife: Ironically, the civil war strengthened a sense of national identity and common purpose. But the challenges that face Angola now are profound . . . the majority are without land, adequate housing, water, health care, education or jobs. And although the country 70

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has now embarked upon the monumental task of reconstruction, it is one that despite Angola’s natural wealth and burgeoning economy is beset with problems.5 As she confronted this challenge in person, Ractliffe came to navigate between a desire to unsettle the ‘real’ and explore the imaginaries or myths that shape lines of sight, and an investment in that ‘real’ (Ractliffe 2009, 64). This dynamic remains visible in two further series that develop the artist’s concern with the ‘aftermath’ of the Angolan war and South Africa’s intersections with it, As Terras do Fim do Mundo (2010) and The Borderlands (2013) (Onyewuenyi 2016).6 The images that make up Terreno Ocupado capture Luanda’s ‘monumental task of reconstruction’ through an eclectic survey or mapping of the postwar city, providing snapshots of life across a vast and heterogeneous sweep of urban space.7 The exhibition’s leading and most recognized image is that of a seemingly vacant lot near the beach with a peeling, hand-written sign reading ‘terreno ocupado’. Further black and white images show in single frames, diptychs, and triptychs, among other items, beaches, roadside stalls, a wrecked Chinese ship, the shacks and cliffs of the Boa Vista shanty-town, personal exchanges in the informal market of Roque Santeiro, the interior of the Angola National Bank, recreation sites, outdoor animal sculptures in a middle-class residential district, dioramas from the Natural History Museum, and Neto’s Memorial and Mausoleum. It also includes a series of details from peeling tiles inside the 1576 colonial Fortaleza de Sao Miguel, which depict the Portuguese colonization of Africa. It is crucially important that this mapping or panorama, much as the individual diptych or triptychs with it, does not present a coherent, seamless view but is rather defined by an ‘off’ quality (Ractliffe 2009, 65). It creates uncanny juxtapositions. Things do not line up. This feeling of mismatch, of being out of joint, is only underlined by the way the exhibition changed shape as it moved from its original space in 2008 in the Warren Siebrits Gallery in Johannesburg, with images reordered (and some removed) across venues and in archiving on the Stevenson website, and spectators consequently asked to juxtapose the images in multiple configurations.8 Part of this reflects what Ractliffe describes as the ‘strange contradictions in the built environment – Portuguese, Russian, Cuban, and now all the new oil high rises’ (2009, 65). It was also her feeling that the cityscape of Luanda was ‘simultaneously post-apocalyptic and medieval’ (2009, 65). In her work, the grinning monkey and decapitated bird statues face off against blurry taxidermied baboons and leopards, lion-shaped benches and a rhinoceros painted on crumbling colonial tiles. These animal forms, whether real or representation, colonial or modern, whole or rent, reflect 71

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and refract each other in a strange hall of mirrors. A similar effect happens with images of the residential park at Bairro Azul and the crumbling Boa Vista, the gleaming halls of the bank and the makeshift in vibrant Roque Santiero market. Ractliffe’s achievement is that, rather than making any one aspect seem out of place or time, the imperfect intersections she creates foreground the question of how each frame of urban life fits in to the assembly of photographs. This question has important political as well as aesthetic implications. The triptych ‘Smoking Rubble at the Edge of Roque Santeiro Market’ echoes the smoggy atmosphere and precarious look of the makeshift dwellings perched on the Boa Vista cliff in other images and sets off the gleaming diptych ‘Banco Nacional de Angola’ which follows it on the web archive of the exhibition. The gap is staggering. Yet this relation does not convert Boa Vista or Roque Santeiro into ciphers of deprivation or lack, as often happens with representations of informal settlements. Enwezor argues persuasively that, while Ractliffe reveals the structural and economic instability of the musseques, their status as ‘urgent zones of official neglect’, she also infuses them with a ‘sense of humanism’ by showing the ‘modes of urban sovereignty’ emerging there (2009, 91). As Enwezor notes, the images show a struggle for space familiar in places where the landless are aggressively seeking rights to take possession of the land. The land they seek to own is either being abandoned or is the subject of speculative development that often displaces large populations once their informal settlements are rezoned for luxury seaside dwellings. . . . The vast shantytown of Boa Vista . . . is not only a place coveted by developers and their government allies but also a context for new urban politics. (2009, 94) Beyond Boa Vista, I would remind us, the MPLA’s vision for urban reconstruction enabled suffering more widely; Human Rights Watch, with local partners, specifically researched (among many more reported) eighteen ‘mass evictions’ between 2002 and 2006, in which ‘more than 3,000 houses were destroyed and many small-scale cultivated land plots were seized, affecting some 20,000 people’ (2007, 2, 6–7).9 The ‘new urban politics’ Enwezor points to, a politics of ‘occupation’ or actively asserting a claim to belonging and humanity in the face of displacement and disposability, is for him visible above all in the images of Boa Vista and Roque Santeiro (2009, 95). While this is obviously true on some level, given the creativity and beauty captured in many of these images, it seems to me precisely in both 72

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deep contrasts and underlying continuities with the images depicting postsocialist and (post-)colonial capital such as the Angolan National Bank that new kinds of occupation get made visible and the shanty-town can emerge as what Enwezor calls ‘a zone of active civic, economic, cultural and political processes’ (2009, 95). Where then do Neto and his Mausoleum fit into this landscape of postwar reconstruction and urban struggle? The image ‘Mausoléu de Agostinho Neto’ (Figure 4.1) represents the construction site. The walled-off memorial is shaped like a rocket or bayonet, its tiny socialist star lying in the furthest visual plane, and its sharpness decomposing as we move out towards the edges of the frame and come towards the spectator. Everything else is surrounded in a thick grey air and slightly out of focus, giving the site an air of decay. The corrugated-iron fencing in the site is bent, torn and tagged with graffiti, suggesting a long period of neglect and the alternative usages such official neglect invites. In the foreground are dry, upturned earth, sticks, stones and trash, linking the image to those from the Boa

Figure 4.1  Jo Ractliffe, Mausoléu de Agostinho Neto (2007) © Jo Ractliffe. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg

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Vista and Roque Santeiro sequences. The image fades to black around the edges in a kind of framing motif that recurs throughout the exhibition; this optical vignetting is a feature of the plastic toy camera that Ractliffe used clandestinely when wanting to photograph at certain official sites where photography was prohibited by the state (personal interview Ractliffe, 26 September 2017). Especially with this black framing, it seems a portrait of an abandoned sentinel from another era, notwithstanding the restart of construction. It was this image that first called to my mind Stoler’s notion of ‘imperial debris’. While perhaps most obviously linked to ruins, monuments and the like, the concept, as I noted previously, stretches beyond this to speak to the less visible mental and material structures left by ‘imperial formations’ and the way they actively impact peoples’ lives, linking past, present and future as they perpetuate ‘ruination’ (see Stoler 2013, 2, 8–10). It is about traces of relations of power that last over time even when changing form or being called by new names (Stoler 2013, 23). The Mausoleum of course is not ‘imperial debris’ in any easy sense in the Angolan context. As Monica Popescu (2014) reminds us, in the Cold War competition for the ‘Third World’, the West was often seen to stand for and to perpetuate the legacy of colonialism and slavery, and many African intellectuals, writers and politicians chose to align with the East not only out of political expediency, but also out of genuine belief in the ideals of racial equality and anti-colonialism purported by the USSR. The Soviets and other Eastern Bloc and socialist powers with interests in Africa concretized their rhetoric of solidarity and ‘socialist friendship’ by giving financial support, education, military training and public works projects such as the Mausoleum to allies following them in what they saw as a more just road to modernity (Westad 2005). South African ANC representative and novelist Alex La Guma, for instance, was so inspired by his Soviet-sponsored trip to the USSR in 1978 that he wrote: ‘One wanted to touch, to feel, to smell even, in that way one would, perhaps, see, admire the sputniks. It was the blind learning Braille’ (cited in Popescu 2014, 99). Neto’s rocket-like Mausoleum could represent for the people of Luanda something like this possibility of touching a sputnik. At the same time, for other sections of the population, or even for MPLA supporters over time, the term ‘socialist friendship’ became sinister doublespeak, and ties between Angola and its ‘Second World’ allies produced what Lanie Millar (forthcoming) evocatively calls a ‘postrevolutionary disappointment’ (a topic to which I return, vis-à-vis Ondjaki). It is for these reasons that I pose the Mausoleum as ‘Cold War debris’, a coding which extends Stoler’s penetrating sense of the way objects or sites reveal relations of power that cross-cut past and future beyond bi-polar or clearcut imperial trajectories.10 74

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Ractliffe’s portrait of the Mausoleum – like so much of her Angola work – indeed offers the material structure as a proxy for, or a way into, complex relationships between people, people and landscapes or things, and people and ideas across time.11 Read from its beginnings in the era of ‘socialist friendship’, the Mausoleum struck in concrete the outlines of an ideology discarded in the 1990s as the MPLA fully embraced neoliberal capitalism. Yet, unlike in many post-socialist countries in Eastern Europe, where Soviet-related monuments were rapidly taken down after 1989 (Lisiak 2009), the MPLA decided not to decommission the site but rather developed new plans to finish the project. This must be partly because Neto’s symbolism, as befitting his status as a ‘father of the nation’, extends much wider than his historical ‘Eastern’ alliances; his figure is one that can be made to serve as a rallying point for the emerging petrocapitalist nationalism as easily as it becomes a link to the revolutionary past.12 The MPLA in the 2000s, it seems, wished to cash in on Neto’s multi-layered legacy by reclaiming the highly visible urban site as part of its ‘spectular’ waterfront reconstruction agenda. The unfinished Mausoleum that Ractliffe gives us, a construction site that while newly active appears left behind, out of place and time, thus perhaps serves as a kind of eulogy to an earlier incarnation of the MPLA in the face of its current policies – and as warning of how debris from the past can play into new imperial interests. Linking this image to the sequence on the Fortaleza de San Miguel tiles underscores how this example of Cold War debris could be coopted into the work of Stoler’s ‘imperial formations’. The colonial tiles, detailing the early Portuguese exploration of Africa, are both cracked away and whitewashed over, making their maps and other figurations only partially legible. They decorate a fort originally used to hold enslaved people before shipping them into the South Atlantic and most recently repurposed as the National Museum of Military History, with displays of many weapons used in the independence struggle and civil war that include a plane and jeep belonging to Neto.13 It is possible to see this as a triumphant takeover, an occupation by the anti-colonial government of the site of colonial rupture and violence. And yet the peeling Portuguese tiles hang there in visual space, haunting spectators, reminding them that aspects of colonialism remain in the heart of the new regime – perhaps whispering that the MPLA takeover of colonial power is rather a form of entrapment in it? The MPLA under dos Santos is, after all, reproducing the old kinds of exclusions on perhaps new people but from the same old sites of power, reestablishing something like the colonial ordering of land as the poor are pushed out to make way for holders of capital, creating more ‘ruined landscapes’ and perpetuating ‘the social ruination of people’s lives’ (Stoler 2013, 10). 75

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This is a gloomy picture whose danger is born out in the trashed foreground of the Mausoleum construction site and in the crumbling hills of Boa Vista. There are however other ways to think about Cold War debris, as we see for instance in the other image linked to Neto in the Terreno Ocupado exhibition: ‘Man maintaining the lawn of the Monumento de Agostinho Neto’. This image, taken at a traffic circle where Ractliffe noticed a man labouring to keep up a memorial surrounded by dusty streets lined with broken-down cars, portrays the maintenance work in a relatively tight frame that takes in a short stretch of grass and shrubbery as well as a flag and part of the mural at the base of a monument dedicated to Neto (personal communication Ractliffe, 26 September 2017). While the grandiosity of socialist realist muralism might certainly seem out of place in comparison with the focus on the worker, prompting an ironic gaze, to me the tone is more direct and peaceful. I see calm, a man dutifully keeping up this site, and perhaps beyond duty a kind of devotion or pride. As Ractliffe herself reflects, the worker seems to be both engaged in a futile task of ‘keeping up appearances’ and performing a ‘heroic and moving’ act of dedication (personal communication, 26 September 2017). Is this pride or dedication tied to Neto and the world he represented? Is there something positive to be rescued, and built upon, to feed the ‘new urban politics’ Enwezor identifies? Since taking this image, Ractliffe has further noted how conflicting stories of what happened to Neto’s body upon his death have become ‘outrageous myths’ cycling through the country (2015, np). Like the care given by the worker to Neto’s memorial site, this interest in Neto’s corpse – along with taking us back to the question of myth – speaks to an ongoing investment of some sort that could use Cold War debris as a springboard into different futures. What this might look like is a theme Ondjaki will push much further.

Granma nineteen and the future of the past Ondjaki is the pen name of Ndalu de Almeida, the son of MPLA activists who has over the past decade become one of Angola’s most celebrated authors – shaping and reshaping images particularly of Luanda in the national and international imaginary through fictions that reconsider recent history. He first became known to the Anglophone world through his brief novel Bom Dia Camaradas (2000), translated by Stephen Henighan as Good Morning Comrades in 2003. This book tells the story of a boy named Ndalu coming to terms with the end of one phase of Angola’s civil war – that regulated by the December 1988 New York Accords, where Cuba agreed to withdraw its troops from Angola in exchange for South Africa relinquishing its claims on Namibia and troops in Angola, and the MPLA and UNITA 76

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agreed to multi-party elections in Angola. The Accords looked to position Angola within a wave of countries undergoing a ‘democratic transition’ at the end of the Cold War. The geopolitical opening they marked manifests in Ndalu’s life mainly through the painful goodbye he is forced to make with his idealistic Cuban school teachers, an event which destabilizes his understanding of his place in the world determined by colonialism and the local contours of the global Cold War: aside from Cuba, for Ndalu, the world outside Luanda seems to consist of his aunt’s native Portugal, with the South Africans menacing to the south and passing references to the USSR and the United States. The novel asks, on the one hand, what gets lost through this goodbye, and on the other, what possibilities might come to take the place of international socialism? Or, more precisely, given that the novel was written about a bittersweet moment of loss and promise after the prospect of peace had failed and Angola had slid back into another decade of civil war, what might have come to take the Cubans’ place, if peace had come to Angola? Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret, first published in 2008, again focuses on a child of about Ndalu’s age and creates an even more explicitly layered temporal frame in which readers are called to engage with memories of things that were not seen and events that did not quite happen. The novel is however located in a slightly earlier moment of Angolan history – being set in the mid-1980s, well before Glasnost and the fall of the Wall. Thus, while the Mausoleum site looks as it appears in Ractliffe’s image while he was writing, Ondjaki imagines it approximately 25 years earlier. The neighbourhood has also changed from Good Morning Comrades. The location is Bishop’s Beach, a seaside Luandan community profoundly marked by poverty. Here we get a strong sense of the texture of urban life during the 1980s: the local ‘Comrade Gas Jockey’ undergoes a daily comic ritual of hosing down his gas station without any water, and opens every morning to sell imaginary gas from his depleted petrol stores. Bread is rationed, electricity a scarce commodity, and the children are left in the care of an adult population made up largely of female ‘granmas’ or aunts and other marginal figures. Despite these difficulties, the neighbourhood is remarkably cohesive and colourful, as children and adults engage in everyday practices that minimize the effects of shortages and together weave humorous tales about their lives that position civil war distinctly in the background. The stories in Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret find their weave in the entangled geographies of colonialism and the Cold War, with the coordinates pushed even further out from those in Good Morning Comrades: the references to Portugal are traded for those to Brazilian and Hispanophone telenovelas; the United States vies with South Africa for a villainous role as 77

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two stray parrots repeat radio spots like ‘Down with American imperialism’ and ‘Hey Reagan, hands off Angola!’ (2014, 143); and the focus on Cubans in Angola in the earlier text is triangulated with the Soviet Union. Indeed, as signalled in the title of the novel, it is the Soviet presence in Angola, especially vis-à-vis their Angolan and sometimes Cuban ‘comrades’, that is most strikingly explored and whose presence comes to define the unnamed narrator’s childhood memories. This is because Bishop’s Beach is the site where the USSR and the MPLA government began joint construction of Neto’s Mausoleum in 1982. The Mausoleum is the most striking landmark in the community and the object around which the narrative turns. As already detailed above, the memorial is understood by the Soviets as a project of commemorating the friendship between the USSR and Angola. The construction zone is one in which the two governments work together to consolidate what Popescu describes as ‘voluntary cultural and ideological alignment’ between Africa and the Eastern Bloc (2014, 94). The Soviet General in charge of the building site in Ondjaki’s novel, for instance, describes the Mausoleum as a valued joint venture, a ‘[b]eautiful verk of Angolan people to remember President . . ., so much verk of Soviet comrades’ (2014, 159). As the poor Portuguese accent and grammar ascribed to the general in this description implies, however, such acts of ‘friendship’ are much more complicated than they seem; especially because, as Ondjaki puts it elsewhere, ‘the government is one thing and the people are another’ (2003, 19). Granma Nineteen works to trouble potted or official histories of ‘socialist friendship’ or international solidarity by pointing rather to continual moments of confusion and distance between the Angolans who live in Bishop’s Beach and the Soviet workers deployed in the construction site. The local children refer to the Soviets as ‘blue ants’ or ‘blue lobsters’ (2014, 50) in part because of their heavy blue uniforms and in part because of their inability to stand the Angolan sun, turning red as lobsters every time they venture out of the shade yet refusing to go for a swim like the local population. This also leads to the problem the children label as ‘b-o-derov’ after one particularly smelly ‘comrade’. The Soviets also fail to learn the local Angolan Portuguese and insist on speaking what the children call ‘Soviet’. As one Granma puts it, ‘these Soviets are a disgrace to linguistic socialism’ (2014, 24). Moreover, they threaten to steal the granmas from the children by bringing them home with them to the ‘far away’. Such complaints are of course humorous and might be forgiven if it were not for a complete miscalculation as to the value of the memorial for the people of Bishop’s Beach. What the Soviets see as a crucial joint project with the Angolan people is actually in the eyes of the Bishop’s Beach residents a threat to their livelihood, as it cuts off access to the beach where people fish, wash, and 78

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play. This threat becomes literalized in the novel when it emerges that the Soviets with the MPLA government imminently plan to blow up – or ‘dexplode’ – the Bishop’s Beach neighbourhood to create a park outside the memorial. In order to make room for ‘new parks, swing sets, a new waterfront drive . . . and a ton of people lining up to enter the Mausoleum and see the body of the Comrade President, embalmed with Soviet techniques’ (2014, 95), the people of Bishop’s Beach will be relocated to another community in a different part of the city. The plans for the destruction of Bishop’s Beach – backed at one point by Russian soldiers on a jeep with AK-47s – reify the gap between an idealized transnational friendship and an actuality of a kind of Soviet occupation, as well as that between governments and their people. In the face of them, the neighbourhood children come up with a plan to steal the dynamite being stored in the Mausoleum construction site and use it to blow up the Mausoleum itself, thus obviating the need for a seaside park. While the children’s effort fails, their concept is in fact spectacularly carried out: a desperately homesick Soviet, named Comrade Bilhardov, who has made ties in the local community, does set off an explosion that brings down the Mausoleum, in part to postpone the destruction of the neighbourhood and in part to afford himself and a group of similarly-minded Soviets a chance to steal a plane and return to Russia. The scene of the explosion created such a beautiful display of fire and lights that the children would never forget it, and at the time dwarfed the collapse of the structure itself, so the children in effect miss seeing the literal fall of the Mausoleum. It is revealed in a letter to Granma Nineteen, delivered after the fact, that Bilhardov has doctored the explosives to create this special effect: ‘Forgive if explozhun in Muzzleum make problem, but Dona Nhéte family get time and they must start verk again. Bilhardov cover dinamite with sea salt for booteful effect in Luanda sky’ (2014, 166). By creating this counterfactual rainbow-like ‘dexplosion’, Ondjaki makes a complicated intervention into debates about the legacy of international socialism and contemporary urban politics in Luanda, attending to both ideological disorientation and urban struggle. To speak to the former point, let me return briefly to the earlier novel Good Morning Comrades. It is easy to read this text as a kind of socialist nostalgia, a romantic desire to return to years and political systems that obviously have many failings. This same charge gets applied to Gramna Ninteen, as Marissa Moorman points out in her brief review. ‘An Angolan friend of mine refuses to read Ondjaki. He says the writer’s work is nostalgic for the socialist period – times he’d rather forget’, she begins, ‘I disagree’ (2015, np). I would disagree with Mormon’s disagreement, not because I am at odds with her perspective on the novels’ importance, but because I think this text exemplifies a 79

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useful re-visioning of nostalgia itself, the seeds of which can be found in Good Morning Comrade’s attempt to remember the unrealized possibilities embedded in the 1988 peace accords. Jennifer Wenzel has theorized an ‘anti-colonial nostalgia’, one not simply invested in recovering ideals of the past but committed to both recovering ideals and coming to terms with their failures and shortcomings. As she describes it, anti-imperialist nostalgia holds in mind hope for changes that have yet to be realized, changes that were always yet to be realized. Anti-imperialist nostalgia acknowledges the past’s vision of the future, while recognizing the distance and the difference between that vision and the realities of the present. (2006, 7) This is ultimately ‘a desire not for a past moment in and for itself but rather for the past’s promise of an alternative present: the past’s future’ (2006, 17). Granma Nineteen stands as an evocative exercise in this specific kind of anti-imperial nostalgia. It at once peels back a kind of solidarity–nostalgia about Soviet involvement in Angola, and recuperates a more modest but perhaps more useful vision of internationalist friendship. This friendship is one rooted not in Soviet propaganda or on struggle ideology, but in a shared disaffection with the historical realities of socialist internationalism as lived out on the neighbourhood level, and forged through a ‘postrevolutionary disappointment’ that I have noted Millar (forthcoming) identifies in contemporary Cuban and Angolan intellectual and artistic discourse about the civil war. Such disappointment, as seen in works like the Angolan director Zézé Gamboa’s film O Herói (2004), demands interrogation of both the myths of internationalist solidarity often peddled by the governments involved and the continuities of the current MPLA dispensation with Portuguese colonialism (Millar forthcoming). The lovely irony is that such disappointment, which is perhaps inevitable when thinking about the distances at stake between, for instance, the USSR, Cuba and Angola, never mind governments and their people, may in fact lead to a kind of solidarity much closer to real friendship without jettisoning all of the ideals that animated the original internationalist impulse. It is worth noting that the children of Bishop’s Beach take up the revolutionary spirit and try to live by the example set by the Cuban and Soviet fighters when they plan their attack on the Mausoleum (‘Long live the revolution!’ the narrator tells his friends as their operation begins). From the Soviet side, Bilhardov recognizes and acts on a real kind of connection between his displacement in Angola and the 80

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impending displacement of the Bishop’s Beach community. Importantly too, his destruction of the Mausoleum leaves the body of Neto and his legacy intact – he adds as a P.S. to his letter to Granma Ninteen: ‘pleeze no forget tell your grandsun body of Komrad President Agostinho Neto is gud, away from explozhun’ (2014, 166). A recognition of the importance of Neto’s legacy remains even when the actual policies and projects they lead to are roundly critiqued. In the hands of Ondjaki, then, ‘remembering’ the destruction of an unfinished memorial raises the question of the past’s alternative futures, ones that did not come into being, but which nevertheless remain available for future use. This clearly has stakes for postwar urban struggle in Luanda, when – to recall – plans to finish the construction of the memorial were again put into motion and the Bishop’s Beach community came under threat of removal. Redesigning the waterfront area around the Island of Luanda, the Nova Marginal and Bishop’s Beach, to recall Oliveira, was part of the MPLA’s plan to make Luanda and Angola a spectacularly modern city and nation respectively; Oliveira notes that the first phase of this construction involved importing almost 3,000 palm trees from Miami and putting in massive lawns to be cared for by a specialized Irish company, with concomitant demolition of ‘inconveniently located slums’ (2015, 72). From this perspective, the imagined danger the Soviets posed to the Bishop’s Beach community may not only have become a way to engage with history but also presents a handy screen for thinking about what the impact of the then-contemporary MPLA reconstruction policies might be.14 The construction site in Bishop’s Beach would ultimately, by the time of the opening of what is officially called the Memorial Dr. Agostinho Neto in 2012, become a massive public park and museum complex stretching over eighteen hectares, offering, in addition to Neto’s sarcophagus, exhibition spaces, libraries and archives, and open space with outdoor grandstand seating for 2,000 people.15 The Bishop’s Beach community Ondjaki depicts, Moorman points out, ‘is nearly no more’ (2015, np). Such an eventuality raises questions about what happened to the people of Bishop’s Beach (did they end up in musseques like Boa Vista?) and challenges any overly optimistic reading of what Enwezor calls the ‘new urban politics’ of ‘occupation’ that we see in Ractliffe’s images and of which Ondjaki gives us a historically displaced fictional representation.16 Ondjaki himself does not seem unhappy with the final shape of the memorial; he writes in conversation with Moorman that ‘sincerely, I think they did well in concluding it, since it was there for such a long time waiting to be finished’ (2015, np). But even as he wishes for his children and grandchildren to attend cultural events at the complex, he notes that ‘as 81

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a citizen, I would like it if the planning for our present and our future (I refer to Luanda) were more carefully and more thoughtfully done’ (cited in Moorman 2015, np). If the people of Bishop’s Beach were willing to move, providing adequately for them to find new homes would be the minimum necessary for such care and thoughtfulness to be in evidence. To the extent these people were not willing, imagining a politics of occupation is more urgent than ever.

The work of art in the globally entangled city I have argued that Ractliffe and Ondjaki – through their varied engagements with the unfinished Neto memorial as it appeared around 2007 – help us to parse the intersection of ideological disorientation and emerging urban struggles in Luanda; and further that they help us to probe the ways in which the ‘debris’ of the past, as it gets integrated into the postwar cityscape, can help move towards different futures or perpetuate the exclusions of old. Ractliffe’s images point to a complex historical layering that forms contemporary Luanda, to those memories which both stick to and peel way from urban debris as it gets redeployed in postwar reconstruction schemes. They suggest how the present is intertwined with the past and the future in ways both troubling and potentially liberating, depending on how such temporal ‘entanglements’ (Nuttall 2009) get read and mobilized.17 Ondjaki’s novel also suggests that the passage of time cannot be measured in terms of progress but is rather recursive, becoming a creative recycling of the debris with and in which Luanda’s inhabitants live – a recycling in which pools of counterfactual or even fictional memory exist as an important but slippery resource for refashioning the future. As the notion of fictional memory reminds us, Ractliffe’s and Ondjaki’s works are of course artworks, and thus reflect as much the individual preoccupations and aesthetics of their artists as any ‘objective’ truth about postwar Luanda. Ractliffe addresses this directly in her comments about myth and the real cited above. From this perspective, it is important to point out that Ractliffe and Ondjaki, despite coming from quite diverse positions nationally and otherwise, share an interest in recovering at least some remnants of the internationalist solidarity which tied together the MPLA, Cuba, and the Eastern Bloc in the Cold War against UNITA, apartheid South Africa and the United States, among others. Like Achebe in the poem with which I began this chapter, they seem to want to find ways to celebrate Neto’s legacy, and to recognize the importance of the history of ‘Second’ and ‘Third’ world alliance for the present. Such an attitude is far from hegemonic in Angola, as we see in Ractliffe’s description of an encounter she had with a rural Angolan after she had 82

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completed Terreno Ocupado and began taking images of remote battlegrounds of the war. She writes: Just outside Viriambundo there is a building with three portraits painted on the wall: Fidel Castro, Agostinho Neto and Leonid Brezhnev. While I was photographing, a young man, a teacher from a school close by, came to talk to me. He was curious about why I would want an image of these three men. . . . He did not share my excitement about this image of the ‘holy trinity.’ He said that the war had gone on too long and now it had to be left behind, that Angola wanted to move forward and the future was about different things. (2010, 13) This young man’s desire to forget the past speaks to what Millar calls a ‘disappointment and exhaustion with wartime factions and ideological divides that have dominated the postindependence era’ (forthcoming, np). It also, as Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi argues in his assessment of this encounter, points to the need to take seriously diverse Angolan perspectives about what reconstruction should entail (2016, 8). Such demands for respite or for reframing are compelling and must come into the frame of analysis, certainly more fully than I have been able to do here. Yet they also intersect with the pressures towards amnesia leveraged by the new Angolan elite and their partners in countries which, whether erstwhile colonizers, neocolonizers or allies of the MPLA, now wish to shed such historical baggage to ensure Luanda’s smooth absorption into the logic of neo-liberal capital. Against these latter currents, I maintain, Ractliffe and Ondjaki’s artistic salvage operations remain crucial.

Notes 1 See the ‘História’ section on the official Memorial website (MAAN): www. maan.co.ao/memorial-agostinho-neto/historia/. (Accessed 14 November  2017). 2 As Cristina Udelsmann Rodrigues charts, the population of the city rapidly increased during the war to approximately four million inhabitants, coming from across the provinces and speaking multiple languages, with attendant challenges and possibilities (2007, 239–40). Marissa Moorman compellingly shows how Luanda became a melting pot for the postwar nation and its mussuques in particular the ‘kernel’ of national identity (2008, 54). On the state of Luanda’s infrastructure, see Oliveira (2015, 71) and Moorman (2008, 21). 3 Chloé Buire, who lucidly lays out dynamics of forced removals and other modes of suburbanization as part of the reconstruction process of Luanda,

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similarly notes that ‘In the old city [downtown], positive change is only imagined through radical “renovation” (i.e. razing the old bairros to build new shiny buildings for the elite and international visitors) from which only a minority benefit’ (2014, 299). 4 As Monica Popescu argues, the Cold War profoundly ‘shaped the choices and opportunities afforded African intellectuals at the time when their countries were struggling for independence or emerging as new states’ and yet has remained until very recently a ‘blindspot’ in this research (2014, 93). 5 This framing text and the whole exhibition can be seen at http://archive. stevenson.info/exhibitions/ractliffe/. (Accessed 14 November 2017). 6 ‘Aftermath’ is the title of the 2015 Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York) show that brings a selection of these three works together. See the exhibition website: www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/listings/2015/joractliffe. (Accessed 14 November 2017). 7 This vision of mapping is inspired by a comment from Enwezor about Ractliffe’s earlier works. He notes that ‘her photographic process is of slow accretion. Because the images have no framing device, many of her photographs take on visual qualities that are akin to techniques of mapping, planning and surveillance. These result in images that appear as continuous strips of film and individual frames in which the temporal and spatial relationships between the images are consciously collapsed’ (2009, 87). 8 Information regarding the arrangement and rearrangement of images, and how these overlap with and diverge from the ordering presented on the Stevenson website, comes from a personal interview with Jo Ractliffe (26 September 2017). While my focus in this chapter is on the exhibition, Ractliffe also published a Terreno Occupado volume, which presents the images in another order. See Ractliffe (2008). 9 According to a 2007 Human Rights Watch report: ‘While the government claims that it is trying to improve living conditions in Luanda, it is, in fact, making such conditions worse for the most economically vulnerable by evicting thousands of them and by depriving them of the necessary assistance to help the evictees reestablish elsewhere’ (2007, 7). Human Rights Watch summarizes: ‘In violation of Angola’s own laws and its international human rights obligations, the government has destroyed houses, crops and residents’ personal possessions without due process and has rarely provided compensation’, leaving ‘many individuals homeless and destitute with no access to legal remedy’ (2007, 2). Oliveira (2015) and Buire (2014, 294) also mention this report. 10 This is somewhat in the vein of Stoler’s discussion of a showcase hospital built by Pinochet as a ‘modernist ruin’ (2013, 21). 11 As Ikechukwu Casmir Onyewuenyi notes, Ractliffe often puts humans in the frame by leaving them out of it, to the side, at an angle (2016, 4). He notes that ‘her photographs capture the fragility of intimate exchanges between structures past their heyday and the space that continue to inhabit them’ (Onyewuenyi 2016, 4). 12 The reference given for the ‘rocket’ architecture of the Mausoleum at present has nothing to do with Sputnik, for instance, and becomes rather a poem entitled ‘A Caminho das Estrelas’ from Neto’s famous revolutionary poetry collection Sacred Hope. See www.maan.co.ao/memorial-agostinhoneto/historia/. (Accessed 14 November 2017). More generally, and as

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Ractliffe herself has underscored, Neto seems to ‘serve as a screen for Dos Santos’ which can legitimize his (mis)rule (personal interview Ractliffe, 26 September 2017). 13 Information about the Fortaleza is drawn from the AfroTourism website “Fortaleza de Sao Miguel” and from Angola Informa’s webpage ‘Museum of Armed Forces’ . (Both accessed 14 November  2017). 14 In this, I disagree with Moorman, who suggests that the novel is not about contemporary changes to Luanda but rather ‘captures a moment in the 1980s that foresees some of today’s urban thunder’ (2015, np). 15 This information is drawn for the ‘História’ section of the MAAN website, noted above. You can take a ‘virtual visit’ to the memorial here: www.maan.co.ao/memorial-agostinho-neto/visita-virtual/. (Accessed 14 November 2017). 16 Sadly, Bishop’s Beach is not the only community that ‘is no more’. Ractliffe has noted that the Roque Santiero market she photographed so evocatively has also been razed (personal communication, 26 September 2017). 17 As Ractliffe notes about Terreno Ocupado: ‘I was very aware of the past within the present, as if what I was looking at was a screen for something else. And this is what I’ve wanted to work with in these images’ (2009, 65).

References Achebe, Chinua. 1990 [1981]. ‘Agostinho Neto’. Callaloo 13.1: 73. Buire, Chloé. 2014. ‘The Dream and the Ordinary: An Ethnographic Investigation of the Suburbanization of Luanda’. African Studies 73:2: 290–312. Enwezor, Okwui. 2009. ‘Exodus of the Dogs’. NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art 25: 78–95. Human Rights Watch. 2007. ‘They Pushed Down the Houses’. Forced Evictions and Insecure Land Tenure for Luanda’s Urban Poor 19: 7(A). Lisiak, Agata A. 2009. ‘Disposable and Usable Pasts in Central European Cities’. Culture Unbound 1: 431–52. Metropolitan Museum of Art. 2015. ‘The Aftermath of Conflict: Jo Ractliffe’s Photographs of Angola and South Africa’ (www.metmuseum.org/exhibi tions/listings/2015/jo-ractliffe (accessed 6 October 2017)). Millar, Lanie. Forthcoming 2018. ‘Postwar Politics in O Herói and Kangamba’. In The Global South Atlantic, edited by Kerry Bystrom and Joseph R. Slaughter. New York: Fordham UP. Moorman, Marissa J. 2008. Intonations: A Social History of Music and Nation in Luanda, Angola, From 1945 to Recent Times. Athens, OH: Ohio UP. ———. 2015. ‘A Geography of Times and Affect’. Chimurenga Chronic (http://chimurengachronic.co.za/a-geography-of-times-and-affects/ (accessed 6 October 2017)). Nuttall, Sarah. 2009. Entanglement: Literary and Cultural Reflections on Postapartheid. Johannesburg: Wits UP.

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Oliveira, Ricardo Soares de. 2015. Magnificent and Beggar Land: Angola Since the Civil War. London: Hurst and Oxford University Press. Ondjaki. 2003 [2000]. Good Morning Comrades. Translated by Stephan Henighan. Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis. ———. 2014 [2008]. Granma Nineteen and the Soviet’s Secret. Translated by Stephen Henighan. Windsor, Ontario: Biblioasis. Onyewuenyi, Ikechukwu Casmir. 2016. ‘Where Do Myths Lie? Considering the Imaginary in Jo Ractliffe’s Landscapes of Conflict’. Afterimage 43.5: 2–8. Popescu, Monica. 2014. ‘On the Margins of the Black Atlantic: Angola, the Eastern Bloc and the Cold War’. Research in African Literatures 45.3: 91–109. Ractliffe, Jo. 2007. ‘Terreno Ocupado’ (http://archive.stevenson.info/exhibi tions/ractliffe/ (accessed 6 October 2017)). ———. 2008. Terreno Ocupado. Johannesburg: Warren Siebrits. ———. 2009. ‘Introduction: Terreno Ocupado; Extracts From Letters to Okwui, November 2007’. NKA: Journal of Contemporary African Art 25: 62–77. ———. 2010. As Terras do Fim do Mundo. Cape Town: Michael Stevenson. ———. 2015. The Borderlands. Barcelona: RM Verlag. Rodrigues, Cristina Udelsmann. 2007. ‘From Family Solidarity to Social Classes: Urban Stratification in Angola (Luanda and Ondjiva)’. Journal of Southern African Studies 33.2: 235–50. Stoler, Ann Laura. 2013. ‘ “The Rot Remains”: From Ruins to Ruination’. In Imperial Debris: On Ruins and Ruination, edited by Laura Ann Stoler, 1–33. Durham, NC: Duke UP. Wenzel, Jennifer. 2006. ‘Remembering the Past’s Future: Anti-Imperialist Nostalgia and Some Versions of the Third World’. Cultural Critique 62: 1–32. Westad, Odd Arne. 2005. The Global Cold War: Third World Interventions and the Making of Our Times. Cambridge: Cambridge UP.

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5 GENTRIFICATION IN RIO Multiple trajectories and narratives in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas after ‘pacification’ policies Kleber Mendonça

In his last visit to Rio de Janeiro, the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman was invited for an interview with a Brazilian cable TV channel at a favela in the Southern zone of the city. A brief description of the favela as staged for and represented in this interview may provide a good overview of the contemporary complexity of such places, and may also demonstrate the multiplicity of social actors intervening there and their diverse appropriations of these spaces. The place chosen for the interview was the Bar do David, located at the entry point of Chapéu Mangueira Hill, in the district of Leme, Southern Zone of Rio de Janeiro. The restaurant has already been granted several food awards, and most of its clients are middle-class people not living in favelas, in addition to Brazilian and foreign tourists. A quick look to the tables inside it shows that only a few inhabitants of the neighbourhood tend to eat in the restaurant. The interviewer is a young community organizer living in a neighbourhood called Alemão Complex, a set of favelas in a Rio suburb (which were some of the first ones to be ‘pacified’ by the state forces), who was hired by the cable TV channel precisely on account of his local activism. During the interview, one may observe different inhabitants from the local community: two young left-wing leaders, a grey-haired elderly man, a traditional and evangelical activist, and a university researcher in social sciences who lives downtown and who is observing the events as part of his field research. During the interview, as we move outside the bar through the street leading to one of the major accesses to the favela, we may see another heterogeneous group of social actors, all of them living in that place: many 87

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children amusing themselves with a variety of activities, middle-age women coming back home with grocery bags, workers of both genders walking down the hill for another working day, and shirtless young people listening to ‘funk’ music from their mobile phones as they are wandering around or going to enjoy the beach on that sunny afternoon. We also see some policemen from the Pacifying Police Unit, who patrol the surrounding area wielding their guns. Despite such obvious surveillance, when panning out we can easily see the drug dealing that still occurs in Rio de Janeiro’s ‘pacified’ favelas. Among the various figures on view, one may also identify tourists (foreign citizens for the most part) who are visiting the favela, or decided to be accommodated in new hostels available there. This new flow of tourists shades into a somewhat prior group of foreigners who were seduced by the place and became inhabitants some time ago. As happens in many other Rio de Janeiro favelas, the formation process of Chapéu Mangueira Hill itself was actually started by migrants from inner regions of the states of Rio and Minas Gerais, and then later by North-Eastern migrants. Thus, we may note that the territorialization processes triggered in the favela were, from the very start, influenced by the migratory flows that characterized different historical moments. This short vision of the city as seen through Bauman’s TV interview reveals what Doreen Massey (2008) calls a ‘coetaneous trajectory of storiesso-far’. These various trajectories shown above, although occurring in a specific favela of the city, point to the complexity of different territorial appropriation processes by multiple social actors currently occurring throughout Rio de Janeiro. Massey thinks of space as a product of relations-between, as material practices going on in a vast range of simultaneity of stories-so-far. An understanding of the diverse encounters (and mismatches) revealed in the Bauman interview sets us up – by way of contrast – to see how the specific representations of these appropriation processes can become crucial to the consolidation of certain, and partial, visions of the city, especially with regard to the favelas.

Porosity and gentrification: new narratives of Rio de Janeiro (carioca) favelas Building from the complexity of the contemporary scenario sketched above, this chapter intends to challenge mainstream journalistic narratives, specifically of TV reports broadcast by RJTV – 1st edition, a TV Globo local news show, in their representation of Rio de Janeiro. Such critical probing is important in the contemporary moment, when Rio de Janeiro is undergoing so many transformations, regarding both space and access to voice. Among other features of such changes, we may note a series of 88

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encounters (and mismatches) among inhabitants of Northern cities and their Southern counterparts in this Southern city that constantly wishes to become a ‘global’ one. The following analysis is based on a systematic review of TV reports done as part of a broader research project, carried out in the Communication Postgraduate Program at the Fluminense Federal University (UFF), and focuses on shows broadcast from 2010–14. In recent years in Rio de Janeiro, local inhabitants have been experiencing transformations implemented by the government on a more or less democratic basis, with full support from the press. The major reasons given for these changes are the need to enable the city to host several mega-events within a short period. The most significant examples are the football World Cup that took place in Brazil in 2014 and the Olympic Games held in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. And within this horizon of spectacular and global attractions, various news shows have created what one might call an ‘inevitability discourse’. Here, one singular narrative of the city is constantly presented: the future of the city depends on successful performance of the mega-events. The hegemonic TV argument further implies that, in order to ‘deserve’ to host such events, the city must undergo a series of drastic changes – even if these changes could bring harm to a significant portion of population and particularly to the most disenfranchized. Two crucial aspects superposed to each other in this discourse should be discussed in deeper detail. The first is the way governmental authorities think about the city’s favelas, and the second is the growing gentrification process in several districts, including some favelas. This phenomenon is also clearly motivated by the presence, in favelas, of inhabitants from ‘Northern cities’, either as migrants or as occasional visitors (tourists). As to the first aspect, the discourse exhibits a ‘narrative consensus’ where the city’s favelas become the main ‘focus’ threatening the mega-events. Such an argument gets justified by the marked presence of drug dealers inside favela territories. As a result of this ‘narrative consensus’, we started seeing, in the last few years, a series of military actions for ‘pacifying’ favelas and, consequently, the city of Rio de Janeiro itself. As an example of such a strategy, one may refer to an RJTV feature shown on 20 November 2011, the day after the occupation of Mangueira Hill. Mangueira Hill is one of the most emblematic favelas in the city due to the well-known Samba School, and because it is the birthplace of several traditional Brazilian composers including Cartola and Nelson Sargento. After presenting some information on consequences of the occupation, RJTV discloses the records of a conversation held in a building on the top of the hill. While we see the Maracanã stadium (then undergoing renovation works for the 2014 World Cup) in the background, we listen to the conversation between Hélter Duarte, the 89

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reporter, and Rodrigo Pimentel, officer in the Special Operations Forces (BOPE) and commentator on public safety issues for the show: (Hélter Duarte): Major Nunes has in his hands equipment that will provide a slightly better understanding of the relevance of pacifying Mangueira, right here. . . . What equipment is this? What does it serve to do? (Major Nunes): Basically, this equipment measures the distance from one point to another. For example, I will measure how far from Maracanã this site where we are is. (While we see the Major placing the equipment to the direction of the stadium, which is visibly close, the reporter proceeds with his narrative) (Hélter Duarte): . . . We are at the top of the favela, which, before pacification, was ruled by drug dealers, by criminals. We are in front of Maracanã, which will host the 2014 World Cup, as well as the 2016 Olympic Games. (RJTV, 20 June 2011) The interview demonstrates how journalistic sources end up complementing the role assigned to the police occupation: the production of evidence underscores the relevance of the actions adopted by the government. The upcoming world sport events and the proximity between risky places and the places for games are discursive arguments that ended up being constantly reiterated by the local TV journalism. And precisely this type of argument will contribute to putting in movement, in the city, a specific flow of people from different parts of the world, as well as the arrival of assets and the exchange of symbolic goods. This discursive scenario set out in the RJTV broadcast illustrates the symbolic role of information vehicles in the (re)urbanization process of Rio de Janeiro city, which is particularly perceived in the way urban violence issues are addressed by such organs. It seems clear that the press became a powerful discursive operator intended to legitimate the intervention of government or public power into these spaces, as well as serving to provide symbolic evidence to ensure a consensus on the (violent) form of how this intervention should be implemented. While measuring the distance between the favela and Maracanã, as happens in the brief example cited above, the reporter, the commentator on public safety issues and the policeman illustrate this transformation of hegemonic narratives relating to the city’s favelas. Here, Mangueira Hill no longer appears as a flourishing site for the city’s cultural life, but rather becomes a focus of threat against the mega-events and the ‘global city’. 90

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These locations are of course more complex and full of life, as we already saw from the example of the Bauman interview with which this chapter opened. To illustrate this further, we may refer to the lyrics of a song composed by Chico Buarque about Rio de Janeiro, and specifically about Mangueira Hill: ‘Derradeira Estação’ (‘Last Station’). The title is a pun involving Mangueira Hill’s Samba School, Mangueira First Station, a reference to the station used by the trains that transport people to the city’s suburbs. Rio of ramps/ Cross-roads’ civilization/ Each Cliff is a nation/ In its way/ With robbers/ Washerwomen, honor, traditions/ Frontiers, heavy weapons/ St. Sebastian all riddled/Cloud my vision/ In the night of the great/ Wild fire pit/ I want to see Mangueira/ Last station/ I want to see its Batucada, hey, hey. Rio of the borderless side/Citizens/Completely crazy/With flow of reason/ In their way/ In shorts/With flags without explanation/Currents of damn passion/St. Sebastian all riddled/Cloud my vision/ In the night of the great/ Wild fire pit/ I want to see Mangueira/Last station/ I want to see its Batucada, hey, hey. (Chico Buarque, ‘Derradeira Estação’) The lyrics written by the local composer emphasize a spatial peculiarity that appears to define the geography of some Rio de Janeiro favelas: its chaotic multiplicity. This is something we may perhaps better understand if we bear in mind Walter Benjamin’s analysis of Naples, with a particular reference to the category of ‘porosity’, as defined by him for a tentative conception of the ambiguities of the Italian city of the ‘South’: In such corners one can scarcely discern where building is still in progress and where dilapidation has already set in. For nothing is included . . . each private attitude or act is permeated by streams of communal life. To exist, for the Northern European the most private of affairs, is here . . . a collective matter. . . . Here too, there is interpenetration of day and night, noise and peace, outer light and inner darkness, street and home. (Benjamin 1979, 170, 174, 175) Although Benjamin is obviously referring to populations from Southern Italy, there is an analogy with dialogues, encounters and mismatches between populations from North and South within contemporary global cities. What we could call the ‘carioca porosity’ of Rio de Janeiro favelas is helpful in understanding how the confusion between public and private 91

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spaces in those places may also allow inhabitants to find creative solutions to the legacies of histories of neglect and underdevelopment. A good example of this kind of solution lies in the feeling of association which is always so present in favelas. Many of the positive developments accomplished through struggle by favela inhabitants were due to collective partnerships, such as the so-called mutirões (mutual-aid groups), rather than to capitalist or individual initiatives. In the mutirões, during the weekend, inhabitants meet at a party to help neighbours in building or refurbishing their houses (or parts of the little alleys that run through the favelas). Then, everybody eats and celebrates the work with a meal offered by the house’s owner (usually a feijoada – a traditional Brazilian beanbased dish). As the state started ‘pacifying’ actions at favelas located in the Southern zone of Rio, this associative feeling was gradually replaced by state actions that encourage inhabitants’ private individual entrepreneurship. Such stimulation results in a loss of these partnerships, with another ‘benefit’ for government in this current moment of huge crisis (both in the economy and politics): a transfer of liabilities for unemployment. The search for paid occupation and financial survival is no longer a state responsibility, but a mission to be accomplished by the inhabitant himself, who is supposed to become an ‘entrepreneur citizen’. An example of how these aspects are linked is the stimulus for the creation of individual micro-enterprises promoted by the state in the favelas. Thus, the state has given up the duty to create conditions of employment for all, to encourage individuals themselves to be responsible for their livelihoods as small entrepreneurs. When they were stimulated into an individual search for their own sustenance, the inhabitants of the favela no longer had time to dedicate themselves to the actions of partnership among the residents, as was the tradition of the mutirões. In other words, the state exchanges the obligation to generate employment opportunities for its citizens for an argument of free initiative, even if the demand for these entrepreneurs’ workforce is not stimulated by the same state. But there is something else about this ‘carioca porosity’ which is of interest, particularly in terms of helping us to think about a second aspect proposed here: the growing gentrification of some of Rio de Janeiro’s favelas. We can invoke here the definition of spatial practices by the British geographer Doreen Massey: First, that we recognize space as the product of interrelations; as constituted through interactions. . . . Second, that we understand space as the sphere of the possibility of the existence of multiplicity in the sense of contemporaneous plurality; as the sphere in which distinct trajectories coexist; as the sphere therefore of coexisting 92

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heterogeneity. . . . Third, that we recognize space as always under construction. (Massey 2005, 9) Spatial practices are accordingly always relational, meaning that the space of cities is constituted and constantly transformed by something that Massey defines as a lived character and is under constant transformation. I would share her position that spatial practices are also a ‘simultaneity of stories so far’ (2005, 10). If we consider today’s Rio de Janeiro, where the transformations proposed as a legacy from mega-events have been implemented only in part, a series of encounters (and mismatches) can be seen to happen in and around Rio’s favelas, through the growing presence of visitors and new foreign inhabitants. What, then, is the result of this new coexistence of trajectories, and the narratives about and in the city that it produces? When responding to this question, among other aspects, one should focus on the most threatening issue: the gentrification of some of the city’s most relevant districts. In his analysis of a specific case relating to the urban transformation of New York City during the second half of the twentieth century, Neil Smith (2002) makes use of the concept of gentrification as a way to understand the complex process of urban space global management. As he emphasizes, a new global policy is transforming public spaces into targets of a ‘ruling’ intervention under the public-private ‘partnership’. The example of Manhattan serves as a representative symbol of what would later become a global strategy for ‘urban planning’. Such a phenomenon of city management would produce two consequences. The first is the conceptual expansion of public space, shaped to meet the needs of and to legitimate ‘private initiative’ interests as a natural consequence of the contemporary transformation process of the city. The discourse should materialize such ‘inevitability’ by employing the euphemistic term ‘revitalization’, as applied to urban spaces. As to the second consequence, the ‘private’ management of ‘public’ space ends up by transforming a creative and dynamic portion of the population into a residual bar to progress, and one which need to be removed (Smith 2002). The present study does not intend to apply the Manhattan case to Rio de Janeiro (and to the favelas thereof). What raises our real interest is Smith’s argument that, in the past fifty years, the appreciation (and ‘revitalization’) phenomenon of areas deemed as ‘degraded’ no longer happens on a localized and almost ‘spontaneous’ basis. Nowadays gentrification has become a global, capitalist strategy of urban planning. A good example would be how the phenomenon is disseminated throughout several cities, both Northern and Southern, particularly those that intend to be inserted into the global 93

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market of urban tourism (besides Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City and Barcelona, for instance). In terms of the two major consequences from this capitalist strategy of city management that Smith documents, we note that the narrative of the RJTV news show under consideration here posits or constructs the private management of public space as the natural result of the contemporary transformation process undergone by the city. This is the precise reason why the euphemistic word ‘revitalization’ appears so often in the broadcast. In the case of favelas considered as ‘dangerous’, ‘privatization’ takes place, among other things, through the reduction of narratives about the inhabited spaces to matters relating to ‘safety at games’, as shown above. Another illustration can be seen in the case of Alzira Street (popularly known as ‘Alzirão’) and of Fifa Fun Fest at Copacabana beach, during the 2014 World Cup. Alzira Brandão Street, located in the Tijuca District, Northern Zone of Rio, is a traditional place for local people to watch football games played by the Brazilian team during World Cups. This has been a collective (associative) initiative from inhabitants of this region since the tournament of 1978. For instance, during the 2006 World Cup in Germany, 35,000 supporters watched the Brazilian team being defeated by the French. Nevertheless, during the 2014 World Cup, FIFA decided to forbid the use by this party’s organizers of the ‘Copa 2014’ brand in their activities. They then changed the name to ‘Brasil 2014’, and FIFA deliberated once more to forbid the use of this new designation, as it was registered as the entity’s ‘private property’. In other words: the mere use of the country’s name for the organization of the party was forbidden. The Municipality of Rio even considered the possibility of forbidding use of that public space by supporters, and the basic authorization for the entire event was only granted a few days before the tournament. Concomitantly, and in contrast to the sentiment of association prevailing at Alzirão, the municipality assigned to FIFA the management of part of the sands at Copacabana beach for organizing a FIFA Fun Fest. This space had a capacity for twenty thousand supporters and a giant screen. Although entrance was free, the access of supporters was controlled by FIFA. As opposed to Alzirão, which was marked by the strong presence of local inhabitants, the FIFA Fun Fest was in the end mostly occupied by foreign supporters, as well as many Brazilians from other locations. Another example of this kind of private management of public spaces can be seen in the prohibition of demonstrations or protests in the vicinity of stadiums on game days. The authorities alleged that such decisions were taken for the sake of supporters’ safety. Nevertheless, the sale of beverages by bars located in the stadiums’ surrounding areas was also prohibited. Thus, supporters could only buy beverages from the tournament’s 94

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sponsors inside the stadiums. It is worth remembering that in Brazil, no alcoholic beverage can be sold inside stadiums during football matches, but this law was temporarily ‘revoked’ only for the World Cup games. The second consequence of general gentrification in Smith’s argument, as cited above, is the transformation of a significant portion of the population into a residual obstacle which is seen to demand removal. We see this in the phenomenon of favela inhabitants’ evacuation at the precise moment when these places acquire a ‘positive’ visibility in news shows. At the same time, favelas located in the Southern Zone of Rio have received a growing number of tourists, especially coming from European countries. In the daily life of favelas of the Southern Zone, we can find many different modalities of foreign presence (or gringos, as they are ‘affectionately’ called by inhabitants). The ‘favela tour’ is one of the most traditional and controversial kinds of foreign presence inside favelas. It is a visit by car, more similar to a safari through the streets of the main favelas. There are stops for photos and ‘interaction’ with inhabitants. Another modality of tourism that is gradually being expanded is so-called ‘experience tourism’, where visitors hire local guides – the inhabitants of favelas – for a ‘closer look’ at life and spaces in this environment. This practice has led to a growing number of hostels, managed by inhabitants or foreigners who purchase houses in those places, as well as to favela Tourist Guides who also act as individual businesspersons. There are also a growing number of foreigners opting for Rio de Janeiro Southern Zone’s favelas as their domicile, either on a provisional or more permanent basis. With these developments, Doreen Massey’s account of coetaneous trajectories becomes more explicit in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas.

Discursive gentrification Narratives from TV journalism have played a major role in constructing ‘evidence’ of truths that guide the interpretation of and social understandings about the multiple and polyphonic coetaneous trajectories of contemporary urban life in Rio de Janeiro. In this respect, it is possible to construct an analogic resource for thinking the role of journalism in the ‘pacification’ years: the city of Rio de Janeiro is watching, on news coverage, a moment of ‘discursive gentrification’ in relation to the city’s favelas. This phenomenon involves two complementary aspects. There is a certain hegemonic way of interpreting the city, which reflects the management of its spaces. The journalistic narratives about the city come to be shaped or controlled by private interests, and to promote a singular vision of the city with regard to its inhabitants and its future. In addition, there is a symbolic displacement of the ‘sources’ of news, especially 95

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in relation to ‘post-pacification’ favela inhabitants: the portrayed characters are more often the ‘new inhabitants’ and ‘new visitors’ to the areas, most of them foreigners and people from Northern cities. Finally, it is possible to note a growing silence from former favela community leaders, whose image is associated by the press with drug trafficking. This kind of silencing becomes obvious in the journalistic coverage provided by RJTV as regards the occupation of Rocinha (the biggest favela in the city) by state forces on 13 November 2011. As shown in a news feature on the day after ‘pacification’, the inhabitants invited to give recorded interviews summarized the actions performed the night before, and celebrated the police measures. On that Monday after the Rocinha ‘occupation’, the news show is broadcast live from the streets of the community. At the entrance to the favela, we see the then-hostess Ana Paula Araújo, commentator Rodrigo Pimentel and the whole staff of journalists. During the different parts of the show, the hostess walks through the streets of the community wearing a bulletproof vest, and starts talking with the individuals nearby who are watching the transmission. As she returns to the third part of the show, Ana Paula Araújo walks through the entrance to the favela, and talks with some pedestrians: (The hostess, Ana Paula, walks towards two young women in front of the shop where they work. She reports): See how the situation is becoming normal here, in Rocinha. The shops are open, and operate in peace. (Question to one of the shopkeepers): Is everything operating on a normal basis? (The first one answers): Everything normal (nervous laugh) (Ana Paula): How are the conditions today here, in the community? (The second source answers): All right, thank God. We have nothing at all to complain about (the tone of voice discloses a complete lack of concern). (Ana Paula): Hopeful about what is going to happen? (The second source practically refrains from answering, and shrugs her shoulders as if to indicate it does not represent an issue for her): . . . yes . . .’ (Ana Paula): And as to the ‘movimento’ [‘rhythm of activities’], how are they? (After a pause, the second source answers): . . . the rhythm of activities . . . is still slow . . . (Ana Paula): But will it be improved? (The second source): For sure, it will. 96

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(Ana Paula puts another question to the first source): Do you live and work here? (The first source): I live in Caxias and work here. (Ana Paula): Did you come today for work? Do you feel calm? (Source) Calm, we are really not afraid (laughs). (RJTV, 14 November 2011) As shown by the conversation above, the hostess’s euphoria is not exactly shared by the sellers, who seem to be more excited about the possibility of appearing in a television interview than the ‘pacification’ actions on which they were expected to comment. Their speeches end up leading to an implicit perception that the issue of fear did not have a great impact on their lives, even before the police action took place. In view of such answers, all the hostess could do was to resume her walk, in search of other inhabitants whose reactions would be more compatible with the words pronounced by the TV news show. This dialogue reveals, although with slight nuances, an imbalance between the sentences as proposed by the hostess and the answers actually provided. In response to the reporter’s expectation of obtaining from the sources a confirmation of changes, it is possible to note a hesitation from the characters, who were more interested in stating in public their fearless life inside a community. Such a mismatch points to a key class fissure between voices coming from two different places of enunciation. On the one hand, there is an inhabitant of a more disfavoured (and violent) region, to whom walking through such an environment does not represent a surprise or threat. On the other hand, there is a journalist making her best efforts to demonstrate the implementation of changes, even if the only visible evidence of this ‘transformation’ is her own astonishment at being ‘finally’ able to circulate in peace in the same areas where her (frightened) middle-class view previously allowed her only to visualize material danger. There is also a revealing terminological confusion in this interview. The use of the expression ‘rhythm of activities’ by the journalist, relating to the shop where the interviewed women work, is followed by a brief hesitant pause from the interviewees. Notwithstanding the idiomatic polysemy, we are reminded of the lesson from Pêcheux, according to whom ‘the sense may always be another one, but it is never just any one’ (Pêcheux 1997) and accordingly stress that the expression ‘rhythm of activities’ is used in Rio de Janeiro communities to refer to the operations of drug trafficking. In our visits to favelas as part of our field research, there is a high frequency of use of this term, particularly when the inhabitants prefer avoiding the word ‘trafficking’. Therefore, the brief hesitant silence from the favela inhabitant in the RJTV interview may demonstrate a semantic disharmony 97

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between the answer as desired by the journalist (the rhythm of the shop’s activities was improved thanks to the police action) and the doubt shown by the interviewed as to the ‘opinion’ she would be expected to provide (that either the rhythm of drug traffic is over or the rhythm of sales at shops is slow, but will be improved). At any event, through the dynamics of silencing highlighted here, the major product from this ‘orchestrated disharmony’ is a brutal displacement of the voices of carioca favela inhabitants. The kinds of ‘invitations’ to take part in the (re)urbanization process – and its concomitant (re)ordering of the senses – provided by the RJTV hostess Ana Paula Araújo grants certain voices resonance, co-opting or attempting to co-opt them in order to reinforce the desired narrative of ‘pacification’ and ‘revitalization’, and renders the stories of other kinds of inhabitants mute. As disclosed by the broadcasts under analysis, the traditional community leaders were emphatically not chosen as sources of news about ‘pacification’ actions. Such a selection bias represents the silencing of a vast trajectory of struggle and achievement for hundreds of inhabitants who, thanks to huge sacrifices, overcame years of oppression, invisibility and neglect to develop creative survival strategies in these communities. They had also called for the presence of the state inside their territories, if on a precarious basis and in quite a different way – for instance, in the form of child day care centres and health centres, as well as improvement in local infrastructure. Such silencing is the central operation of the concept of discursive gentrification as understood here: only those who accept being represented as victims of the violence, and are also grateful for the state’s ‘pacifying’ action, can be portrayed as ‘legitimate’ favela inhabitants. Consequently, in the discourse, these same characters play passive roles in the development of recent ‘pacification actions’ and in the transformation of their living places. As it emphasizes speech from inhabitants who are grateful for the state that gave them back ‘their’ territory, the RJTV broadcast seems to demonstrate to middleclass people the inevitability of ‘revitalization’ processes in the city. This same discursive movement prescribes to the most disenfranchized individuals a set of mandatory behavioural rules for inhabitants who ‘deserve’ to live in a pacified community. In response to contemporary concerns about criminality and fear, Alessandro Baratta (1994) contends that citizens should dispense with the role of ‘spectators’ (in the double sense prevailing nowadays: spectators of media and of the political world, in part through those same media) in order to become ‘actors’. From this perspective, and while disguised as good news, the ‘pacifications’ in Rio de Janeiro trigger a double threat to inhabitants. On one hand, there is a discursive appeal to keep them in the position of ‘passive spectators’ of historical movements put in place for 98

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their salvation, and in which the starring roles are played by the police, the state and the press. On the other hand, there is a required performance of ‘activity-partnerships’ that reproduce this moral (and disciplinary) expectation, as required by the urbanization and transformation (for which we can also read: gentrification) projects of spaces in the city. In addition to silencing historical leaders of carioca favelas, the discursive construction of a myth about the repossession of the favelas by the public power of the state also intends to hide something else: the fact that the constant, precarious and contradictory presence of the state itself in these places is also a relevant source of violence in contemporary times. The way in which the repossession of the Rocinha territories is addressed by TV news as a ‘historical moment’ is intended to demonstrate that, because of the ‘pacification actions’, Rio de Janeiro is undergoing a kind of discursive rupture in the sense proposed by Foucault (1981) – one that hides inside new narratives an important and structural continuity in the dominant pattern of things.1 This rupture is meant to eliminate the opinions that attributed a role in the problematic phenomenon of violence to the complex and contradictory state presence in the favelas. Within the new gentrification discourse charted here, one should no longer mention the maintenance of the same old practices of criminal subjugation (Misse 2008), the ongoing incapacity shown by state agents (Kant de Lima 1996) acting to manage conflicts in carioca ‘pacified’ favelas, as well as the complex and promiscuous relationship between some police officials and drug dealers. According to Michel Misse, it is the kind of State ‘presence’ (under the form of discretionary power granted to the police and its collaborators, informers and telltales, and of dealings between policemen and criminals), rather than the lack thereof, that represents one of the main focusses of confrontation, violence and riots inside favelas, housing developments and disfavoured districts of Rio de Janeiro [translation and emphasis mine]. (Misse 2008, 30) This description refers to an aspect usually omitted from journalistic coverage of ‘pacification actions’: the fact that most weapons employed by drug dealers are sold to them by state agents, more particularly by policemen. The work of Misse (2008) and Kant de Lima (1996) supports the argument that to really understand the issue concerning contemporary urban violence in Rio de Janeiro, it is necessary to see such illegal transactions between policemen and drug dealers as further (and major) evidence of the 99

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constant and contradictory state presence inside the communities. In other words, a precarious state presence condemns the communities to a double marginality: an impaired access to the resources from and the benefits of citizenship, and the ‘privilege’ of being the preferred destination of weapons and drugs by virtue of the behaviour of those who should represent the law itself. The repeatedly celebrated ‘repossession’ of the favelas is intended precisely to disguise these continuities, even as they persist in structuring interactions in the favelas after the ‘pacification’ moment under analysis here. One example which shows the persistence of such patterns is the torture and disappearance of the mason Amarildo Dias de Souza, who was arrested by military policemen at home in the Rocinha favela in June 2013. This event occurred only one year and a half after the discourse adopted by RJTV hosts in a live transmission that ‘ordained’ the extinction of drug trafficking. The broadcasts analyzed in this chapter show a set of key patterns in contemporary processes of urban (re)territorialization and in discourses about the city. If it is possible to conceive of cities as arenas for coetaneous encounters and for practices of space and sense-making, and to understand, as Bakhtin (1986) did, that discourse is always polyphonic and dialogic, it is necessary to ask further questions about the consequences of such transformations.2 Detailing the first movement towards the gentrification of Soho and the Village in Manhattan, Neil Smith (2002) indicates the arrival of artists and intellectuals in those areas. It is a process that produces new conditions and contradictions of mobility and discursive position. The ‘pacification’ of the favelas in the Southern Zone of Rio de Janeiro is similarly allowing a series of encounters (and mismatches) between – to recall Massey (2005) – trajectories and ‘stories-so-far’. Will this heterogeneity help promote, whether desired or not, the expulsion of traditional inhabitants from Rio’s favelas? Or, will these encounters (and mismatches) between former and new inhabitants allow the emergence of new urban practices? Will it be possible for new initiatives of association to flourish beyond the (discursive, economic and political) limits imposed by the state and by the mainstream media? If the answer to this last question is affirmative, perhaps the inhabitants of Rio will be able to expand still further the polysemy and polyphony of this city whose river of chaotic, beautiful and contradictory images shall never be pacified.

Notes 1 Foucault developed the notion of discursive rupture as an event that, from the discursive point of view, is capable of effecting some kind of destabilization of the hegemonic meanings at work in a particular historical moment.

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2 Bakhtin’s theories of the dialogic and polyphony state that discourses are built by multiple points of view and voices. Furthermore, each narrative structure presupposes an interlocution with others, for whom (or against whom) the discourses are directed (Bakhtin 1986).

References Bakhtin, Mikhail. 1986. Marxism and the Philosophy of Language. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Baratta, Alessandro. 1994. ‘Filósofo de uma Criminologia Crítica’. In Midia e Violência, edited by Silvia Ramos. Rio de Janeiro: FAPERJ. Benjamin, Walter. 1979. One-Way Street and Other Writings. Translated by Edmund Jephcott and Kingsley Shorter. London: NLB. Foucault, Michel. 1981. ‘The Order of Discourse’. In Untying the Text: A PostStructuralist Reader, edited by Robert Young, 48–78. Boston, MA, London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Kant de Lima, Roberto. 1996. ‘A administração dos conflitos no Brasil: a lógica da punição’. In Cidadania e Violência, edited by Gilberto Velho and Marcos Alvito. Rio de Janeiro: Ed. UFRJ/Ed. FGV. Massey, Doreen. 2005. For Space. London, New Delhi: Sage. Misse, Michel. 2008. Sobre a construção social do crime no Brasil: esboços de uma interpretação, in Acusados e Acusadores. Rio de Janeiro: Revan/Faperj. Pêcheux, Michel. 1997. Semântica e discurso: uma crítica à afirmação do óbvio. Campinas: Unicamp. Smith, Neil. 2002. ‘New Globalism, New Urbanism: Gentrification as Global Urban Strategy’. Antipode 34.3: 427–50.

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6 VILLAGE DELHI Pamila Gupta

The sound of Angelus bells Floats over those returning From evening walks across the fields. Oil-lamps are lit, the sunset fades to cricket-fiddled night. At the village shop, the labourers stop to drink and talk: F.X. Lobo’s boy has come to say goodbye to his grandmother before he goes abroad like all the others . . . cooks, engineers on the high seas, clerks in London, Nairobi – more lately, Abu Dhabi. They return for holidays, falter over the language, make fun of religion. Some emigrate to the graveyard or to alcohol’s Atlantis, but others go in search of work – the pigs take over their houses. —(Nazareth, ‘The Villagers’, in Nazareth 2010, 120)

In this chapter, I revisit the theme of Goa’s villages, less as tied to the distinctive history of the pre-Portuguese system of communally owned 103

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community properties (comunidades), although traces of that system still shape the layout and livelihoods of each of the 347 villages or aldeias that make up Goa today (Powell 2011, 84), but rather as places that are increasingly considered first or second homes for many urban South Asians and Westerners who are choosing alternative lifestyles in a multifaceted cosmopolitan place like India. The irony is that the return to the rural by these elite global citizens is in some sense a reverse migration to that undertaken (and hard-earned for some) by their parents, in the aftermath of colonial independence and Partition, to Northern cities like Delhi and Kolkata. As these planned urban centres become even more congested with people and things, certain mobile individuals (with disposable incomes to match) are quietly choosing a different way of life in Goa. The frequency of flight patterns also allows for this kind of dual urban/rural living, with Goa operating increasingly as a satellite town to Delhi. Here, the work of Raymond Williams on the false dichotomy between the country and the city (1973) comes to mind, for this globalized village living showcases how much the rural and urban interpolate one another. It is a search for interiority (both spatially and psychically) in an increasingly fast-paced world, a ‘lifestyle’ choice (Korpela 2013) that involves a certain romantic indulgence in Goa’s Portuguese colonial past, which in turn is very much tied to its positionality as an internal exotic in India (Gupta 2009). It is thus a form of colonial continuity or imaginary in some sense (inheriting or taking up British colonial views on the Portuguese as a lesser or more benign form), and a postcolonial disjunction in another (Indians moving to Goa instead of the reverse migration pattern, which was often the case during Portuguese colonial times). Even as my contribution may seem paradoxical for inclusion here, in that it does not deal directly with an urban setting as such, it still very much displays a form of ‘orientation’, to invoke the theme of this edited collection, in order to suggest a convergence of South and North, and a loosening of directional markers. It is not only the Goan village’s rich literary and ethnographic traditions and tropes that work to preserve and memorialize it through time and space (as the opening poem titled ‘The Villagers’ by H. O. Nazareth attests to), and which have a widespread appeal for these semi-permanent residents. It is the pao wallah who comes by at 7 am and who inaugurates the rhythms of the day, the fish seller who calls out at dusk as he carries through the village the fresh catch of the day balanced precariously on the back of his cycle, or the neighbourhood whitewashed Catholic Church that rings at 6 pm for evening mass. It is also the village’s ideal location (neither too close nor too far away) on ‘the edge’ (Marjavaara 2008, 11) of Goa’s tourist scene – one that absorbs planeloads of British and Russian package tourists annually between the months of September and March; they increasingly define 104

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(both visually and economically) Goa’s coastal shoreline today (Kapoor 2014). Proximity to these happenings in turn allows ‘urban rural dwellers’,1 as I would call them, access to certain specialized goods and services in an easy manner: it is a form of artisanal living, Indian-style, where both local and imported goods such as French cheeses and wines (from both France and nearby Pondicherry), Goan spicy chorizo, and caju feni (the local moonshine) are all readily available and are sold by a diverse group of long-term Western residents, Catholic Goans, and more recently, an influx of non-Goan Indian migrants many from the troubled zones of Kashmir and Tibet who have come seeking seasonal work. Goa, then, functions as both work (ground) and playground, where a fast internet connection, pristine beaches, specialized commodity goods, and hand-made crafts and foods are always on offer, and includes spending time in places like Sita Bar in Baga that is run by Swedish-born Ingo who specializes in buffalo ham that he makes himself and sells regularly at his restaurant and the weekly Saturday night market in Arpora (Interview Alito, 17 September 2013).2 It is people like Ines and Rahul whom I first met in Goa in October 2013 during five months of fieldwork, an Indo-Spanish couple who, after having met in Delhi and lived there for five years as a couple, have migrated south, buying up an old Portuguese property upon which to build their dream home with their young son even as they maintain a small flat in Nizamuddin that they regularly rent out in between short term visits for work or to see family. It is set designer Anushka who, having lived between Vienna and Delhi for twenty years, wanted a place of her own, a place where she could find respite from her many film projects that take her all over the world. Or it is the young novelist from Mumbai who, after writing a highly successful fiction book at the young age of twenty-two and living abroad in the United States for many years, has returned to India; only he has chosen Goa as the place to renovate an old crumbling Portuguese villa and start work on his next novel. It is the way that I meet these elite persons – at literary events, art shows and openings, in book shops, as friends of friends, and the sparse directions with no road signs but rather visual markers that are given to find each of their homes (look for the church on the left, the bridge crossing, the second four-way stop), nestled deep in Goa’s hinterland on a quiet lane or street that I would have easily overlooked had it not been for the scribbled map hastily drawn on a napkin at the end of a late night or the detailed directions sent via email prior to our visit (Interview Nikhil, November 28, 2013). It is villages with names like Siolim, Aldona, Bastora and Moira, Utorda that I sound out so as to become familiar with them as I try to look at a road map to locate the exact lane, driveway, house. However, changes to village life (considered the ‘real Goa’) are not without effects and affects (both positive and negative) as we will come to see from 105

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the perspectives of a range of Goans (both local and returning) responding through what I call here a form of lyrical loss – that is, through the media of poetry, the short story and the anthology of non-fiction essays. These alterations both redefine and ‘entangle’ village life with urbanity, at the same time as they index a telling shift in the attitudes or orientations of elites across North India and the West towards urban life itself.

Goa as internal exotic The process of social change . . . giv[es] us an impression that the Goans developed a technique whereby they accepted new things, modified old ones, and synthesized oriental and occidental customs and manners to evolve a pattern of culture which was at once rich and unique in several ways. —(Gomes 1996, iv)

In this first section, I briefly situate Goa more clearly within the geopolitics of India,3 as operating in some sense as an internal exotic, a topic that I have written about at more length elsewhere (Gupta 2009), and that allows for a certain set of dispositions, mobilities and lifestyle choices. To write about Goa within India is to write about difference, to echo anthropologist Raghuraman Trichur (2000, 637). For the first-time visitor to this tropical paradise – one of pristine beaches, age-old hippies and flea markets, Indo-Portuguese architecture, and prawn curry and rice – Goa Dourada (Golden Goa) is the simple manifestation of the exotic. I would go one step further to suggest the difference that is Goa as represented in the Indian imaginary can only be understood in relation to the wider external landscape of (post)colonial India, wherein Goa’s exoticism becomes even more manifest. Thus, for both the native Indian and non-Indian, it is difficult to fully contextualize Goa’s exoticism without looking to its attendant historical and cultural complexities and nuances. I do not suggest that these differences – historical and cultural – are mutually exclusive. Instead, I contend that it is their mutual imbrication through space and time that effectively marks and represents postcolonial Goa as so very distinct relative to the rest of India, even as it has been historically and culturally labelled as ‘Indian’ (Gupta 2009). I point to these less well-known discourses of internalized ‘exotics’ as necessarily required to sustain such a geopolitical entity as ‘South Asia’ and playing a role in representing it to both the inside and outside world, in negotiating ties to its differing diasporas, and in developing relations with larger global communities (both real and imagined). 106

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Goa’s otherness within India was indelibly shaped by British perceptions of the Portuguese empire itself as a ‘lesser’ colonial power, both in terms of its weaker position within Europe and of the form and character of their colonial rule as compared to and perceived by the British. Sociologist Boaventura de Sousa Santos goes so far as to suggest that Portuguese colonialism was considered to be a ‘subaltern’ form of imperialism relative to that of the British, which was increasingly set up as the (colonial) ‘norm’ in India (2002, 9–12). Even as I am cautious towards accepting his argument wholesale, his point is an important one for looking more carefully at the historical positionality of the Portuguese on Indian soil. The Portuguese held onto Goa in the face of its increasingly ruinous state of affairs, particularly during the latter half of the nineteenth century; its tenacity only reinforced the British viewpoint concerning the ‘anachronistic’ or ‘backward’ character of the Portuguese as colonizers. That negative representation was further reinforced by the remarkable conditions under which both empires left India in the twentieth century: while the British chose to ‘quit’ India in 1947 in the aftermath of World War II, Portugal held onto Goa for an additional fourteen years until 1961, employing discourses of history and culture to sustain its continued colonial hold. During this interim period, Portugal’s continued presence in India only served to buttress Britain’s perception of Portugal as an empire of ‘lack’: the Portuguese were lacking in that they could not see the ‘natural’ end of empire, as even the French voluntarily left their colonial hold in India, Pondicherry, on their own terms in 1954.4 Tourism in Goa today is very much premised on an earlier imperial vocabulary, not only of ‘Golden Goa,’ but also on additional neocolonial qualities of excess, including the Portuguese soçegado (leisure and relaxation), drinking, and the love of music and diversion – interestingly, the same traits that had been used to both describe and deride the Portuguese during colonial times (Subrahmanyam 1997, 30). In the postcolonial context, these characteristics were first taken up and reconfigured as the positive influences of the legacy of Portuguese colonialism. They were then appropriated as stereotypes to represent the culture of the formerly colonized Goans and were labelled Goan ‘traditions’ which tourism could then package and sell. In other words, Goa’s ‘Portuguese-ness’ created an ideal haven for Western tourists on the 1960s ‘hippie circuit’. The tourism of Goa attracted young Westerners who had come to India in search of spirituality and ‘Goa difference’, including a less socially confining place for relaxation and with less visible poverty and dirt than other parts of India (Newman 2001, 213). Thus, very early on, Goa’s distinct form of tourism was premised not only on its exoticism within India, but on its associated qualities of ‘excess’ which were readily available – such as drugs, alcohol 107

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and meat. Goa then increasingly operated as a space of desire wherein one could potentially live out one’s fantasies, and affordably at that, interestingly in much the same way that the Orient served the Occident according to Edward Said, only now in relation to both the West and India. Many of these same Western tourists (largely German and British) stayed on to create alternative lifestyles for themselves in Goa like Swedish-born Ingo profiled earlier. Interestingly, in the expansion of Goa’s tourism market throughout the 1990s, Goa’s Catholic past was increasingly and repeatedly highlighted over its Hindu past, even as this does not reflect the postcolonial reality of Goa: 35 percent of the population is recorded as Catholic, the remaining 65 percent is Hindu, and those numbers are steadily changing, with a de facto recent Catholic population of approximately 24 percent.5 Hence, just as Goa has its equally rich Catholic and Hindu pasts, a selective envisioning of Goa Dourada has been taken up and commodified for a range of international and domestic tourists and more recently for a burgeoning group of urban rural dwellers like those under discussion here.

Goa is a lifestyle ‘Goa is like a house where lots of people are coming through’ (Interview Ricardo, November 25, 2013). Why is it that someone like Radha, from Mumbai, a long-term resident in the Goan village of Parra (for 13 years now) whom I interviewed in 2013, feels like the only place in India that she can comfortably walk around with a shaved head and a tank top and not be stared at is in Goa? (Interview Radha, 5 September 2013). Hers is an important point that I contemplate in this next section. I first provide a brief overview of some of the underlying reasons for why this form of ‘second home tourism’ (Marjavaara 2008; Casado-Diaz 1999; Chaplin 1999)6 in Goa’s villages is taking place by people like Radha, and how these individuals are choosing Goa as a ‘lifestyle’. I borrow this phrase from Mari Korpela’s recent anthropological study of long-term Westerners living in Goa (Korpela 2013). Only here I want to apply it to the many North Indians whom I met last year and who are increasingly following a similar pattern of seasonal living between Delhi and Goa, converging in this sense with a prior Western diaspora who first made Goa their home. Since the 1990s, Indians more generally have been buying land in Goa, largely beachfront properties that functioned both as vacation homes and as long-term investments (interview Alito, 17 September 2013). However, a recent wave in the last ten years has seen a shift to the buying of properties purposely located away from Goa’s increasingly overrun tourist coastline and towards Goa’s pristine hinterland (Kapoor 2014). The clientele has 108

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also changed, and the levels of income have shifted: this group is a transnational mobile set of consumers who have lived and worked outside India for many years, and consists mostly of writers, artists and designers who are turning to Goa’s unspoiled interior, its crumbling Portuguese villas (many of them vacant, with the Goan owner living overseas) and villages. Its appeal lies in its pleasant geography, natural beauty and lush greenery: ‘It is a place where you meet interesting like-minded people, you can plug in and plug out easily here’, says Rakesh, a journalist turned fiction writer who lives in the village of Bastora. He also tells me how all the artists based in Goa like to say in an annoying way that they are drawing inspiration from Goa, when in fact he doesn’t think this is the case at all; it is simply a less busy hectic type of living where you can set your own pace of life that lends itself to creativity (Interview Rakesh, 5 September 2013). But for Monika, it functions precisely as a contemplative and inspirational space that allows for freedom of thought and movement (Interview Monika, 26 November 2013). For Keshav, the young novelist profiled at the outset of this chapter, moving to Goa in 2007 and restoring an old colonial house in the village of Moira to make his home (a property which was scheduled for demolition and had been previously owned by a Goan living abroad in France) was less about a patina of ‘dropping off’ or ‘dropping out of work’ (as his friends in Mumbai saw it); rather, it was form of ‘dropping in’ with work. He was able to reconstitute an identity in a space like Goa, a place of ‘nomadic conversations’ as he put it, and one of ‘ineffable qualities’, including for example the slowness of its meditative heat (Interview Keshav, 10 December 2013). I meet him at his home where we practice the art of conversation over green tea (him) and chai (me) and small Indian homemade snacks set out on high-design little plates, the beautiful natural light of Goa in December streaming in from the window amidst the noise of the construction of his new lap pool out front. Many of these residents are also actively involved in Goa’s burgeoning arts scene, developing film, art and literary festivals, such as the latest Salon sessions run by Keshav at Sunaparanta, a well-established cultural centre located in the leafy Altinho district of Panjim, and which formerly housed Goa’s colonial administrators. Perhaps all of these individuals are seeking something similar to their Western counterparts in Goa, the group that anthropologist Mari Korpela studied. She writes: ‘[Choosing Goa] is not an end but a means to attain the kind of life that they want’ (Korpela 2013, 65). It is exactly that, a lifestyle choice that brings these urban rural dwellers to a place like Goa to live and work. It is also a form of orienteering in agency, affect, and disposition. Kaushik, a graphic designer, moved here 15 years ago, and similar to Radha, believes Goa to be one of the most humble and least judgmental 109

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places to live in all of India (Interview Kaushik 2 September 2013). Monika, who only moved to Goa from Delhi a few years ago (in 2011), tells me that she has been watching the Goa scene for a long time now (over ten years since her first visit in 2001 when she fell in love with Goa and thought it was a ‘little piece of paradise’), waiting for its mobile technologies to improve enough (the switch from dial up internet) for her to use them as a base for work (she is trained as a fashion photographer, and now is learning to be a perfumier). She describes Goa as ‘having a convenient social scene nearby on offer for when you want it’, as well as ‘a safe community feel’: ‘It is a Western space.’ And lots of her friends come through Goa on holiday so she feels that she is not missing out on seeing them by living in the South (Interview Monika November 26, 2013). We are discussing the finer points of Goan living over lunch at Villa Blanche in the charming village of Assagao, a restaurant I had been wanting to sample for a long time but had not been able to pinpoint on my Goa map until I went with her that day.7 Interestingly, for many of those whom I met during fieldwork in 2013 and who have chosen Goa as their place of residence, Pondicherry came up as a point of comparison and discussion, a possible alternative place to live in India (Monika, Nikhil, Rakesh, Rajesh). It is a detail that suggests both the enduring status that Goa and Pondicherry (as the inheritors of other colonialisms rather than British) have in common as internal exotics in India (yet each distinct, I would argue), and the kind of postcolonial role they play as sites and sights of difference. For Rajesh, a Delhiite who moved to Goa fifteen years ago to start a tourism business (and who, interestingly, has chosen not to live in a Goan village), Goa was the preferable choice due to its separateness, its marked difference as a state in itself, whereas after one visit to Pondicherry, he felt that it had been too subsumed into the state politics of Tamil Nadu in the space left over after French colonialism. ‘It did not appeal to me’, he says (Interview Rajesh, 4 September 2013). Goa also has a nearby airport, better schooling for his young son, and a more temperate climate, he added. The same Rakesh mentioned earlier also chose Goa over Pondicherry for similar practical reasons, less romantic (and romanticized) ones he joked (Interview Rakesh, 5 September 2013). Monika knows Pondicherry well and visits often but prefers Goa as a ‘living and breathing space’ (Interview Monika, 26 November 2013). Pondicherry, then, becomes a point of disorientation as compared to Goa for many of these long-term residents. Another possible reading of the appeal of Goa and Pondicherry as alternative lifestyles is to suggest that North Indians are precisely drawn to Goa and Pondicherry because, respectively, of their Portuguese and French (and not British) colonial pasts. As the inheritors of many British colonial ideologies and practices, the appeal of Goa and/or Pondicherry perhaps lies in 110

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its less complicated burden of history that it carries for these elite Indians. Rajesh concurs, saying that it is very much the issue of the burden of British colonialism that allows for this kind of mobility and indulgence to take place (Interview Rajesh 4 September 2013) in these non-British (i.e. Portuguese and French) ex-colonies. Goa and Pondicherry act as playgrounds for India’s elite where they can fashion little Europe(s) in India, says Fernando, a Goan academic who has lived and studied in Portugal for many years (Interview Fernando, 5 October 2013). ‘It is an interesting thesis’, he continues, ‘you should explore it more.’ His comments very much echo those of Ricardo who is a successful clothing designer who trained in the United States and France for many years before returning to Goa and buying up an old property (a ‘real fixer upper’ he says) in his ancestral village of Colvale. Goa, he points out, functions as a fashionable and fashioning site for other parts of India, not only in a literal sense (Interview Ricardo, 25 November 2013). However, Rakesh, the writer mentioned above, whom I meet over lunch at the trendy Café de Goa restaurant located in North Goa on the tourist circuit, refuses my reading of Goa’s appeal in the here and now as tied to its distinctive Portuguese colonial past, rather stating that its condition of Indian postcoloniality is where its charm lies (Interview Rakesh 5 September 2013). His comments make me ponder the degree to which postcoloniality is wholly a product of a colonial past. Yet another reason for the migration south of many Indians to Goa’s hinterlands, which I consider the originator for this interesting convergence, perhaps has to do with the uniqueness of Goa’s villages or aldeias that carry a pre-Portuguese history of being jointly owned, a system of comunidades that was then codified under the long durée of Portuguese colonial rule. The result is a vibrant and convivial village life, rich in heritage and traditions, says another transplanted urban rural dweller writer named Nikhil from North India, whom I met last year and who currently lives between New York and Goa with increasingly longer periods spent in his village home of Aldona, where he bought a previously restored Portuguese colonial villa (Interview Nikhil, 28 November 2013). Perhaps this return to rural dwelling is a return to a slower more enriching way of life that we are all in fear of losing as we are more and more likely to live in urban settings, he contemplates out loud. It was Ricardo who earlier pointed out to me that Goa is a place where, as a foreigner, you don’t choose to live on the top of the hill overlooking the village, rather you live side by side your neighbours and become part of village life, borrowing sugar from one, having tea with another. For Radha, who feels most comfortable in Goa, there is a love of the sense of community it provides. ‘It allows you to live a deeper life . . . it lets you be whomever you are. Historically, Goans have seen so many 111

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foreigners that nothing surprises them (now)’, she says (Interview Radha, 5 September 2013). For Milind a graphic designer who has been living between Delhi and Goa for thirty years, it was knowing that his daughter could grow up in a village setting attuned to all its natural cycles of life, as opposed to the pollution and noise of Delhi, and where his young daughter could be friends with the local vegetable seller’s daughter, a place that was less class-bound, he says to me. However, he did return to Delhi a few years ago to live there fulltime once his daughter reached the age to enter University even as he still maintains his modest house in Goa, and comes for short visits (Interview Milind, 21 September 2013). Rahul, a historian by training, pointed out that life in a Goan village has a more vibrant intellectual and social scene (where he hangs out with both local and foreign residents at nightly soirees in village homes) than the one he left behind in Mumbai (the place that people moved to from Delhi but is no longer a vibrant space, with Goa replacing Mumbai in some sense as that other place). He feels more ‘urbane’ living in Goa than in Mumbai (Interview Rahul, 28 November 2013). The rural – in the shape of Goa – becomes the urban in this instance and offers up yet another interesting shift in the art of orienteering. At the same time, it showcases Williams’s point that the dichotomy between the country and the city is a false one (1973). It is the same writer, Nikhil, who points out to me that Goa’s appeal lies in its rich Indo-Portuguese heritage and unique culture. Many of these villagers, he says, would rather have a foreigner (here applied to either a Westerner or North Indian) buy an old house and fix it up than turn the ancestral property into an apartment complex. Goa is one of the only places that would welcome and allow these foreigners to stay and live amongst them in their villages, he says. Nowhere else does this happen, he adds (Interview Nikhil, 28 November 2013). For designer Anushka, profiled at the outset of this chapter, Goa is perceived as a film set (given her line of work, this makes sense), it is ‘inconveniently beautiful, its villages egalitarian in a sense, and where the nanny’s kids go to the same school of the elite children’, she says. She adds that its architectural history is particularly lovely, [it is] one that allows the wind a more open space, that is less cluttered (Interview Anushka, 5 January 2014). For her, design work is contemplative, and Goa provides the space for that. We meet for a simple yet elegant Goan lunch at her home in Saligao, a rented property that she is staying in until her newly renovated home in the northern and more isolated village of Aldona is completed. She speaks of jackfruit and mangos as rhythmically linked to the monsoons, and organically made chairs and bread, all Goan-style. And, given the less burdened relationship to Goa’s colonial past on the part of these North Indians – and here I am speculating – perhaps this allows them to more easily indulge in 112

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its material effects, that is, its unique Indo-Portuguese heritage, its food, its architecture, and traditions. Buying up these Goan ancestral properties and restoring many of their unique Indo-Portuguese features is one such manifestation of a form of (Portuguese) colonial indulgence that is perhaps perceived by them as less problematic given their ancestral pasts as British colonial subjects. As Gerard, an architect himself, mentions to me at his office-cum-workshop-cum-house space in the village of Salvador do Mundo, global Indians are particularly drawn to Indo-Portuguese architecture, its uniqueness (Interview Gerard, 3 January 2014). They are purchasing heritage, says Radha, and remodeling properties to fit their own lifestyles, old on the outside and modern on the inside (Interview Radha, 5 September 2013). Nor does it come cheap, adds Rakesh, for it is fifty lakhs (approximately 75,000USD) upward now to buy a house in Goa (Interview Rakesh, 5 September 2013). For some, as Rohit puts it, an (even more, if that is possible) authentic Portuguese past is being recreated in the present by these individuals who restore these old villas to their previous golden glory, researching in the archives the old styles, finding rare samples of IndoPortuguese chairs and beds to furnish their new homes (Interview Rohit, 28 November 2013). In other words, the future of Goa’s villages lies in the past, and a rich Portuguese colonial architectural heritage at that. Here, it must be remembered that nostalgia more generally is a longing for something that cannot be restored, something that is dead, gone, irretrievable, lost. It is also a response to loss. As anthropologist William Bissell argues (2005, 215–16), we need to take this seriously as we encounter it during fieldwork, rather than view it from the sidelines as something slightly uncomfortable, to be avoided, as simply poor fictitious history or as dismissed as false consciousness by those who indulge in and endorse it in its present tenses. That anthropology was itself constituted as a nostalgic discipline does not help; this makes it that much more difficult to come to terms with, and its study that much more critical and timely. Colonial nostalgia is deeply unsettling – we can neither label it legacy or vestige of colonialism nor can we leave it as just that (Stoler 2008, 196). Instead, we require a deeper understanding and more sophisticated language for thinking and writing about it as an orientation, something that I am trying to tease out in this piece. And it is the very material architectural ruins of colonialism that have the power to evoke such nostalgia for the romance of the colonial in all its past, present and future tenses. As Nicholas Dirks reminds us, The colonial ruin is the document of civilizations par excellence; it signifies the most onerous toil of the slaves and subalterns who 113

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executed the political and architectural ambitions of great civilizations, and the history of its contemplation generates nostalgia, which is the forgetting rather than the remembering of history, the forgetting of the conditions of possibility of history, not to mention its later course . . . the ruin puts us in awe of the mystifications that made civilization magnificent in the first place. The ruin is culture, both its reality and its representation. (1998, 10) It is the power of the colonial ruin to function simultaneously as materiality and metaphor that gives it is resilience over time (Stoler 2008, 203). Finally, if in fact nostalgia is the ‘incurable modern condition’, as Svetlana Boym argues (2001, xiv), it is not going away any time soon, particularly as we move further away from colonialism’s demise, and as we fast approach the long-ness of the twenty-first century before us. Nostalgia is not a singular discourse; it is a cultural practice that operates in historical time and is dependent on who the speaker is and where the speaker stands in the landscape of the present, following Kathleen Stewart (1988, 12). Stewart’s point serves as a useful reminder for thinking about these transplanted urban rural dwellers who have come from North India and settled in Goa, overpowered perhaps by its Portuguese past or otherness, both collapsing a simple rural/urban divide and converging these two places in a style reminiscent of Raymond Williams (1973), only in a different context – hence my title, Village Delhi. Moreover, these individuals are contributing to Goan life just as much as they are changing it aesthetically, ethically and politically, in both positive and negative ways that are complex, subtle and just beginning to be understood (Marjavaara 2008, 10). And yet there is a resurgence of Goanness in response to all the foreigners buying up and into Goa’s villages, a topic to be explored in the next section.

Romancing the Goan village It was consciously realized that the real Goa lives in its villages, now considerably urbanized and fast becoming part of modern urban culture, yet retaining its unique rural characteristics. The Goan villages . . . provide in their idyllic rural setting the balmy solace to the Goan wanting to get away for a time from city life. He can retire into this haven to regenerate and refresh himself. That haven is still safely ensconced in rural Goa, supported by essential urban amenities. —(Gomes 1996, 7)

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Historically, the village was the anthropologist’s unit of analysis par excellence, the one that so captured British social anthropologists like Edmund Leach, Max Gluckman, E. E. Evans-Pritchard and Radcliffe-Brown, and especially in relation to India. It is the central character in M. N. Srinivas’s famous and elegiac ethnography titled, The Remembered Village (Srinivas 1976). Nor can we discount its historical significance as a colonial construct and a postcolonial reality that still operates within Indian society today, a point emphasized by anthropologists Paul Axelrod and Michelle Fuerch, who write: the village [is] a key building block in the Orientalist constructions of Indian society. Alternatively conceived of as the irreducible unit, the locus for basic human activities such as political economy and caste, the essence of Indian society, and the bounded habitat for ethnographic descriptions, villages are often portrayed as timeless entities, outliving unstable political units such as ancient and medieval states, petty kingdoms, and colonial domains and persisting even through the succession of regimes of the modern nation-state. No village tradition in India has a longer history of representation by the West. (1998, 440) Part of my interest here is to return to the anthropological roots of the conception of village India and look at it in a distinct contemporary Indian setting, suggesting its changes and multiple uses over time. In this particular case, I am interested in showcasing ‘village India in Goa’ (with all the urban amenities, of course) as the same Ricardo (the fashion designer) of earlier described it to me (Interview Ricardo, 25 November 2013). Or perhaps Village Delhi is a more apt description for the purposes of this edited volume. I have tried to suggest that even as the Goan village has its own history of rich literary and ethnographic tropes, it is largely urban Delhi dwellers who are buying up the romance of the ancestral Portuguese colonial home, as located in Goa’s idyllic villages which, as Gomes points out in my opening passage, are more recently combining an urban vibe with a rural setting. And I argue (as Rakesh mentioned to me as well) that there is a disquieting resurgence of Goanness (as a form of preservation of culture) in response to the outgoing migration of many Goans (some with newly obtained Portuguese passports) and the incoming presence of these foreigners (where categories of Western and North Indian often get lumped together or at least perceived as one group as they are all active participants at the level of village life), under the guise of several literary forms – the poem, the short 115

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story, the anthology of non-fiction essays, largely written in English. It is yet another example of convergence, where individuals from a diversity of backgrounds are brought together and labelled outsiders. It is a form of orientation that tilts towards localized identity politics. I meet with Samuel Matthews, Minister of Arts and Culture in Goa, at his office in the historic Altinho district of Panjim on 7 September 2013, in order to get his thoughts on all these changes to village life. He tells me how Goa is trying to fashion a history without a Portuguese past but that today many Goans are resistant (‘why shouldn’t they be’, he says, ‘it is very much part of their history’). It is not an easy undertaking, especially since tourism in Goa hinges on its Portuguese past as a purely commercial venture. The reality is that while there is virulent corruption in its villages, Goa’s problem is its popularity. He tells me how Goans are deeply attached to their land as a pastoral people, a point that was echoed by Ricardo who told me that he has never seen such a people so attached to the physicality of its territory. Matthews (as well as Ricardo) still believes that Goa is one of the best places to live in India, an enlightened place that has a sense of civic responsibility, an orientating point made once again in comparison to Pondicherry where he had previously lived and worked over a five-year period. And unique to Goa are its communidades, a form of ‘village republicanism’, as he calls it.8 He is worried about an increase in fighting over land issues in Goa’s near future. There are tensions today as many Goans (both located in and outside Goa) are in reality living off rented properties in villages (rented for tourism purposes to outsiders), which is unsettling Goan village life, particularly when they see foreigners buying up all the properties left behind by global Goans living elsewhere. With the mining industry slowly shutting down in Goa, tourism is set to become Goa’s most important economic sector; this in turn puts a lot of pressure on Goa’s residents, infrastructures and villages. Matthews remarks on the ‘quiet desperation’ that is the underbelly of Goan society today. This point of reflection is echoed by Goan designer Jason. He had lived abroad for many years before returning to his homeland and ancestral property in the village of Siolim, occupying the same house in which his mother gave birth to him, only now he has fashioned it as a design studio-cum-art gallery-cum-house, all in one. He tells me over freshly squeezed carrot, beetroot and pomegranate juice that he makes himself, cutting the fruit before placing it in a fancy juicer, that Goa is slowly losing its charm and sensibilities, its form of orientation. Its visualness is ‘off kilter,’ he says to me (Interview Jason, 10 January 2014).9 Jason puts into words something that I have also started to feel upon my return to Goa in 2013, after having researched and lived there for short stints (ranging from fourteen months to five months) over a twenty-year period. Unexpected 116

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convergences of North and South in this case have created polarized divergences between Goan and non-Goan, insider and outsider.

The literary village Assagao A tiny village, a real pearl Sons of her soil inhabit the world. Surrounded she is by serene hills, And decked with mansions and velvety fields. Green and glorious land of peace, Abundant in flowers, orchards and trees. Oh! My native Assagao is a valley of bliss. (De Souza 2010, 9) In this last section, and by way of conclusion, I gesture to a few literary examples (through the media of poetry, the short story and the collected anthology of non-fiction essays) as a form of local response to the changes taking place in this former Portuguese colony as more outsiders take up residence in rural Goa. These samples can be viewed as a form of what I call lyrical loss, addressing what is happening to Goa’s village way of life, and what is perceived as an increasing disorientation. They are redolent of history and tradition, saturated with childhood memories and nostalgic for an idealized past, a form of romanticized living; yet they stand as testimony to a certain way of life. Rodney De Souza, a son of Goan soil, in his short poem reproduced above, bears witness to the Edenic qualities of his native village of Assagao, a place that I have visited on more than one occasion and that is, as De Souza notes, a village ‘much sought after’ by foreigners (De Souza 2010, 21). Vivek Menezes dedicates his short story titled, ‘A Village named Destiny’, to his own beloved Goan village of Moira. He writes: In classical Greek, Moira means fate, destiny. The Goan village that bears this poetic name spills pleasantly over a series of hillocks, and is renowned throughout the region for the quality of its outsized bananas, as well as the eccentricity of its citizens. In every way, it is an archetypal village from the Old Conquests, the part of this territory that was occupied first and experienced the longest European colonization in history. Like Goa itself, Moira has managed to sustain a remarkable cultural integrity into the new millennium, but now faces an uncertain future in an era 117

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of rapid change, demographic displacement and the erosion of hard-won social and political balance. On a moody overcast day in the monsoon season, I roared around Moira on the back of an Enfield Bullet piloted by my friend Augusto Pinto, to compile a photographic portrait of the village for the newly formed MoiraNet internet group. The results depict a little village in transition, trying to face down overwhelming forces. What will be Moira’s destiny? (Menezes 2011, 116) Similarly, Melinda Coutinho Powell, having returned to her homeland of Goa in 1998 after living in Mumbai for many years, notes in her short story ‘Village Vibes’: As a child I remember seeing long stretches of white virgin beaches, vast expanses of verdant fields and forested hills all over Goa. Today hillsides have been ravaged to make way for housing complexes and fields have been filled with mud and built upon. The Goan identity too is under fierce attack and suddenly everyone feels vulnerable to ‘outsider’ invasions. Indians from other states as well as foreigners have chosen to make Goa their home. Goa has a certain magical charm that attracts and beckons people to its shores. Writers as well as artists have chosen to make this their home. Home is where the heart is. My heart is in my village. (Powell 2011, 84–8) And Jerry Pinto, in his introduction to a popular anthology of new nonfiction writings on Goa looks back on its literary pasts. He writes: Goa reflects in fiction, in poetry, in narratives of every kind. For the rest of India, for the world even, the central narrative has always been the one of son-sand-surf-socegado. It is a siren song, with its lulling alliterative refrain, and invitation to the land of lotus-eaters. If it is a song that Goans have learned to distrust, it is also one that has served them well, creating the tourist industry that has helped raise living standards and contributed to the destruction of the environment (I do not look for paradox; it comes calling). . . . I cannot claim that I knew Goa when I began this book. I cannot claim that I know it now, three years after this project began. I can only say that many of the things said about

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Goa are true; and some are false. If this sounds like a slippery subtlety, may I remind you that I come from the village of Moira, known for its wise fools? (Pinto 2006, xii) I leave the reader with the poem ‘Nightfall in a Goan Village’, written by Santan Rodrigues in 2010. A tired sun drops The farmer drops his tools, Picks his coat, turns home. Everything here turns Grey, turns dark, turns Black. in a small taverna The local brag talks big. He is toasting his tales To feni-sipping labourers. In enlarged houses, Small families huddled Together say the angelus. The white frocked priest His hemline red with dust, Returns to a lonely church. On the deserted roads White ghost haunts the local Mind. Evergreen grandma In a rocking chair Is reconstructing the past. To a baffled child stray Howling of wolves become The warcry of marathas On a looting spree. Afraid, he scrambles to sleep In the fortress of his bed, Outside with only a dog Barking at its leash, The night invades rolling Houses, trees, fields and hills Into a conquering dark smile. (Rodrigues, in Nazareth 2010, 132)

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Gathering up these tales of lyrical loss sheds light on the difficult processes of change that Goa’s villages are currently experiencing as more and more urban rural dwellers from the North take up residence in the South and orient them in unexpected ways that are directly tied to ethics, politics and aesthetics. A romanticized version of a return to the rural by the urbanite is slowly being put into practice in the face of strong local opposition, equally romantic (or perhaps it is more nostalgic here?) in their version of Goa. These stories also point to a new convergence of South and North, where Goa becomes the originator of an unexpected form of twined mobility. These earthy passages reckon with Goa’s rich material past, and ponder what it will become in an unrealized future moment. Threads of haunting ancestors, generations of departures and foreign arrivals are stitched together to make palatable a real sense of invasion, a return full circle perhaps to an earlier historical moment when Goa was conquered by the Portuguese. The reader is left with a feeling of inchoateness, an uncertain sense of orientation for what will happen in Village Delhi.

Notes 1 By the term ‘urban–rural dwellers’, I want to signal the title of my piece, ‘Village Delhi’, and the practices of many urbanites that turn to the rural (and perhaps a somewhat romanticized version of it) as an alternative lifestyle choice. In other words, the appeal of rural dwelling is predicated on them being experienced urban dwellers first; only then does the rural (or their idea of it) work. It is a form of convergence that presupposes and is enabled by a certain urbanity to begin with. 2 Ingo is an example of the many working-class Europeans – Germans and British mostly – who work seasonally in Goa (in restaurants and cafes) and then go back to Europe to work in beer festivals there, which then provides start-up money to own a business in Goa and become a long-term resident. 3 According to K. S. Singh, Goa is a small geographic entity comprising 3,701 square kilometers and 1.4 million persons. It is located on the Western coast of India between the border of Maharashtra and Karnataka, and it was under Portuguese colonial rule from 1510 to 1961. With the ports of Daman and Diu, it was treated as a separate administrative unit by both Portugal and India until it became a separate state in the Indian Union in 1987 (1993, xiii–xvii). 4 It is interesting to note that both Goa and Pondicherry, as exemplars of the ‘other’ colonialisms (against the norm of British colonialism) on Indian soil, have been packaged in similar (postcolonial) ways for tourism purposes, that is, via their distinct Portuguese and French (colonial) histories and cultures, respectively. However, I would argue that while France had a direct neocolonial role in promoting and directing the shape of postcolonial Pondicherry’s French-ness, the same could not be said for Portugal and Goa, since all diplomatic ties between India and Portugal were cut off in the aftermath of Goa’s independence and integration into the Indian nation-state. Instead, it was left to India, and Goa to a certain extent, to promote and direct the shape of its postcolonial Portuguese-ness.

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5 These well-known percentages are often used to argue for Portugal’s failure to successfully convert the local population during colonial times as well as for Goa’s past and present Indian-ness. (Interview with Samuel Matthews, Minister of Arts and Culture, Goa, formerly of Pondicherry, 6 September 2013). The Minister gave me the figure of 24 percent for Goa’s current Catholic population. And this lower figure is tied to all the houses that lie vacant as more and more (Catholic) Goans go overseas to take advantage of the Portuguese citizenship granted to them and their children, since they were considered Portuguese refugees born prior to India’s takeover (or ‘invasion’ as some describe it) of Goa in 1961. 6 The distinction between first and second home tourism has become increasingly blurred. As pointed out by Casado-Diaz (1999), many second homes that are defined as being for temporary or secondary use are today increasingly utilized all year round. Chaplin (1999) argues that for many British second homeowners in rural France, the permanent home had become merely a dwelling place with no other significance except its function as a shelter. The ‘good life’ was experienced in the second home in France where they could escape all the pressures and competitiveness of modern life. 7 I would like to dedicate this chapter to Monika, whose ideas and articulations were integral to the writing of this piece, and who became my friend during the process of interviewing her in Goa in 2013. She was tragically murdered in her flat in Goa on 6 October 2016, for reasons tied to the very dramatic changes in Goa that I am gesturing to. 8 A. B. de Bragança Pereira writes: ‘The village communidade: the Portuguese gave the name of communidade to the Goan ganvponn/ganvkari. The British translated communidade de aldeia into village community. At present the village communidade (as defined by the Portuguese code of Communidades promulgated on 1 December 1904) is basically a simple agricultural association. . . . The following lands cannot be leased out: lands of common use, those indispensable to and already earmarked for pasture. Those allotted for free passage to neighbors’ (2008, 325). 9 In addition, the availability of flights on Qatar Airways, direct from Doha to Goa, since 2012 has also changed Goa’s travel profile, making it more accessible by air for travellers who can bypass Delhi or Mumbai to land there.

References Axelrod, Paul and Michelle Fuerch. 1998. ‘Portuguese Orientalism and the Making of the Village Communities of Goa’. Ethnohistory 45.3: 439–76. Bissell, William. 2005. ‘Engaging Colonial Nostalgia’. Cultural Anthropology 20.2: 215–48. Boym, Svetlana. 2001. The Future of Nostalgia. New York: Basic Books. Casado-Diaz, M. A. 1999. ‘Socio-Demographic Impacts of Residential Tourism: A Case Study of Torrevieja, Spain’. International Journal of Tourism Research 1.4: 223–37. Chaplin, D. 1999. ‘Consuming Work/Productive Leisure: The Consumption Patterns of Second Home Environments’. Leisure Studies 18.1: 41–55. De Souza, Rodney. 2010. Sobit Assagao (Beautiful Assagao). Verna: New Age Printers.

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Dirks, Nicholas (ed.). 1998. In Near Ruins: Cultural Theory at the End of the Century. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Gomes, Olivinho J. F. 1987 [1996]. Village Goa (A Study of Goan Social Structure and Change). New Delhi: S. Chand and Company, Ltd. Gupta, Pamila. 2009. ‘Goa Dourada, the Internal Exotic in South Asia: Discourses of Colonialism and Tourism’. In South Asia and Its Others: Reading the Exotic, edited by Atreyee Phukan and V. G. Julie Rajan, 123–48. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Press. Kapoor, Deepti. 2014. ‘Goa: Time to Ditch the Beach and Head Inland’. The Guardian 18 October (www.theguardian.com/travel/2014/oct/18/goaindia-away-from-beach-inland) (accessed 20 October 2014). Korpela, Mari. 2013. ‘Marginally Mobile? The Vulnerable Lifestyle of Westerners in Goa’. Dve domovini/Two Homelands 38: 63–72. Marjavaara, Roger. 2008. ‘Second Home Tourism: The Root to Displacement in Sweden?’ PhD diss., Umeå University, Sweden. Menezes, Vivek. 2011. ‘A Village Named Destiny’. In Inside/Out: New Writing From Goa, edited by Helene Derkin Menezes and José Lourenço, 115– 30. Saligao: Goa 1556 Press. Nazareth, H. O. 2010. ‘The Villagers’, Nine Poems: H.O. Nazareth. In Pivoting on the Point of Return: Modern Goan Literature, edited by Peter Nazareth, 119–23. Panjim: Goa 1556 Press. Newman, Robert. 2001. Of Umbrellas, Goddesses and Dreams: Essays on Goan Culture and Society. Mapusa: Other India Press. Pereira, A. B. de Bragança. 2008. Ethnography of Goa, Daman and Diu. Translated by Maria Aurora Couto. New Delhi: Viking Penguin Books. Pinto, Jerry (ed.). 2006. Reflected in Water: Writings on Goa. New Delhi: Penguin India. Powell, Melinda. 2011. ‘Village Vibes’. In Inside/Out: New Writing From Goa, edited by Helene Derkin Menezes and José Lourenço, 84–8. Saligao: Goa 1556 Press. Rodrigues, Santan. 2010. ‘Four Poems: Santan Rodrigues’. In Pivoting on the Point of Return: Modern Goan Literature, edited by Peter Nazareth, 130–2. Panjim: Goa 1556 Press. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa. 2002. ‘Between Prospero and Caliban: Colonialism, Postcolonialism and Inter-Identity.’ Luso-Brazilian Review 39.2: 9–43. Singh, K. S. 1993. People of India: Goa, Anthropological Survey of India Series, Volume XXI. Bombay: Popular Prakashan. Srinivas, M. N. 1976. The Remembered Village. Berkeley: University of California Press. Stewart, Kathleen. 1988. ‘Nostalgia – A Polemic’. Cultural Anthropology 3.3: 227–41. Stoler, Ann. 2008. ‘Imperial Debris: Reflections on Ruins and Ruination’. Current Anthropology 23.2: 191–219.

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Subrahmanyam, Sanjay. 1997. ‘O Romântico, O Oriental, e o Exótico: Notas Sobre Os Portugueses em Goa.’ In Historias de Goa, edited by Joaquim Pais de Brito, 29–43. Lisbon: Fundação Oriente. Trichur, Raghuraman. 2000. ‘Politics of Goan Historiography’. Lusotopie 637–44. Williams, Raymond. 1973. The Country and the City. New York: Oxford University Press.

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7 THE UNIVERSITY, THE NOVEL FORM, LITERARY LIFE AND THE URBAN GLOBAL SOUTH Simon During

This chapter starts from the position that while the cities of the Global South are other to Western literary academics – professors from Berlin or Sydney or Oxford or Los Angeles, say – they are also connected to them by specific junctures and networks. What, then, connects the Western academic to the South’s cities? Let me point to the three such connections with which this chapter is most concerned. Perhaps most importantly, there is the university system itself because, leaving all its national differences aside, it is as global as its name implies. Individual universities and national university systems differ markedly from one another, but nonetheless they exist inside an international system that grants them their status and identity, and loosely authorizes their practices. Second, there is literature itself. Not just because it too is now what the Warwick Research Collective calls a ‘world-literary system’,1 but because over last few decades, it has drawn much of its energies from the Global South’s cities. This is significant: literary academics, the world over, are orientated to the urban Global South in large part because of its contemporary literary dynamism. And third, along another track and more generally – while it is important to insist on the differences in the amenities and opportunities available to privileged Western academics and the lives of most people who live in cities like Mexico City and Calcutta, important because a politics of social justice relies upon those differences – it is also true that the Global South and the North are joined at various levels: people of various classes, images, commodities, stories, religions, airplanes and so on flow incessantly across the division that separates them, independently of either the academy or 125

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of literature. Let us call this extensive connective tissue, which ends up including the academy and the world-literary system, the order of global transportation. So, in this chapter, I want to discuss the triangulated relation between the contemporary novel as a component of the world-literary system, the global academy, and the cities of the Global South against a background that wants both to insist on the difference between North and South, and to qualify it. I want to do this by focusing on the two cities I have mentioned – Mexico City and Calcutta – and by concentrating on three texts: Roberto Bolaño ’s The Savage Detectives and two by Amit Chaudhuri, an idiosyncratic travel book, Calcutta: two years in the city, and a novel, The Immortals. It is immediately worth noting that none of these texts are quite integral to themselves: The Savage Detective’s characters and plots recur in other of Bolaño’s works, most notably in his magnum opus 2666, while The Immortals has a kind of sequel, Odysseus Abroad, set in London, and it is also closely related to Calcutta: two years in the city, the text I will discuss in most detail here because it is so directly focused on the city itself. I have chosen these books not just because they are set in, and in Chaudhuri’s case about, cities of the Global South, or because they are interested in how living in such cities differs, and does not differ, from living in other places, but because they are novels about global transportation: they recognize that living in the Global South’s cities is to be exposed to transnational movements of all kinds. All are particularly interested in universities and the ways in which the global academy allows for such movements. This, therefore, is also to say that the two novels I have chosen are examples of ‘humanities fiction’, by which I mean novels written primarily for humanities graduates of the world university system, and which assume a certain knowledge of, and interest in, that system’s practices. I have also chosen these texts by Bolaño and Chaudhuri because these writers are so different from one another, both formally and in the literary and political values they bear. So, my method is comparative: I want to focus on the differences between them – differences that can be largely sheeted back to the fact that one was an expatriate South American who wrote in Spanish, and the other a semi-expatriate Indian writing in English. In that way, I will broach some general conclusions about relations between the Global South’s cities and imaginative writing. One further preliminary: there exists, of course, a large academic literature on relations between the novel form and the city, just as there exists a genealogy of novels about cities by canonical European writers like Balzac, Dickens and Joyce.2 To simplify greatly, two approaches dominate both this academic and creative writing. On the one side, the city is treated as ‘unknowable’, not so much a community as a conglomerate labyrinth.3 126

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From this perspective, urban life is embedded in mystery, disorder, poetry (Balzac thought of Paris as a kind of poem), darkness and violence. On the other side, large cities are conceived of as political and cultural centres, repositories of national, imperial or civilizational glory and power, simultaneously nurseries of civility and centres of oppression. They are layered, and are therefore places where, for instance, the Homeric can be re-enacted, as it is Joyce’s Dublin. However, at the level of the private individual, cities thought positively like this are presented as homes to thousands of overlapping networks and potentialities, as well as particularly intense experiences and memories. In the clash or overlap between these two images of the urban – as the negative sublime, or as passage for creativity and progress – the city is also often understood as a machine of modernization itself and a nursery of modernity’s key, if contradictory, affects, most of all, alienation and self-reliance.4 My argument is that neither of these figures of urbanism work for the texts I have chosen to talk about, and the reason for that is that in them the globalizing forces I have mentioned – the university and the literary system – are more able to form identities, desires and practices than the cities themselves. So, these are texts about cities as always already transnational flight paths, we might say.

Bolaño The Savage Detectives tells the story of two young men and their friends who, when the story begins, are living in Mexico City. They are precariat poets who belong to a vaguely defined avant-garde poetic movement called visceral realism, which exists at the margins of the university system, which however cannot rescue the poets from their precarity, if indeed they wish to be rescued. The novel itself is formally innovative: it consists of a series of short, first-person reports or memories, each precisely dated and located, the first set in the mid-1970s, the last in the 1990s; most in Mexico, but some in Spain and Africa (Tanzania and Liberia). The plot is told only via these reports, which are uttered by all kinds of characters and presented in an unaccounted-for order. The characters who write them do not necessarily know each other, they do not form a community or even a network. Some reports contradict others, so it is not always clear what actually happened. Almost all of the reports are intentional rather than expressive, by which I mean that they are primarily just about something that happened, and in general about visceral realism’s two founders, Arturo Belano (clearly a version of Bolaño himself) and Ulises Lima, who themselves never offer a report. The reports do not directly express subjectivities. Indeed, in The Savage Detectives, interiority is not prized or sought: what 127

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counts are events, actions, movements and places – but not, in the full Western sense, people. In a word: it is as if a biographer – or a detective – has elicited statements from people who came across Belano and Lima, who, however, remain elusive, in an elusiveness which is symbolic. It represents, first, their not being rooted in Mexico City; second, their defection from interiority, and all those techniques of self it implies – Bildung, let us say; and lastly, it represents the elusiveness or waning of what literature and living the literary life means in Mexico City and the world generally. So here a particular formal technique – blocking off readers’s access to the main characters – is allegorical. From out of the welter of reports, one narrative organizes the plot. In 1975, Belano, Limes, a young prostitute Lupe, and the seventeen-yearold Juan Garciá Madero, who has just joined the visceral realists having met them via his university poetry class, flee Mexico City for Sonora, pursued by Lupe’s brutal pimp. They are in search of an almost totally unpublished poet, Cesárea Tinajero, who had herself founded a school of visceral realism before the war but has since disappeared from Mexico City. They find her at last, living humbly in a remote village, having given up literature. At that point, the pimp catches up with the group of friends, and both he and Cesárea die in a gunfight, killed by the visceral realists. They then flee Mexico, and in Europe Arturo and Ulises descend into madness and despair. Arturo, re-enacting Rimbaud and Conrad’s Kurtz, at last travels deep into Africa’s war-torn interior, with a will to self-destruct. Bolaño’s oeuvre is, I would argue, a significant contribution to the novel’s history, one that marks a break with the major trajectories and critical criteria that had organized twentieth-century literature hitherto. Most obviously, it breaks with the tradition of moral and humanist realism of the kind that, as we will see, continues in Chaudhuri. It does not moralize at all. It also breaks with those forms of aestheticism which derive from Hegel and Adorno, and which focus on the redemptive power of form. Specifically, it twists the rhetoric of self-referentiality that has been so important to Western modernisms and post-modernisms. To give a concrete example, early in the book, Macero, the young poet, lists the poems he has written so far: The first one was about the sopes [a Mexican cornmeal tart], which smelled of the grave; the second was about the university: I saw it in ruins; the third was about the university (me running naked in the middle of a crowd of zombies); the fourth was about the moon over Mexico City; the fifth about a dead singer; the sixth 128

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about a secret community living in the sewers of Chapultepec; and the seventh about a lost book and friendship. (Bolaño 2007, 8) This list clearly references the novel itself and reminds us that the university system is important to it. But it is less than ‘self-referential’. Nothing crucial is at stake in this list – it is not much more than a sign that the character and the novel (or perhaps Bolaño himself) share a set of obsessions in which, of course, universities and literature loom large. This alerts us to their role in the mobile, post-national mode-of-being these characters prefer. At the level of theory, the novel does not seem to refer back to, or be shaped by, or even especially useful for, any contemporary academic theory. Thus, it would be, I suspect, fairly unrewarding to read it in poststructuralist terms, or even through the kind of avant-garde theory associated with Blanchot – as, for instance, a neutral writing of the disaster, even if The Savage Detectives is determinedly neutral and seems to regard the world as always already ruined. The novel has no time for the avant-garde either: visceral realism’s vapidity shows that the time for movements like surrealism, pataphysics and situationism is past. There is no longer a glamourous aesthetic cutting edge. No less pertinently, it breaks with cultural politics of colonialism: for it, European colonialism is no longer the project around which world history turns. This turns the novel away not just from another popular academic topos (the intellectual apparatus of ‘postcolonialism’) but from Mexico’s colonial pasts too. The novel is set in a transnational present which colonialism does not illuminate. Colonialism has become mere history. What replaces received rhetorics, concepts and forms? A literature committed to adventure and risk whose main values are courage and openness to contingency, a literature that understands that both human nature and the world are fundamentally cruel and pointless, and whose politics, insofar as they exist at all, are anarchist. This, we might say, is literature as Rimbaud saw it, except that Rimbaud still had a meaningful avant-garde to join. He could be explosively and confrontingly innovative. Bolaño is closer to Robert Louis Stevenson, who, also bypassing moralism, more or less invented the modern novel of adventure, and was, uniquely, simultaneously a popular, experimental and a cultivated writer. But Bolaño’s Stevenson is a Stevenson who has passed through Borges, a Stevenson who has been bleached of glamour and drenched in literary history. So, in the era of the megacity, the world-literature system, the global university, the collapse of modernism and the erosion of the avant-garde, literature has become something very different than it was for Rimbaud, Stevenson or Borges. It has become both a minor province of spectacle and 129

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an academic nook. In Bolaño it can be retrieved, not in the form of books, but as a precarious way of life with its own style or ethos – something around which friendships, loyalties, struggles and honour codes form on the model of the endlessly disappointed revolutionary groupuscle. In the end, visceral realism is not an aesthetic or a programme, but rather visceral realists are a band of poets, where a poet is not someone who necessarily publishes or even writes much, but who is loyal to the group and up for anything, and who, therefore, lives what Chris Andrews, after Galen Strawson, has called the ‘episodic life’ (Andrews 2014, 42). Indeed, poetry exists in events, things, perceptions and memories as much as it does in words. It is presence’s empty vitality, as experienced by those who live poetically. Literature conceived like this has one great intimate enemy – the university, or more particularly the literary humanities, with their enduring attachment to morality, politics, Bildung. Bolaño knows that, today, the academic and world-literature systems are entwined with one another: literature that takes itself seriously passes through the corridors of literature departments at some time or other. Which means that to fight the university is also to fight literature itself. This is one reason why in Bolaño poets cannot settle; staying in place risks academic consecration. They can live the literary life, outside the academy, outside local identity or attachment, only in movement. Their precarity is willed, partly at least. It is easy to say that all this is a form of romanticism, or, if not, of existentialism. But in the end, it is not, simply because it is so detached from any positivity whatsoever. These statements require an important qualification however: we need to acknowledge that Mexico City plays a central role in The Savage Detectives. In part, it does so, however, through an effort of negation. The novel’s Mexico City is not the exotic, chaotic, violent, death-obsessed, glamourous city of the older travelogues (see, for instance, David Lida’s First Stop in the First World) nor the cosmopolitan world city that it has more recently become (see, for instance, Daniel Hernandez’s Down and Delirious in Mexico City: the Aztec Metropolis in the Twenty-First Century). Bolaño is neither interested in comparative urban ethnography nor even in evoking the moods and lifestyles of particular neighbourhoods. Rather, the city exists at a distance from the novel’s explicit content as if, from that distance, it enables the text’s unique interplay between youth, criminality, cliquishness, political disenchantment, masculinist romanticism and avant-garde literary desire. The city also, of course, encourages lines of flight from itself, which are, at the same time, flights from the university system and flights toward death. In this complicated, dark nexus, the city remains all the while unfetishized, existing not as a visitable, liveable place that tourism, academia (whether of the North or South), journalism or literary realism might claim to master, but as a force whose dynamics are realized just in the text itself. 130

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Chaudhuri Chaudhuri is, as is perhaps not widely enough recognized, the author of five remarkable novels, as well as a collection of short stories, a book of poetry, a work of academic literary criticism, and a volume of critical reviews and essays. At one time, he was what they call in India an NRI (Non-Resident Indian), but these days, he is, like so many others, a returned NRI. A Bengali, he spent his childhood in Bombay, visiting Calcutta only on holidays. He left for London as an undergraduate to study literature, and completed a PhD at Oxford on postcolonialism and D. H. Lawrence. He now lives mainly in Calcutta (he rejects the name ‘Kolkata’ as a repudiation of the city’s history), commuting for a semester each year to Norwich. Before attending to The Immortals, it is useful to take note of his nonfiction book about Calcutta, published as Calcutta: Two Years in the City in 2013.5 It is not a travel book: Chaudhuri lives in Calcutta. But it is not about his hometown either: he does not come from the city and tells us more than once that he does not feel at ease there. Nor does the book record a state of exile: he explicitly rejects the romanticization of that concept which we now mainly associate with generations that knew neither Skype nor cheap international travel. It knows the city as a moment in the transnational network of networks. Nor is it an exposé of the city’s poverty of the kind with which we have become only too familiar. Chaudhuri’s city is not Mother Theresa’s. Nor, of course, does it belong to that popular Orientalism which sets out to represent metropolitan India for foreign readers as a plenum of chaotic vitality and strangeness. Chaudhuri once compared his return to Calcutta (in 1999) to the German theatre director Heiner Müller’s decision to remain in the GDR in the 1970s. It too, he noted, could be thought of as committing to ‘an osmosis between disrepair and civility, breakdown and order, the colonial and the local’ in which writers become ‘settlers’ (Chaudhuri 2008, 194). But in the end, this book has little truck with that kind of universalizing postcolonialism, or for that matter with the proposition that relations between the civil and the non-civil have stalled in the city. It is true that, in moving to Calcutta, Chaudhuri chose to live in a difficult and frustrating metropolis that is not confidently enamoured of itself. But he also chose to live in a city whose past is too layered, whose present is too unsettled, and whose future is too opaque for a literary intellectual such as himself to command it. Which means, from his own perspective, he took a chance on what we might call a via negativa. And that is all the more apparent since this book was written at that especially indeterminate moment in West Bengal’s recent history that preceded the state election in 2011. As everyone then sensed, that election would end 34 years of Communist 131

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rule, opening the way to Mamata Banerjee’s populist leadership, which could lead anywhere. On one level, Calcutta: Two Years in the City is just a collection of essays which do little more than describe everyday life in the city as Chaudhuri experiences it. But it is also soon apparent that the book is making real claims to conceptual originality. That is because it records Chaudhuri’s efforts to experience life in the city through the filters and drives of a particular literary sensibility. Chaudhuri engages literature not merely as a profession, not at all as an expression of a ‘creativity’, but (if differently from Bolaño’s characters) as a practice of life, by which I mean that he perceives and organizes his life so that his experiences provide matter for literary writing exactly of this book’s kind. On this basis, he goes on to explore what categories like the aesthetic and the literary mean when they are taken as practices of life in contemporary Calcutta by someone who is, as I say, neither at home there, nor in exile, nor simply ‘cosmopolitan’, but rather obedient to those chances and flows through which Bengal’s history meets its current conditions of life. So, it becomes clear that Chaudhuri’s literary sensibility is ignited as a practice of life when the duty of a bourgeois son can illuminate and be illuminated by the structures and flows that make up Calcutta’s history. This duty also weighs on his frustrated intellectual intuitions of what those structures and flows might mean and where they might be headed, intuitions that are largely based in institutionalized understandings via English tertiary education in the literary humanities. In Chaudhuri’s Calcutta, this synthetic literary ethic has three key qualities. First, the ‘personal’ is always defined by relation to other people rather than through the nurture of an interiorized personality. Here, the personal is a shifting position within communal and conversational associations and exchanges. So, Chaudhuri records his experiences in and of Calcutta alongside and in dialogue with others. He does not introspect. This involves limits. After all, Chaudhuri, as a polite bourgeois man, socializes with his own kind, and the intensity of the decorum which rules his social relations is, if anything, excessive. The expression of sexual longings and of aggrieved aggression are, for instance, both out of the question, let alone the expression of fiercer compulsions: self-destruction, madness and vice. There is a sense that not admitting the West’s at least literary tolerance of incivility constrains Chaudhuri’s literary ethic. Then, too, partly because Chaudhuri’s family connections and friendships take him only so far, he ends up using standard ethnographic and interviewing techniques to uncover what Calcutta is and means. When that happens, his literary apprehension of Calcutta lapses into eccentric reportage; eccentric because Chaudhuri’s attempts to accost strangers are more 132

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interesting for the tones and setting in which they happen – for their sociability – than for any information or insight his interviewees yield. To take one quite formal case: when he interviews Nirupam Sen, a powerful Communist Party politician, the discussion proceeds as if between acquaintances and social equals. Sen acquiesces in Chaudhuri’s perceptions of Bengal’s economic and cultural decline, apparently frankly. But nothing of substance is learnt. What is learnt is that Chaudhuri, who feels little good will towards the Communist Party, is nonetheless able to enjoy a conversation with those who run it inside the conventions that order intelligent chat between acquaintances, and which (as we know) mark his ‘personal’ space out more generally. The implications of this encounter reveal themselves gradually. It becomes a moment when we brush against what may be most confronting about the book. For Chaudhuri’s polite if oblique chat with Sen contains no room to discuss social justice, even though that has been the Communist Party’s main platform. This is important because the book as a whole does not make ethico-political judgments about, say, India’s misogyny, popular violence and oceans of poverty, even though Chaudhuri is intensely aware of the last, at least. It does not acknowledge liberal-progressive shame. Thus, for instance, Chaudhuri is unembarrassed about how servants are employed at a pittance, even though he deals at length with how his parents negotiate the endless problem of retaining them when they are so badly paid. It is as if the exploitation involved were no concern of his. Indeed, he does not empathize with Calcutta’s poor either, although he does perform spontaneous acts of charity which lead him into new entanglements of embarrassed sociability. In fact, it begins to look as if empathetic encounters between the rich and the poor might be dependent on that engaged affirmation with social justice which Chaudhurhi foregoes. Why this moral nonchalance? One reason is that from where Chaudhuri sits (as from where Bolaño sits), the affirmation of social justice puts the autonomy of the literary at risk. His capacity to experience the world in a precisely literary fashion hangs on resisting the temptation to tribunalize, politically or otherwise. It depends on submitting to experiential flows and determinations rather than imposing on them through exercises of political will or moral reason. And this is easy in Calcutta for reasons the book unfolds. The resistance to making judgments that appeal to universals like justice has shaped a number of Asian cultures, including Hindu ones. In the West, this resistance translates, somewhat clumsily, as conservatism: take Michael Oakeshott’s quasi-metaphysical defense of such resistance on the neo-Kantian grounds that different spheres of experience are autonomous, so that to bring one to bear on another is to commit an ‘irrelevance’ (i.e. 133

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a category mistake) (Franco and Marsh 2012, 65). But it seems to me that Chaudhuri’s unobtrusive example indicates that political judgement may be in retreat from literary practice more widely. After all, this is a book which is as much aimed at the Western reader as it is the subcontinental one. So, it indicates (or reminds us) that even for those who live in the developed world, one of literature’s most promising contemporary forms renounces politics and political judgement. That, of course, is all the easier because politics these days is making so little headway and sense, pretty much everywhere. Second, for Chaudhuri, Calcutta is a modern city just because it is in decline. For him, ‘modern’ means not the entry of the new, but rather a holding on to the old. Modernity happens when the past survives – in rituals, objects, institutions – but is no longer functional nor coherent; when it is fragmented, but has not acquired the glamour of the ruin. Calcutta is an extraordinarily modern city, then, not because it lives at the edge of an everchanging contemporaneity, but because it is so crammed with old things. Modernity, topsy-turvily, happens in the shock of the old. This sense of Calcutta’s modernity emerges out of a particular although quite conventional understanding of twentieth-century Bengali history, one taken in this case, I suspect, from Nirad Chaudhuri’s anti-Congress Party historiography (Chaudhuri 1987). In the nineteenth century, at the height of the Raj, but invisibly to European eyes, Calcutta became the agent of Hindu enlightenment as well as home to a unique literary culture, only to fall from political, cultural and economic prominence in the postcolonial period. For Amit Chaudhuri, the death knell sounded for members of Calcutta’s educated Hindu upper-castes – the bhadralok gentry – during the period of the Naxalite (Maoist) rebellions after 1967; they were swallowed up by history once and for all in 1977 when the Communist Party formed government as the dominant member of a Left Alliance, and stayed in power for those 34 years. From then on, young educated Bengalis like Chaudhuri, inheritors of the old bhadralok ethos – exemplified by Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Buddhadeva Bose, Rabindranath Tagore, Sunil Gangopadhyay and Shakti Chattopadhyay, among others – left Calcutta en masse for Bombay or Delhi or abroad in pursuit of, inter alia, money, security, cosmopolitan cultural flows, freedom and fame. So, the city’s failure to keep up with what Chaudhuri calls globalization is, paradoxically, the reason why it is not only such a modern city, so prone to shocks of the old, but one in which educated classes are so rarely at ease. The third characteristic feature of Calcutta’s literary ethos, as Chaudhuri presents himself living it, follows from this: the various elements of his life – personal memories, satisfactions and responsibilities, historical flows and 134

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heritages, and their intellectual apprehension – never quite click. And the result, as I say, is that no epiphany or closure, no satisfied intellectual apprehension, no secure moral/political judgement is possible for him. As we have seen, what remains these days is something else: everyday life, thought of as a zone of immanence in drift as well as a rebuke to those moral judgments which do no favours for the literary life. Indeed, it becomes clear that that turn is also possible because in Hindu cultures, neither the supernatural nor the literary ever had a clear relation to the transcendent. Literature in particular was never a vehicle for spiritual hunger, but rather a social practice, indifferent to redemption and tribunalizing alike. That is one reason why, for Chaudhuri, Calcutta promises a mundane literary via negativa with no truck with progressivism, moralism or questions concerning Being. Such life resonates with a buried cultural past, but also with international capitalism’s current ‘end of history’ tendencies and flows. This literary ethos is embraced and developed in Chaudhuri’s fictions, perhaps most of all in Freedom’s Song (1995). But it is also possible to read his oeuvre as working through theories that he first developed in his PhD thesis, where he argued, somewhat counterintuitively, that D. H. Lawrence wrote his poems inside the bhadralok tradition precisely in that he too resisted the temptation to treat ordinariness as ‘redemptive’ (Chaudhuri 2003, 137). Drawing on Jacques Derrida, Chaudhuri claims that Lawrence’s poems were intertextual, conversational and, in that sense, communal. As such they did not recognize, for instance, even the difference between the ‘masterpiece’ and ‘the ephemeral material object’ (Chaudhuri 2003, 137). This prompts us to see how Chaudhuri’s own writing tries to accommodate and combine patterns and forms developed, on the one hand, in Bengali and Hindi fiction and verse, and, on the other, by Anglophone modernists like Virginia Woolf and Katherine Mansfield. But – and this is the point – Calcutta’s literary ethos differs from the more or less antinomian and disaffected English modernists in that it has found a home – Calcutta, itself – where (or for this reason) it is not interrupted by postenlightenment flashes of, or invitations to, transcendence. That Chaudhuri’s literary sensibility is a Bengali modulation of an English modernist one is signalled in Calcutta’s first chapter. There he describes himself buying an old window. In 2007, he chanced on a demolished house in South Calcutta. Its French windows, a common feature of colonial-style Calcutta buildings, were lined up on the pavement. They attracted his attention because of the broken history to which they belonged. Probably introduced by the French in the late seventeenth century, French windows date back in Calcutta to the old India destroyed by Britain’s victory over France in the Seven Years War. Painted green, opened by slats called kharkhari, 135

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they defined the old city’s ‘eccentric visual field’ (Chaudhuri 2013, 15) in which the bhadralok class adapted European forms to its own ends, this time to share, but at the same time not to share, the new metropolitan public spaces with the ‘common man’ (Chaudhuri’s locution (2013, 69)) and their forms of communality and supernaturalism. But these days the old buildings are being destroyed, and those that replace them do not have French windows. Glass is changing its meaning and usage. As Raghubir Singh’s photographs of Bombay skyscrapers make clear, it is instead becoming the opaque material of commercial, international hypermodernity. So, Chaudhuri decides to buy one of the French windows stacked on the pavement, even though he has no idea what he will do with it when he brings it home. Among the drifts and repetitions of his everyday life, this is a moment of decision, and at first, it seems as if it might lead to an illumination of some kind. After all, in literature, windows are often not just windows; they are a spiritual medium which have, from Percy Shelley on, exposed the transcendent, present or absent. But the prospect of illumination fades during Chaudhuri’s drawn out negotiations to buy this particular window. After at last having paid an exorbitant amount for it, Chaudhuri puts it into storage. However, after a year it is returned to him, and it is then that Chaudhuri decides he does not want to use it as a window at all. He does not want it to open out on anything. Instead he finds an unused space inside his apartment ‘in shadow and obscured by an inner door’ (Chaudhuri 2013, 18) where he has it installed by a carpenter. No visitor will notice it there. It will look out onto nothing. This is one of the very few allegorical moments in Chaudhuri’s oeuvre. As a trace of the Raj, the window represents not just an obsolete bhadralok regime of visibility, but also an important component of bhadralok culture more generally; thence, of course, it also represents Chaudhuri’s personal reluctance to wholly let that culture go. At the same time, at least from the point of view of the Western literary intellectual (which Chaudhuri and his readers also are), it represents other things too. In buying it at some cost only to conceal it, in a single gesture he acts out his rejection both of the persona of the disengaged, knowing, judging spectator and of the search for ontological meaning and unity. That rejection allows him to take on the venture which he records here: the transformation of everyday life into literature, not through a transfiguration of the commonplace, but through ordinariness’s precise and attentive service – submission to the mundane. And yet, of course, the window still occupies its peculiar position in his apartment, a reminder of the larger peculiarities of living the literary life in Calcutta from the situation in which Chaudhuri found himself when he returned to the city to fulfil a duty which was nonetheless also an exemplary choice of the literary life in 136

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a post-political, post-spiritual world. Of course, in comparison to Bolaño’s novels, that literary life is saturated in history, and the history of colonialism especially. It lacks the emptiness which energizes Bolaño’s fictions. The Immortals takes us into Chaudhuri’s Calcutta from another direction. Like The Savage Detectives, it is the story of a young intellectual. Nirmalya Sengaputa lives in Calcutta (Chaudhuri once again rejects the name Kolkata) where he studies music. The novel itself is recognizably in the English moral realist lineage that stretches back to Austen via E. M. Forster, although it has also absorbed both modernism and elements of the Bengali tradition associated with Tagore. Here, plot fractures into vignettes and settings. Character is articulated in specific encounters and localities which routinely stymie will and identity. For all that, characters do strain towards the developed interiorities of a kind we know from the European tradition. In this structure, then, it matters where characters live, what kind of apartment they have, what kind of business is available to them, what caste or class they belong to and so on. These things form the substance of their lives and selves not because they define personality, but because they form the ground upon which interiorities can be nurtured. It is in these terms that Chaudhuri’s project is to see how the protocols of Anglophone moral realism fit contemporary Calcutta, as capitalism erodes and transmutes the city’s old social and ideological orders. And this, again, is more or less the opposite of Bolaño’s purpose, his honouring of the void. At the same time, however, Chaudhuri mounts a critique of Calcutta. For him the city is losing touch with its history and especially the moment at which European contact produced that local bhadralok culture, known as the Bengali Renaissance. On the one side, Calcutta today is falling prey to the BJP’s Hindi nationalism which misunderstands and perverts Indian history. On the other, it is falling prey to global neoliberalism and the extension of commodification, competition, entrepreneurialism and the market. So, living a literary life there involves a struggle, which is finally a moral struggle in European terms against these forces and against the city’s future itself. It is in this context that literature comes to mean something quite traditional in Chaudhuri. It implies a way of life, but because it is directed simultaneously against capitalism’s ravages and religious identity, this is a fundamentally conservative idea of the literary one that adheres to the trajectory of cultural critique sketched out by Raymond Williams in Culture and Society. As such, the university, which remains a shelter for cultural criticism and Bildung against the market and religion, matters for Chaudhuri. For him, it is not at all literature’s enemy. At the end, however, Nirmalya decides to leave Calcutta and the prospect of a career in law or business to study the humanities in London, 137

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knowing full well that this is risky. He is driven by his existential crisis, his feeling of a ‘melancholy . . . without history’ (Chaudhuri 2010, 404) based on Calcutta’s failure to provide him with the cultural or spiritual resources that he needs. Nirmalya himself decides to study philosophy, but in The Immortal’s quasi-sequel, the character who continues his story studies literature, poetry most of all. There he ends up with only one friend, his eccentric uncle, and unknown to himself, as a comic version of Stephen Dedalus in relation to his uncle’s Leopold Bloom: his melancholy dangling in his situation’s dark humour. One important social difference between Chaudhuri and Bolaño is their relation to colonialism. Chaudhuri writes in an Indian context in which choices on how to attach to or detach from the English heritage are fiercely political. India never was a settler colony, so it is possible to will a radical refusal of eurocentrism there. But Chaudhuri takes side against that will: he wishes to affirm India’s Raj inheritance and to insist that the European literary and ethical tradition can provide continuities and models for representing and living as a bourgeois cosmopolitan Indian – the tools for a classic literary Bildung we might say. It is in this context that he pays attention to Calcutta’s past, its feel and local lifeways as a mode of resistance to the forces that are opening the city up to neo-liberal development. For him, receiving the English literary heritage, living a version of the old European humanist life and attaching to old Calcutta belong to a single cultural politics, albeit one that is almost wholly blocked. Obviously, this complex problematic does not pertain to Bolaño, who writes in Spanish from a South America whose settler colonies never fitted the civilizing-mission models in the African, Asian or Pacific mode. And so for him Mexico City is a staging ground for the global situation itself. But the two writers’ different relations to colonialism is secondary to their different relations to the university system. Bolaño’s young poets, although bound to literature departments, flee them; Chaudhuri’s Nimalya, not tied to the academy in the sense that, as a bourgeois boy, other careers are available to him, embraces it. It is as if, in the Global South, just as in the West, the crucial question for writers and intellectuals has become: in the university or out? Passages from the Global South to the West are here shaped by the limits and demands of that choice. But it is a choice that joins us all – readers, writers, characters – wherever we may live, to a single structure, one, indeed, that begins to displace the old division between the Global South and North.

Notes For ‘world-literary system’, see Deckard et al. (2015). 1 2 For an illuminating recent example, see Khanna (2013).

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3 The locus classicus for the ‘unknowable’ city is Williams (1973, 153–63). 4 For a good account of intersections between the concept ‘modern’ and the city, see Dennis (2008). The argument that ‘modernization’ is too blunt (and occidental) a concept to help us in thinking about cities has forcefully been made in Amin and Thrift (2002). 5 The following material on Calcutta: Two Years in the City is drawn from my account of the book in Public Books (During 2013).

References Amin, Ash and Nigel Thrift. 2002. Cities: Re-Imagining the Urban. Cambridge: Polity. Andrews, Chris. 2014. Roberto Bolaño’s Fiction: an Expanding Universe. New York: Columbia University Press. Bolaño, Roberto. 2007. The Savage Detectives. Translated by Natasha Wimmer. New York: Farrar, Strauss & Giroux. Chaudhuri, Amit. 2003. D. H. Lawrence and Difference. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ———. 2008. Clearing a Space. London: Peter Lang. ———. 2010. The Immortals. New York: Vintage. ———. 2013. Calcutta: Two Years in the City. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Chaudhuri, Nirad. 1987. Thy Hand, Great Anarch! India 1921–1952. London: Chatto & Windus. Deckard, Sharae et al. 2015. Combined and Uneven Development: Towards a New Theory of World-Literature. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press. Dennis, Richard. 2008. Cities in Modernity: Representations and Productions of Metropolitan Space, 1840–1930. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. During, Simon. 2013. ‘Calcutta’s Via Negativa’. Public Books 8 June 2013 (www. publicbooks.org/calcuttas-via-negativa/ (accessed 7 September 2017)). Franco, Paul and Leslie Marsh. 2012. A Companion to Michael Oakeshott. Philadelphia: Penn State University Press. Khanna, Stuti. 2013. The Contemporary Novel and the City; Re-Conceiving National and Narrative Form. London: Palgrave. Williams, Raymond. 1973. Country and City. London: Chatto & Windus.

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8 TERMINAL CITY Immaterial migrations, virtual detachments and the North–South divide (Alex Rivera’s Sleep Dealer, 2008) Geoffrey Kantaris

A myriad of laborers flees the poorest areas of each country: the cities attract and cheat whole families with hopes of work, of a chance to better their condition, of a place in the magic circle of urban civilization. But hallucinations do not fill stomachs. . . . The international system of domination suffered by each country is reproduced within each. —Eduardo Galeano (1940–2015), The Open Veins of Latin America (1997, 248–9) Spinoza says that we do not know what the body is capable of. The foundation of needs and desire, of representations and concepts, the philosophical subject and object, and what is more (and better), the basis of all praxis and all reproduction: this human body resists the reproduction of oppressive relations – if not frontally, then obliquely. . . . It is the body which is the point of return, the redress – not the Logos, nor ‘the human’. —Henri Lefebvre (1976, 89)

The border between Mexico and the United States, perhaps more than any other frontier situated within the North American subcontinent, has given rise to a wide variety of imaginary projections, from fantasies of racial otherness and sexual proclivity bound up with the thrill of transgression, to illicit flows of substances, money and migrant bodies figured as invasion

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and threat (in both directions). The border has been geopolitically contentious since at least Mexican Independence from Spain, but it was with the Mexican-American war of 1846–48, pursuant to the US annexation of Texas, that the border began to accrue powerful symbolic meaning and became the guarantor of nationalist identitarian affiliations (‘Manifest Destiny’) or of fantasies of loss and dissolution. Mexico lost over half of its national territory to the United States as a result of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, otherwise known as the ‘Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic’, including the current states of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah and parts of others. The treaty left a large ‘misplaced’ Spanish-speaking population living on the north side of the border. Even today, Mexico, situated geographically in the North American subcontinent, is more often than not imagined from the Global North as belonging in the Global South, or at the very least as the South-of-the-North or as the North-of-the-South. In Carlos Fuentes’ novel Gringo Viejo (1985), a metahistorical summation of the long genre of novels of the Mexican Revolution, the Old Gringo who has crossed the border ‘in order to die’ in Mexico, declares that ‘there is no frontier for gringos, not to the East, not to the West, not to the North. Only to the South, always to the South. . . . What a shame. This is not a frontier: it’s a scar’ (1985, 174–5, my translation). Of course, borders rarely prevent crossings: in many ways they incite them. There is also, both in Mexico and the United States, a long history of border genres, based on the confused identities, languages and habits caused by the churning of populations between south and north, as well as by a massive migration which has left some thirty-six million US inhabitants identifying as Mexican-American. Most significant, in the United States, is the ‘Chicano’ movement which developed in the 1960s and has given rise to a whole genre of Chicano music, art, literature and film, exploring hybrid identities and languages, and often privileging the theme of symbolic border-crossing. Hollywood had also been fascinated by the border and its ‘frontier’ urban zones, signalling allure and danger, libidinal entanglements and detachments, ‘racial’ and other identitarian confusions, profit and corruption, violence and flows of illicit substances. This was perhaps summed up most masterfully in the late noir film Touch of Evil (1958), directed by Orson Welles and set mostly at night in the fictional seedy Mexican border town of ‘Los Robles’. Here, as in the later, neo-noir Chinatown (dir. Polanski 1974, discussed below), the openly racist US police and justice systems seem to have fully taken on the attributes and methods of the gangsters they are purportedly combatting, while notions of ‘truth’, ‘justice’, ‘equality’ and ‘rights’ appear to have sought refuge in the still idealistic legal system of Mexico as personified in the upstanding Mexican 142

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anti-narcotics official ‘Mike’ Vargas and his young American bride Susan. The hybrid Mexican-American identity that this couple herald, treated contemptuously by the US cops, is mirrored in the incessant, disorientating border-crossing throughout the film: a confusion of identities that seems compelled by powerful economic and libidinal forces that transcend individual agency. Such frontier outposts, predicated on the various forms of ‘libidinal economy’, from tourism, nightlife entertainment, gambling and drugs, to the phantasmatic machinery of oil extraction and energy transmission that provides the backdrop to many of the film’s most iconic sequences, would eventually grow into today’s major border cities such as Tijuana, currently home to over fifty million border crossings per year.1 The end of the Bracero Programme (Farm Labour agreement between Mexico and the United States) in 1964 led to the instigation by the Mexican government of the Maquiladora or Border Industrialization Programme in 1965, which established the conditions for US investment in factories and assembly plants, powered by cheap Mexican labour, in and around the major cities along the Mexican side of the border (principally Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa). The maquilas or maquiladoras grew rapidly, along with their urban and para-urban zones, becoming the major source of foreign exchange for the country from 1985 (Louie 2001, 69). The ‘globalization’ of the US–Mexican border from the 1990s onwards, after the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement, accelerated these processes, injecting powerful economic forces into the frontier lands on either side of the border, with further expansion of taxfree manufacturing zones and the offer of myriad low-paid medium-skilled maquiladora jobs for which female labour was often preferred, partly due to women’s lack of unionization and acceptance of low wages. In his novel 2666 (2004 (see also Chapter 7 in this volume)), the Chilean writer Roberto Bolaño charts the attendant violence, and infamous femicides of maquiladora workers and other women, including prostitutes, that occurred in and around Ciudad Juárez (Santa Teresa in the novel), as well as in other urbanized border zones. In this chapter, I shall examine the techno-noir science fiction film Sleep Dealer (2008), written and directed by a US national, Alex Rivera, but shot in Spanish in Tijuana, Mexico City and Querétaro. It is mostly set in Tijuana, described in the film’s dystopian future as ‘The largest frontier city in the world’. As befits its themes, the film is therefore a hybrid production, speaking to a geopolitical terrain of migrations and border crossings, both real and electronic or virtual. The city of Tijuana, which can be considered along with San Diego as forming an integrated part of the ‘Southern California’ megapolitan area, is becoming a dominant manufacturing centre of North America, and is beginning to take on some of the functions of a 143

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‘global city’ in Saskia Sassen’s sense of the term (1991), which is to say that it is a node in the financial, assembly-production and migrational networks of the global economic system. In this film, Tijuana – virtually connected to, but physically disconnected from, its megapolitan area – becomes a ‘terminal city’ in part because the city itself and the labouring bodies of the many workers who flock to its assembly lines in the futuristic infomaquilas are re-imagined as a vast set of ‘terminals’ in a computer network. The workers in this dystopian future plug their bodies directly into a global network of remotely operated machines, becoming the virtual end-points of an even wider array of extractive informational networks than those that currently converge on Tijuana. These range from vast natural resource monopolies to virtual labour, from remote drone fighter-pilot operatives to aquaterrorists, and from immaterial or informational migration to the commodification of affect in future ‘biosocial’ networks. However, as we shall see, Tijuana is a terminal city also in the sense that the (virtual) attachments for which it is a locus and magnet in the film paradoxically generate and proliferate new forms of detachment, whether from locality, identity or corporeality. I shall use the obsolete English word ‘tachment’, shorn of its prefixes, to designate this new paradoxical state of simultaneous connection and disconnection, which proliferates throughout the entire logic of the network. Tachment is defined both as ‘something attached; an appurtenance’, and as ‘a judicial seizure or apprehension of one’s person or goods’ (OED); it thus designates that which appertains to a person, body, or system, and at the same time, that which can be seized, apprehended or alienated as property. I shall also use it to designate the potential for attachment and detachment, a potential which, offered or withdrawn, becomes the privileged mode in which power now functions in the network society.

Conspiracy film and techno-noir Sleep Dealer can broadly be understood as connecting to the twin genres of the conspiracy film and techno-noir. Both of these are, evidently, imported filmic genres in Latin America, and along with the temporal displacement which renders all neo-noir cinematography ‘citational’, the geographical displacement that occurs when such genres are deployed in Latin America adds a sense of estrangement or a double set of quotation marks around the generic elements. This is not unlike the status of cinematic Sci-Fi in Latin America – a genre that is closely related to noir insofar as it evokes ‘dark’ or dystopian futures in which present political conflicts or unresolved past ones are intensified and fused with unsettling sexual relationships. But can we isolate any properly political function of the Latin American translation 144

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of noir tropes, which is to say the function of opening up a gap in the biopolitical deployment of cinema as a technology for the production of modern subjectivity, especially in Mexico? As is well known, classic cinematic noir in the 1940s and 1950s, in the United States, corresponded to the twin phenomena of the persistence of organized crime networks in the aftermath of prohibition and the postwar disturbance of gender power relations due to women’s slow but steady entry into the workforce and attendant economic and sexual autonomy. Films of this period thus respond to and project perceptions and fears of increased urban insecurity allegorized in disturbed or predatory sexuality, that is, behaviour disruptive to the patriarchal capture and reproduction of femininity. The classic Mexican use of these generic tropes, while focusing rather intensely on the conflicts surrounding feminine sexuality and the ‘sins’ of urban dwelling, tended to hybridize them with a range of other generic formulae. We see this obviously in the arrabal and cabaretera/ prostitute movies which combined prurient national melodrama, the musical, crime and gangster movies, a stylized and voyeuristic ‘neorealism’, as well as the contemporary Hollywood noir format. Luis Buñuel’s 1950s parodies of these bastardized generic formats, particularly of the crime-noir genres in The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz (1955), for example, allow us to see the extent to which the currents captured by Mexican film of the 1940s and 1950s mediate the contradictions inherent in the production of modern, urban subjectivity at a time of burgeoning urban growth through mass migration. It is important to stress ‘mediation’, because Mexican film of this period does not ‘express’ the axiomatics of capitalist urban modernity in some naïve representational sense: rather, it is that axiomatic in a very real sense, for the machinery of Golden Age cinema subjects all of the ‘customs’ and habits, which the new urban migrants went to the cinema to ‘learn’ (Martín Barbero 1987, 180), to the logic of the spectacle as commodity, and hence to the central axiom of capitalist modernity: that of quantitative equivalence and exchange. To use a Deleuzian vocabulary, cinema is the very face of technological modernity for the working classes of the 1950s, a desiring, deterritorializing machine which operates through and on the commodification of bodies and passions, connecting the flows of urban migrants to the transnational flows of images, fashions and wants. Yet it has to be acknowledged that Sleep Dealer, as a film made in Mexico by a non-Mexican, albeit of Hispanic heritage, does not consciously connect to this cinematic history. Its influences are drawn more directly from US sources, with the director citing, in his DVD commentary, Strange Days (1995), The Final Cut (2004), Minority Report (2002) and, of course, Blade Runner (1982). He omits mention of what is one of the 145

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most obvious non-Sci-Fi neo-noir sources, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown of 1974. I shall briefly examine the echoes of this film in Sleep Dealer to chart some of the transformations of conspiracy tropes and their potential political valency, by which I mean the ability of these tropes, through their mutations, to capture the contradictions at work in the transformation of systems of social power and control. Chinatown operates as a series of concentric emplotments in which each deception or conspiracy unfolds at the obscure boundary of a larger conspiracy. The detective, Jake, stumbles across each of these, as an apparently simple private-eye job investigating an extra-marital affair unfolds into an intrigue of political discreditation, which leads to a murder, which leads to the discovery of fraud at the water company, which leads to the revelation that water is being syphoned away in massive quantities, which leads to an Oedipal incest plot, unfolding into a conspiracy to devalue farmland, leading to fraudulent speculation on land futures, and so on potentially ad infinitum. The central economic plot is a vast conspiracy to devalue the agricultural land around Los Angeles by stealing enormous quantities of fresh water and dumping it in the ocean, thus creating an artificial drought. At one point, the sleazy tycoon, Noah Cross, who will later turn out to be at the centre of the conspiracy, tells the hapless detective ‘you may think you know what you’re dealing with, but believe me you don’t.’ My point here is Fredric Jameson’s idea (and oddly he does not discuss Chinatown) that twenty years on from classic noir, in the 1970s, the political fantasies represented by noir tropes have radically extended their scope. In, say, The Big Sleep (1946), extrapolated and parodied in Buñuel’s The Criminal Life of Archibaldo de la Cruz, the local or municipal disruptions to the social, economic and libidinal order are restored along with the final taming or internment of the femme fatale, with the help of the police and magistrates who act as agents of a moral order. In Chinatown, the conspiracies proliferate and extend outwards indefinitely, so that we suspect them to be coterminous only with the crisis-ridden, expanding envelope of the capitalist system itself. Just before she is deliberately shot through her head and eye by a policeman at the end of the movie while attempting to escape over the border to Mexico – figured intriguingly as a space beyond the reach of the corrupt financial webs of US capitalism and its legal agents – the fleeing Evelyn screams at the detective who is always one step behind unfolding events, that there is no point letting the police handle the situation, because her millionaire father ‘owns the police’. Such films, then, as Jameson signals, attempt haplessly, in the crumbling black holes of the detective’s reflective reason, to provide an allegorical figure of the unimaginable totality of the global financial system itself (1992, 5, 9). Sleep Dealer also concerns a vast conspiracy to enclose and privatize 146

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the one resource that is perhaps most symbolic of the idea of the ‘commons’: water. The film opens in the deep rural south of Mexico, in Oaxaca, where a US military–industrial corporation has dammed up the rivers in order to monopolize the supply and sale of water, causing a drought that threatens the future of the land-holding peasants. In a sequence near the beginning of the film, the protagonist, Memo Cruz, and his father go to a dam in search of a ridiculously inadequate quantity of water for their family. As they approach the high-security perimeter, a voice emerges in English from a metal box mounted on the wire fence sporting an automatic machine-gun protrusion and a fish-eye lens: ‘Alright, don’t make any sudden moves/Quietos, no se muevan’. Memo’s father asks for 35 litres of water, to which the box replies ‘That’s 85 dollars . . . The price went up/El precio subió, desde hoy’. He feeds some money into a slot in the gate, and the box acknowledges, ‘Hey, thanks for your business/Gracias por su preferencia’, as the gate springs open. Memo and his father then proceed to fill their water sacks from the dam, which is patrolled by heavily armed security guards, airborne drones, and more disembodied machine-gun posts. We get a sense here of the interaction between virtual networks of control and the subjection of the human and physical environment to what German Marxist economist Alfred Sohn-Rethel calls ‘the exchange abstraction’ (1977, 21ff). Here, and for Sohn-Rethel, the commodification of resources and the appropriation of manual labour are the ultimate foundation of vast systems of intellectual and social abstraction, capable of collapsing the very categories of time and space, for as Sohn-Rethel puts it, ‘the form of commodity is abstract, and abstraction governs its whole orbit’ (19). The enclosure and commodification of the commons in this film proliferates forms of abstraction, collapsing space, temporality and genealogy. Later, when tending to their milpa (cropping field), Memo asks his father, ‘Hey, pa, one question: Why are we still here?’ The paradoxical intuition in his father’s reply, ‘Do you want our future to belong to the past?’, renders rather precisely the ability of commodity exchange to collapse human temporality, past and future, in the same way that in Chinatown, human genealogy itself is collapsed when Evelyn reveals to the detective that Katherine is both her daughter and her sister. Memo unwittingly also disrupts generational genealogy due to his interest in ham radio and hacking. Having set up a directional aerial on the top of his family shack, he spends his evenings listening in to global social networks, to the world of teleworkers, and to the interactions of distant drone pilots undertaking bombing raids against global bands of ‘aquaterrorists’. His unwitting interception of a drone network is what brings about the calamity, as his ‘terrorist’ intercept aerial becomes a target for a drone bombing. He and his brother are out of the house, in a neighbouring 147

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property, watching a globally streamed reality TV show called Drones, where the presenter promises to show video-game style live-action streams of drone pilots ‘blowing the hell out of the bad guys’. Upon seeing their own shack identified as the target of the next bombing raid, the brothers desperately run back to the shack to try to save their father, who is inside, but arrive too late. While we do see a futuristic drone, with accompanying flying cameras, blowing up the family home,2 the interpolated aerial imagery of drone bombings is real footage released by the US military of drone attacks in Afghanistan and Iraq, while the use of drones in warfare and surveillance is rapidly catching up with the depiction of it in this film. Memo, in great distress that his hacking activities have destroyed his family’s meagre subsistence, and feeling responsible for the death of his father, sets off for Tijuana to look for work in the infomaquila factories, popularly referred to as ‘sleep dealers’, so that he can send money home to provide for his now destitute family. If the representation of visual technology and warfare seems somewhat over-determined in this film, it is because the director is an admirer of Paul Virilio’s War and Cinema (1984), as he tells us in the DVD commentary. As a critic it can be sobering when your subject pulls the theoretical rug from under your feet, such that a text or film turns out to be an allegory generated by the theoretical instruments that you might have been tempted to use in order to decode it in the first place; or, in more extreme fashion, that the film explicitly references those instruments, as when we discover that Neo at the beginning of The Matrix (dir. Wachowski 1999) has been reading Simulacra and Simulation (1994) by Baudrillard. This is as if to warn us that we cannot escape from the Matrix quite so easily: no sublation of fiction into speculative reason, no final, Hegelian Aufhebung, will provide us with release from the abyssal reflectivity of reality in virtuality and vice-versa. One of the displacements this produces is that the theoretical system itself becomes an effect of the wider processes the film engages, which is to say not just another description of those processes, but an intrinsic part of the web of abstractions with which the film is bound up. As we shall see, Sleep Dealer explicitly signals its own involvement, as a powerful intellectual and affective technology, with the vertiginous collapse of abstraction and virtuality into the material and even bodily reality of the world it is recounting. It will do this by placing an analogue of filmic narration at the very core of the biopolitical networks that proliferate throughout its intradiegetic universe.

Biosocial networks and immaterial labour On his way to Tijuana, Memo meets Luz Martínez, a former student of ‘biomedia’ studies, and now a writer from Mexico City, who gets on the 148

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same bus he is travelling in at an intermediate stop. Memo notices the plugs, or nodes she has inserted into her forearms, and asks her where she obtained them. These are needed for the teleworking he wishes to undertake in the infomaquilas, as the nodes are used to provide a direct interface between the nervous systems of the so-called cybraceros and the computer interface which remotely operates machines, such as construction robots, on the other side of the border in the United States. It emerges that the border between Mexico and the United States is sealed for migration northward, but that since the developed economies still require the labour of would-be migrants, it can be provided by these virtual means. Memo will later be offered work as a taxi driver in London, as a fruit picker in Florida, or as a construction worker in San Diego. Luz explains to him that he will need to find and pay a coyotek,3 in order to insert the nodes for him and secure him a job with the ‘sleep dealers’, and tells him where he can find a cheap one in the backstreets of Tijuana. Although Luz describes herself as a writer, we subsequently see that her storytelling also involves interfacing her body directly with a large social network called ‘TruNode’ in order to authenticate biologically the reality of her experiences, and also to record her somatic responses and affective states while experiencing the adventures she recounts. Paradigmatic of the state and process I am designating ‘tachment’, TruNode resembles our current social networks, but the plug-in node technology has enabled the abstraction of affect from the body in the form of complete somatic engrams that include emotional states verified by the technological interface that the computer network makes with the body’s own neural networks. The Spinozan term ‘affect’, in the interpretation of it given by Deleuze and Guattari in A Thousand Plateaus (1980, 256ff), is a detachable, pre-personal intensity that flows between bodies and does not belong to any one body, although it is subject to seizure, capture or abstraction. The ‘memories’ which the characters in Sleep Dealer upload to TruNode, for sale, can be understood as abstracted and captured affective states, ‘a seizure or apprehension of one’s person’, which have been rendered as ‘goods’ or commodities for sale on the biosocial network. Luz begins to compose a new memory based on her encounter with Memo, titling it ‘A migrant from Santa Ana del Río’. As she dictates the story, visual engrams are activated and displayed on a fully transparent screen, like a series of video frames surrounded by a blurred haze of what is not fully recorded at the edge of consciousness. Luz attempts to hide her burgeoning romantic interest in Memo, but the TruNode software, acting as a lie detector, immediately perceives the inauthenticity in her narrative, and interrupts the story, telling her to ‘tell the truth’. It is undoubtedly the case that the more disembodied, or detached, our interpersonal 149

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relationships and networked attachments become, the more we need to compensate, haplessly finding ways to reinsert the very thing that vanishes in those virtual networks: the body itself, or more precisely, embodiment. This anxiety of tachment perhaps accounts for the widespread contemporary use of social messaging networks for transmitting explicit, intimate bodily photographs or videos: besides any obvious sexual intent, might not this strange imperative be an attempt to rematerialize the corporeal, to reattach it to the flesh, at the moment of its full detachment and dematerialization? In this film’s dystopian future (or, increasingly, its parallel present), the attempt to ground truth and authenticity in the affective is the flipside of the full capture and commodification of affect, and indeed of the ‘immateriality’ that, according to Antonio Negri, is characteristic of post-Fordist labour (Negri 2008, 20), and of what Michael Hardt has termed ‘affective labour’ (2004). For the Italian operaista thinkers, such as Negri and Paolo Virno (2004), immaterial labour is thus the full technological development of what Karl Marx, referring to an earlier stage of industrial manufacture, called ‘the general intellect’: [Machines, locomotives, railways, electric telegraphs, self-acting mules, etc.,] are organs of the human brain, created by the human hand; the power of knowledge, objectified. The development of fixed capital indicates to what degree general social knowledge has become a direct force of production, and to what degree, hence, the conditions of the process of social life itself have come under the control of the general intellect and been transformed in accordance with it. To what degree the powers of social production have been produced, not only in the form of knowledge, but also as immediate organs of social practice, of the real life process. (Marx 1993, 706) Direct technological extensions of the body (here literalized in the nodes inserted directly into the arms and upper back, and through them to the nervous system) make it possible for the powers of social production to become ‘immediate organs’ of ‘the real life process’ in an intensification of the mode of production foreseen by Marx. The term ‘biomedia’, employed in the film, captures concisely this conflation: Luz’s student debt to the Institute of Biomedia Studies is in arrears, and she is compelled to sell memories relating to her cultural experiences, friendships and intimate feelings to service her obligations, overriding any ethical concerns that arise. Social media have thus become fully commodified as ‘immediate organs’ of the body, simultaneously attached and detached, through the technology which appears to make immaterial 150

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labour into a direct extension of the body’s nervous system, but in fact turns the body and its ‘life process’ into a node servicing a global marketing network: ‘TruNode, the world’s number one memory market’. This applies as much to those, like Luz, who undertake immaterial and affective labour, as to those who undertake physical labour through a cybernetic interface, as will be the case with Memo. On arriving in Tijuana, Memo goes to a central alley overlooked by a red neon star (reminiscent, for Rivera, of an ‘incredible Blade Runner façade’ [DVD commentary]), which is where Luz had told him he could get nodes installed cheaply with the help of a coyotek. Fortunately, Luz’s story about Memo has a buyer, who asks her for more episodes, forcing her to go out looking for him on the streets. This is where the inevitable femme fatale elements of the plot come in, for Luz, who turns out to be a coyotek herself, having learnt from a former boyfriend how to insert the nodes, is in her own way exploiting Memo, ‘seizing’ his life experiences, commodifying them and offering them up for sale on TruNode, without his permission. Incidentally, she also falls in love with him. Her ambiguous entrapment of him, as portrayed in the film, is perhaps best indicated by one of the bar sequences, where as the director himself points out, the careful choreography of Luz and Memo on one side of a wall mirror allows a simple twoshot to multiply into a four-shot, heavily suggesting that Memo is caught between not one Luz, but two, closing him in on either side in her attempt to extract his life story. The rather persistent survival of this noir trope, with the added conventional dimension that the man here undertakes the manual labour, while the woman engages in affective labour in a way that is somehow predatory on the man’s vitality or even his masculinity, speaks to the persistence and evolution of gendered power relationships even in the midst of our supposedly disembodied, gender-agnostic or gender-simulated online identities. There is no Utopian democratic power of self-organizing equality unleashed by immaterial labour in this dystopian projection.4 On the contrary, just as in this film the body returns, insistently, in the wake of its supposed (at) tachment to the immaterial, decorporealized network, so the inherence of gender in power and power in gender seems to return more insistently, in full noir fashion, the more the existing libidinal order is disturbed. Memo’s story is, after all, about the attempted recovery of a perhaps Oedipally murdered father, and the monstrous panther women and spider women that emerged from Hollywood noir, cannot be killed off, in our culture, quite as easily as we might imagine, despite its much-vaunted post-feminism. In fact, a high proportion of the low-paid, unregulated, no-benefits jobs in the maquiladoras of the Mexican border cities are undertaken by women, and the high murder rates of women, not just in Ciudad Juárez, suggest 151

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that the rise of medium-skilled, sometimes immaterial, globally connected labour has only increased violence against women, whether motivated by envy or by opportunity, in many of Mexico’s so-called free economic zones. Needless to say, a clear parallel is drawn between Luz’s vampiresque tachment or extraction of Memo’s life history, in order to sell it to pay off her student debt, and the work Memo manages to land as a cybracero on a construction site in San Diego (he thinks), though of course he never visits San Diego, but operates the construction robot from the infomaquila in Tijuana. He gains the nodes that allow him to work in the infomaquila thanks to Luz, who arranges for him to visit a coyotek who turns out to be herself. In a sequence which is reminiscent of the bioport insertion sequence in David Cronenberg’s eXistenZ (1999), where the bio-game designer Allegra Geller engages in heavy innuendo regarding the anus-like orifice inserted in the male protagonist’s lower spine, Luz uses a gun-like projectile to penetrate Memo’s arms and back with nodes that attach directly to his nervous system. A similar mechanic’s garage setting is used for both films, and the node/bioport inserter is adapted from a bolt extractor or rivet gun in both cases. The extra bodily orifices being created become sexually charged both in eXistenZ and in Sleep Dealer, especially as they allow for new kinds of technologically mediated attachments between people. They also allow for the direct plugging of workers’ bodies and nervous systems into the global economy, as Memo says in a rather too obvious voiceover commentary: ‘At last I was able to connect my nervous system to that other system: the global economy.’ As a metaphor, it is a literalization of Marx’s linking of the social and economic powers of production to the immediate organs of the real-life process discussed above, and hence a perfect example of this paradoxical form of tachment. It is, in fact, an intensification of the self-same financial networks that produce advanced technological communications devices at the expense of overworked Chinese or Mexican factory workers, who sometimes pay with their health, or even with their lives. Memo tells us that the infomaquilas themselves are located on the outskirts of Tijuana, in the same para-urban space that is occupied by shanty districts of informal housing used by a largely squatter population of migrant workers, injured ex workers and vagrants. Shortly after his arrival in Tijuana, Memo had been forced to find makeshift housing in one of these squatter settlements, in an abandoned ramshackle tin-roofed shack in the shadow of the barbed-wire-topped border wall, periodically illuminated by the searchlights of the automated machine-gun posts mounting the wall. One daytime and two nighttime sequences are set in this district, and together they establish a tight relationship between urban space and the new, paradoxical spatialities produced by the condition of simultaneous 152

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physical detachment and virtual attachment in this terminal city. As the camera tracks the ascension of Memo out of the central urban backstreets of Tijuana, where he has just been mugged, up to the wall that violently cuts the para-urban sprawl, the city behind him seems to dematerialize into a constellation of lights. Suddenly the point of view cuts to that of a hidden camera on the northern side of the wall, peeping over the barbed wire at Memo who is staring up at it. The spatial disorientation produced by this sudden jump, whereby we cross, virtually, a border that Memo will never be able to cross physically, condenses, at the level of the camera work, the new spatial trajectories at work here. The juxtaposition in this sequence of the nightlights of Tijuana, the wall with its searchlights, the shanty housing, the infomaquilas and the dilapidated bodies of the node workers, produces a layered spatiality that spreads outwards from nodes in the human terminals, through the wall that physically detaches the northern and southern zones of this paradoxically fractured, ‘globally connected and locally disconnected’ urban form (Castells 1996, 404), to the new, fractal topographies of the vast global financial, social and information networks. A key sequence in the film shows Memo’s first connection to the network in the infomaquila, to begin his job as a construction worker. The film highlights Memo’s spatial disorientation as he is transported virtually into the world of the construction robot: an urban construction site that is part cityscape and part CGI virtual simulation. This robot becomes an extension of his body, since he sees what it can see through its cameras, and its arms, equipped with various construction tools, become his arms (see Figure 8.1). As spectators, we are initially given POV shots as the virtual reality resolves to show a cityscape of half-constructed skyscrapers from the perspective of Memo’s robot high up in the scaffolding near the top of the building. Together with Memo, who has to steady himself by clutching onto an iron beam with his robotic arms, I think we as spectators experience here something of the vertigo of the network, that total disorientation of our cognitive maps, of which Jameson writes, as we enter these new, virtual hyperspaces, simultaneously attached to the network and detached from physical location. Here is the well-known passage from Postmodernism, or The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism: this latest mutation in space – postmodern hyperspace – has finally succeeded in transcending the capacities of the individual human body to locate itself, to organize its immediate surroundings perceptually, and cognitively to map its position in a mappable external world. It may now be suggested that this alarming disjunction point between the body and its built environment – which is to 153

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Figure 8.1  The cityscape from the perspective of the construction robot Source: Screen Capture by Author

the initial bewilderment of the older modernism as the velocities of spacecraft to those of the automobile – can itself stand as the symbol and analogon of that even sharper dilemma which is the incapacity of our minds, at least at present, to map the great global multinational and decentered communicational network in which we find ourselves caught as individual subjects. (Jameson 1991, 44) Disorientation would thus appear to be a powerful effect of the ‘becomingvirtual’ of the urban, tracing a convoluted line from the frontier confusions of Touch of Evil (rendered virtual through cinematic mediation) and the digital virtualizations of the terminal city in Sleep Dealer.

Tachment, crime and the biopolitics of affect For a while, Memo’s fortunes seem to look up. He gets paid for his job and manages to start sending money back regularly to his family at home, although the money-transmitting booth charges a huge percentage in fees and taxes. His love life is also looking up, as Luz and Memo strike up an intimate relationship, which is genuine on her part, though she continues to sell his stories without telling him. There is, however, a downside to the work in the maquilas, for the longer a person remains connected to the 154

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teleworking machines, the more their bioenergy is depleted. Temporary measures such as a shot of teki, a high-tech tequila energy-based concoction injected straight into a person’s nodes, can help, but it becomes clear that the classic extraction of surplus value from the body of the labourer is now rendered literal, as, beyond extracting surplus value from their labour, the infomaquilas are directly draining the workers’ veins of energy and vitality and piping it off elsewhere. Rivera cites Eduardo Galeano’s famous metaphor of the ‘open veins of Latin America’ (Galeano 1997), and the image also brings to mind Marx’s comparison of capital to a sucking vampire: ‘Capital is dead labour which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labour, and lives the more, the more labour it sucks’ (Marx 1976, 342). Memo sums this up in voiceover, linking the appropriation of water to the seizure and capture of the workers’ vital forces: ‘How could I tell [my mother] the truth, if I was only just working it out for myself? They were draining away my energy and sending it faraway. What happened to the river was happening to me.’ The appropriation of the commons, as a paradigmatic form of tachment, thus extends from water to the human body itself, its intimate biology and energy transmission networks, which capitalism is now commodifying in its desperate need to expand its frontiers into different spaces and open up new, previously untapped markets even as it manically reterritorializes its internal borders and frontiers. Of course, no noir or conspiracy aesthetic is complete without a crime or, better, an expanding chain of criminal networks. The initial crime in this film is the murder of Memo’s father by a newly trained drone pilot, Rudy Ramírez (a second-generation Latino). And in many ways the entire film is a slow unfolding of the networks of complicity that lead from the impoverished farmers of Latin America, Africa and China – whose subsistence labour, cheapened by the global race to the bottom in agriculture and commodity extraction, lies at the bottom of a chain of criminal/global financial networks – through disembodied forms of remote warfare with the proliferation of aerial drone surveillance and bombing raids that maintain the unequal division of labour, to the massive expansion of our much-vaunted immaterial and affective social networks. The fact that the drones are piloted using the same node technology as the infomaquilas, and that the drone pilot who killed Memo’s father turns out to be the initially anonymous buyer of Luz’s stories about Memo, explicitly links the ‘war on terror’ to the global extractive economy, the proliferation of market logic throughout our contemporary ‘social’ networks, and the manufacturing base that provides the communications infrastructure and hardware on which these networks proliferate. Tachment is, then, the most intimate property of these social and technical networks, for they effect detachment through the very process of 155

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attachment, and in so doing, they create a new and intimate form of power which is common to urban, economic and social networks. The traditional model of interpellation was always the policeman’s hail, even when transposed (within the hegemonic process) onto Ideological State Apparatuses: ‘Hey, you there!’ was merely a synecdoche of ‘Big Brother is watching you’ (Althusser 1971, 174; Orwell 1949, 7). But now Big Brother, Facebook and Twitter clearly do not operate in this disciplinary mode even as they address, track, modulate and profiteer from the shifting affects of the multitude. Our fear is no longer the guilt which subjects us as we turn to see if the policeman was hailing us; what controls us now, the new Great Terror, is the prospect of being detached from our (social) networks, being thrown from Big Brother’s embrace by our peers. Yet attachment mobilizes detachment as its most intimate power, draining the body through the very promise of infinite connectivity. This crime subplot in Sleep Dealer involves a chase through the nighttime streets of Tijuana once Rudy has caught up with Memo, followed by a reversal which leads to the creation of an alliance between Rudy, Luz and Memo in an attempt to right the wrongs caused by the appropriation of water resources in Santa Ana del Río. This instance of ‘network struggle’ involves a combination of Rudy’s drone piloting skills, Luz’s ability to interface between bodies and networks, and Memo’s hacking skills; and it would seem on the face of it to be a vindication of Hardt and Negri’s summoning of Spinoza’s ‘ingenium multitudinis’ to fight the Empire’s biopower on the terrain of biopolitical production (2004, 336): an affirmation of the power of attachment to overcome the alienation of detachment which is its very logic. Yet for all its dramatism in the film, this remains a minor skirmish, which succeeds only in making a hole at the top of the dam which can at best be a temporary incursion into the commodification of the commons. In fact, far from producing new forms of empowerment, it appears, oddly, to lead to the subsequent separation and dispersal of the three ‘co-workers’. Predictably, perhaps, the director has his ‘Emma Bovary c’est moi’ moment, and tells us in the commentary track that Luz’s activity and moral dilemmas are his own (and some of her uploaded memories are in fact taken from Rivera’s own documentary film work). The framing of the film, and the frequent use of Memo’s voiceover commentary, makes it clear that the entire film we are watching is one more memory that has been uploaded for sale on TruNode. It seems, from the voiceover, that this one has been written by Memo, and it is left up to us to decide whether Memo has commodified his story to extract surplus value from this labour of affect, or whether this detached fragment can act virally within the network to destabilize its logic and organize new communities of resistance.

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It is this biopolitics of affect, whether understood as an attribute of Empire or as an autopoietic logic of biopolitical production, which brings together the various strands raised by this film and discussed in this chapter. From the urban melodramas of the 1940s in Hollywood and Mexico onwards, the most fundamental characteristic of cinema is that it very quickly became a powerful capitalist technology for the capture and commodification of affect. What the commodification and transmission of affect provides, for the price of a cinema ticket, is not only the opening up of a new market of mass entertainment, but more fundamentally, the raw material which that market most needs, the lifeblood without which it cannot function: the creation of consumers, the intimate fashioning of their wants and desires, their orientation towards consumption. The fascination of film noir lies in the fact that its cameras focus almost selfreflexively on the biopolitics of affect, and in particular, the release of feminine sexuality and desire from its traditional reproductive anchoring, and its subsequent recapture by the desiring machine of cinema. The urban setting of most of these films is not coincidental, for the noir city is at the obscure interface of the becoming-virtual of the urban. In the subsequent evolution of noir into conspiracy film, and later in techno-noir, the manipulation of affect is obscurely revealed to be a fundamentally economic matter, linked to ever widening chains of financial corruption and political intrigue. It is the economic charge of its tropes of attachment and detachment, then, that allows Sleep Dealer to link together the extraction of surplus value from virtual migrant labour, the commodification of the commons along with the human body and its vital forces, the paradoxical tachment generated in the terminal city, and cinema itself – for which Luz’s visual and affective, yet ultimately commercial storytelling, is clearly an analogue. The technological administration of affect has of course now spilt over far beyond the confines of cinema and television, reaching into those social networks that are commodifying our most intimate, private, interpersonal relationships, communications and feelings. Vertiginous tendrils of tachment link together the cinema of the 1940s and 1950s, the violently fractured urban spaces of Mexico’s borderlands, the privatization of water, the patenting of DNA, drone bombings of populations who refuse to supply oil to the global economy, the mass migration of impoverished workers, the murder of women in the backstreets around the maquiladoras, and the sale of memories on our affective, immaterial and increasingly biosocial networks. And it is this noir plot of immaterial attachments and virtual detachments which perhaps provides a glimpse of the mutating imaginaries that populate today’s dangerously widening North–South divide.

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Notes 1 I should like to thank Andrew Webber for suggesting the relevance of Touch of Evil for an analysis of the Mexican–US border in noir and neo-noir cinematography. 2 Rivera comments that, for the film, the film crew actually blew up a campesino’s property, with his permission, and rebuilt it for him again afterwards. 3 The film plays with many current words associated with the border, often by adding ‘tek/tech’ to the end. In this case, a coyote is a popular name for a people smuggler who will help would-be migrants to cross into the United States for a fee. In the film, a coyotek does this virtually by installing nodes that allow workers to supply their virtual labour in the North without physically crossing the border. 4 In the second book of their ‘Empire’ trilogy, Multitude, Hardt and Negri argue that since ‘the newly hegemonic forms of “immaterial” labor . . . rely on communicative and collaborative networks that we share in common, and that . . . produce new networks of intellectual, affective, and social relationships’, then increasingly it becomes the case that ‘biopolitical social organization begins to appear absolutely immanent, where all the elements interact on the same plane[;] instead of an external authority imposing order on society from above, the various elements present in society are able collaboratively to organize society themselves’ (2004, 336–7).

References Althusser, Louis. 1971. ‘Ideology and Ideological State Apparatuses’. In Lenin and Philosophy, and Other Essays, 127–86. New York, London: Monthly Review Press. Baudrillard, Jean. 1994 [1981]. Simulacra and Simulation. Translated by Sheila Faria Glaiser. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Bolaño, Roberto. 2004. 2666. Narrativas hispánicas 366. Barcelona: Anagrama. Castells, Manuel. 1996. The Rise of the Network Society. 3 vols. Vol. I. The Information Age: Economy, Society, Culture. Oxford: Blackwell. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1980 [1987]. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Capitalism and Schizophrenia 2. Minneapolis, London: University of Minnesota Press. Fuentes, Carlos. 1985. Gringo viejo. México: Fondo de Cultura Económica. Galeano, Eduardo. 1997. Open Veins of Latin America: Five Centuries of the Pillage of a Continent. Translated by Cedric Belfrage. 25th Anniversary. New York: Monthly Review Press. Hardt, Michael and Antonio Negri. 2004. Multitude: War and Democracy in the Age of Empire. London: Hamish Hamilton. Jameson, Fredric. 1991. Postmodernism, or, The Cultural Logic of Late Capitalism. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. ———. 1992. The Geopolitical Aesthetic: Cinema and Space in the World System. Perspectives. Bloomington and London: Indiana University Press and BFI Publishing.

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Lefebvre, Henri. 1976. The Survival of Capitalism: Reproduction of the Relations of Production. Translated by Frank Bryant. London: Allison & Busby. Louie, Miriam Ching Yoon. 2001. Sweatshop Warriors: Immigrant Women Workers Take on the Global Factory. Cambridge, MA: South End Press. Martín Barbero, Jesús. 1987 [1998]. De los medios a las mediaciones: comunicación, cultura y hegemonía. 5th ed. Naucalpan, México: G. Gili. Marx, Karl. 1976 [1867]. Capital: A Critique of Political Economy. Translated by Ben Fowkes. 3 vols. London, New York: Penguin Books in association with New Left Review. ———. 1993 [1858]. Grundrisse: Foundations of the Critique of Political Economy (rough draft). Translated by Martin Nicolaus. Harmondsworth: Penguin. Negri, Antonio. 2008. ‘The Labor of the Multitude and the Fabric of Biopolitics’. Edited by Mark Coté. Translated by Sarah Mayo and Peter Graefe. Mediations 23.2: 8–25. Orwell, George. 1949 [2004]. Nineteen Eighty-Four. London: 1st World Publishing. Sassen, Saskia. 1991. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton paperbacks. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Sohn-Rethel, Alfred. 1977. Intellectual and Manual Labour: A Critique of Epistemology. Atlantic Highlands: Humanities Press. Virilio, Paul. 1984. Guerre et cinéma: logistique de la perception. Paris: Editions de l’Etoile. Virno, Paolo. 2004. A Grammar of the Multitude: For an Analysis of Contemporary Forms of Life. Los Angeles, CA, Cambridge, MA: Semiotext(e) & MIT Press.

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9 POSTCOLONIAL DANDIES AND THE DEATH OF THE FLÂNEUR Jennifer Wawrzinek

Cities of the North – London, Paris and New York. Cities that have grown over the last two centuries to become major global financial centres, centres of imperial growth and imperial decline, cities of desire, cities of promise. In the Francophone and English-speaking worlds, London, Paris and New York have formed an axis of power that has traditionally been associated with their historical positions as capitals of Empire, either the oldworld colonial empires of Britain and France, or the new-world ‘Empire’ of American cultural imperialism, economic domination and liberal individualism. Yet these megacities have experienced most of their growth over the last two centuries via successive waves of immigration, either from forced displacement (such as the transatlantic slave trade, e.g., or, more recently, following civil wars, political and religious persecutions) or simply as the result of a search for a better life.1 Yet it is perhaps New York that is most famously known as a city that has been built on immigration. It has the largest Jewish community outside Israel, the largest Asian Indian community in the Western Hemisphere, the largest African-American community in the entire United States, as well as significant populations of Puerto Ricans, Italians, West Indians, Dominicans, Chinese, Irish, Russians and Germans (NYCDCP). More recently, around the turn of the twentyfirst century, African immigrants to the United States more generally (as opposed to African-Americans who have already lived for generations on American soil) have constituted what is often referred to as the ‘fourth great migration’, as Africans relocate to the United States in search of economic success.2 In a city such as New York, this incredible diversity of ethnic and cultural backgrounds would seem to foreground a nexus of multiple orientations

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towards histories and previous lives in other parts of the world, most frequently in the Global South, but also East, across the Atlantic, in Southern and Eastern Europe and parts of Africa, most notably, Nigeria. New York would seem, then, to be a city of convergence; a place where these diverse lives interconnect and intersect; a space, that is, of openness towards diversity and difference, and towards the multifarious lives that make up the urban fabric of the northern megacity. It would seem to be, therefore, a city of multiple orientations in the ‘melting pot’ of its history. Yet how does the coexistence of these multiple histories figure in the cultural imaginary of the new immigrant negotiating the multiple layers of the urban fabric, its temporal orientations towards the past and the future, and its geographic orientations elsewhere, towards families, communities and cultural lives in other parts of the world, in the South or the East? Teju Cole, a writer and photographer of Nigerian origin who lives and works in New York, adopts the distinctly European figure of the dandyflâneur as a means of negotiating the multiple orientations of the megacity. Every Day is for the Thief, from 2007, traces the movements, thoughts and reflections of its unnamed narrator as he wanders around the streets of Lagos after returning from a long absence in New York. Open City, from 2014, shifts the scene of flânerie to New York and Brussels, where the protagonist, a Nigerian immigrant named Julius, is specifically concerned with memories of brutality and violence inherent to the transatlantic slave trade, as well as other acts of racially and ethnically motivated violence, that he portrays as haunting the spaces of urban modernity. Cole’s adoption of a postcolonial black dandy-flâneur as a means of generating orientations towards the past, as historical memory, and towards the movements of transatlantic passage (particularly between Lagos and New Orleans, in Every Day, and Lagos and New York, in Open City), generates the expectation, in light of the history of dandyism and flânerie, that his protagonists will engage in a politics of performative (re)construction as they negotiate the layers of history and memory underlying, or refracted though, these Northern cities. According to Baudelaire, the flâneur was the ‘painter of modern life’, a visionary in search of the poetic and the marvellous, and one who could see the epic in the ordinary and the everyday. In his Parisian incarnations, from Balzac’s panorama essays to Baudelaire’s avant-garde heroic, the flâneur transmutes the experience of urban modernity into art as a form of witness. By collecting his impressions and forming them into art, the flâneur thus creates a version of the city as a lived city, and, importantly, as one that could live alongside other, more official, versions of the city. In his incarnation as a dandy-flâneur, the translation of urban experience into art becomes collocated with the self-conscious arrangement of dress codes as a mode of self-performance.3 162

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A black postcolonial immigrant dandy-flâneur might, we could expect, wander through the spaces of New York engaged in an active reconstruction of self, as well as the interleaving, or layering, as de Certeau would have it, of a ‘migrational, or metaphorical, city’ over the ‘clear text of the planned city’ (1998, 93). According to de Certeau, footsteps have a qualitative character that cannot be counted or determined in advance. They are, he writes, ‘an innumerable collection of singularities. Their intertwined paths give shape to spaces. They weave places together. In that respect, pedestrian movements form one of these “real systems whose existence in fact makes up the city” ’ (1998, 97). The black postcolonial dandy-flâneur thus has the potential to highlight the multiple orientations of a city’s existence, that is, of the people who live the spaces everyday, and of those who enter and exit a city, thereby bringing with them the multiple histories that make up the urban fabric. AbdouMaliq Simone refers to this ‘plurality of relational possibilities, deal-making, loyalties, affiliations’ as intrinsic to the make-up of the modern city as alive and restless, but also potentially chaotic and uncontrollable, so always excessive to attempts at regulation, such as orderly planning for example (2010, 6). Both de Certeau’s urban peripatetic and Simone’s urban inhabitant gesture towards the potential subversive capabilities of walking in the city, given that the ‘cityness’ of a city, as Simone would have it, is composed and recomposed according to the connections made possible by the movements through the spaces of the city. In Open City, Cole’s Nigerian immigrant flâneur, walking through one of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful cities, New York, would therefore seem to promise a renegotiation of the city’s spaces in order to point us towards an ethical engagement with the forgotten lives of immigrants without power and without voice. Yet the protagonist of Open City, Julius, not only wanders through the streets of New York, commenting on the lives of the citizens and reflecting on the past, he also styles himself as a man of high culture by consistently quoting from the canon of European intellectual and artistic history, in particular (as most reviewers and scholars have noted), the German writer W. G. Sebald and the South African writer John Coetzee. This places Julius not only within the cultural tradition of the flâneur, reaching back to Baudelaire and Flaubert, but also one of selfperformance that encompasses both the European figure of the dandy and marginalized figures from the black African diaspora, such as Frederick Douglass and Oladauh Equiano – both of whom have used the dandy’s self-conscious manipulation of identity as a form of political masquerade. As Amelia Rauser points out in her essay on the macaroni (a particular form of the dandy in 1770s London), the dandy’s self-conscious adherence to the dictates of fashion signified a need to remain ‘authentically British’, while his blurring of gender and class boundaries (in that he was often a 163

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middle-class man aspiring to the aristocratic, and a man overtly concerned with the ‘feminine’ world of fashion and self-display) figured the dandy as liminal and disruptively ambiguous (Rauser 2004, 102). Indeed, the history of the abolition movement would seem to confirm the potential of masquerade and double consciousness as a mode of emancipatory self-display. Frederick Douglass, for example, a nineteenth-century ex-slave and American abolitionist, writes in his autobiographies that he first learnt of freedom from Irish sailors whilst he was working as a ship’s caulker in Baltimore. His escape from bondage was made possible through effecting the disguise of an old sailor, to the extent that Douglass even suggests that the success of the escape depended on his ability to ‘talk sailor like an old salt’ (1962, 199). Oladauh Equiano, an ex-slave and abolitionist working in England at the end of the eighteenth century, similarly used masquerade as a political strategy of double consciousness, this time to gain a legitimate voice in the public sphere in his campaigns to end slavery. The title of his autobiography, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Oladauh Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African, immediately signals the play of plural identities at work in the narrative, and in Equiano’s career as a whole. It is Equiano’s emphasis on performative assemblage that leads scholars such as Peter Jaros to argue that his careful assertion of his status as an English gentleman is a theatrical stategy that leaves the plurality of his other, more African, identities intact (2013, 7). To the same extent, Paul Youngquist suggests that Equiano serves as an early model for a rap artist because he collects found material to construct a hybrid, rather than authentic, identity. The collection of references, historical citations, national and ethnic origins into a collage that leaves the slippages intact, results, according to Youngquist, in the formation of Equiano/Vassa not as an individual, but rather as a ‘pack of aliases’ (2006, 183). Cole’s postcolonial dandy-flâneur thus circulates not only through the geographical and physical spaces of the Northern American city, but also through their cultural spaces. Yet to what extent does he render legible and transparent, as Gluck writes on the flâneur, ‘the bewildering heterogeneity of urban life and, in the process, create a viable model for an epic imagination in modernity’ (2003, 65)? To what extent does Cole’s urban peripatetic enable an ethical turn towards what Glissant refers to as déclosion, that is, a strategic indirection that orients us to a set of elsewheres, and thus towards the voices and histories of the marginalized and the occluded (Glissant 2010, 16, 27–35)? On the other hand, to what extent does the masquerade of the dandy, evident within Julius’s obsessive quoting of European high culture, close down upon difference and the potential to be otherwise? In other words, how do these demands foreclose on déclosion?

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Open City, by foregrounding the reconstructive potential of the dandy and the flâneur, would seem to promise, at the outset, a convergence between lives in the North and the South, that is, between the spaces of the Northern megacity, advertized as ‘open’ and welcoming, and the lives of those who come from elsewhere. It would seem to promise a flattening of difference (class-based, racial, ethnic) and a freedom of movement (between North and South) whereby the economic potential in a megacity such as New York can be realized by all who enter. As I will argue, however, Cole’s deployment of the dandy-flâneur as the erudite scholar who wanders the streets of New York, quoting at random from the history of European civilization and then melding both observations and reflections into a painting of postmodern life, in fact delimits any turn towards difference, engagement with otherness, and the elsewhere of the unknown that we might expect from a history of black dandyism and flâneurial orientations. Whereas Douglass and Equiano exploited the contradictions of a multiply oriented, double consciousness for political ends, that is, as a means of situating the experience of the black slave within the discourse of those in power (white British and American men), and in order to highlight the lived lives of those not in power, Cole’s flâneurial dandyism, on the other hand, results only in the emptying of all meaning and content, all human connection, from the pastiche of quotations of which Open City’s performance of sophisticated erudition is constructed. As I will go on to show, the performance of the dandy-flâneur in Open City recuperates a highly aestheticized experience of contemporary urban life primarily for the purposes of the self-enclosed ego, and without the irony of a double consciousness that would highlight the power differentials of race and gender associated with the demand to speak in the language of those in power. It is impossible to ignore Cole’s contextualization of a black Nigerian immigrant (as educated and erudite as he is) within the geophysical space of a Northern American city in which a certain segment of the population (white, middle-class, male) traditionally has held power, and within an intellectual and cultural history that is consistently defined as European. This ends up reinscribing the power differential between North and South as one that orients the South towards the North as the continuing location of cultural capital. And it thereby reifies all experience, human connection and any ethical turn towards difference, within the demand to place the self at the centre of history via the aestheticization of experience as literary commodity. Cole thus gives us the death of the flâneur, and the death of any claims to original observation, social engagement, political change or ethical awareness.

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The postcolonial dandy-flâneur and the culture industry The framing of Open City around the experiences and reflections of an African immigrant within a city widely known for its multicultural make-up and its history as a port of entry for migrants to America immediately positions the narrative (and the narrator) within a transatlantic axis of movement between Africa and the Americas, and one that is further emphasized historically via the narrator’s consistent references to the transatlantic slave trade. The urban spaces of New York come to be shot through with the palimpsestic layerings of historical memory that resonate throughout Julius’s peripatetic wanderings. Yet, although the title of the novel includes the word ‘open’, and thus references New York as an ‘open’ city, the persistent emptying of experiential meaning, the turning away from political engagement, and the refusal of ethical awareness, all work towards closing down upon the spaces of the city. The very real, physical violence that is recounted in snippets throughout the text is accordingly appropriated into the violence of the text itself – that is, a text (and its narrator) that is self-enclosed, or in psychological terms, pathologically narcissistic, in that all experience is drawn into the enclosed world of self-possession and there annulled or evacuated. One quarter of the way into the novel, Julius wanders into a bar and meets Kenneth, a guard of Caribbean origin from the Folk Art Museum who tries unsuccessfully to connect with him by positing a black diasporic alliance. Julius responds with arrogant disdain: ‘Kenneth was, by now, starting to wear on me, and I began to wish he would go away’ (2011, 53). Despite Kenneth’s enthusiasm for African culture and his attempts to draw Julius into some kind of human connection, his efforts prove futile. Julius simply dismisses Kenneth’s claims to a black diasporic alliance by reducing the museum guard to a pathetic figure of desperation: ‘I felt a little sorry for him, and the desperation in his prattle’ (2011, 54). In this sense, it is curious that, when Julius leaves the bar, he considers the black diasporic alliance that Kenneth was trying so hard to institute, but from which Julius turned away. In his mind, as he walks towards the waterline at South End and looks over to Ellis Island, Julius ironically describes Manhattan as ‘an island that turned in on itself’, with inhabitants who possess ‘scant sense about what flowed around them’ (2011, 54). Based on such comments, one would expect that Julius’s role as avantgarde flâneur-artist is to open these self-enclosed Manhattanites to the existence of peripheral identities, that is, disenfranchized black workers such as Kenneth, and the brutal history upon which New York was founded: Out, ahead of me, in the Hudson, there was just the faintest echo of the old whaling ships, the whales, and the generations of New 166

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Yorkers who had come here to the promenade to watch wealth and sorrow flow into the city or simply to see the lights play on the water. Each one of those moments was present now as a trace. From where I stood, the Statue of Liberty was a fluorescent green fleck against the sky, and beyond her sat Ellis Island, the focus of so many myths; but it had been too late for those early Africans – who weren’t immigrants in any case – and it had been closed too soon to mean anything to the later Africans like Kenneth, or the cabdriver, or me. Ellis Island was a symbol mostly for European refugees. Blacks, “we blacks”, had known rougher ports of entry. (2011, 54–5) Although Julius is finally able to acknowledge, to himself, the black ‘brotherly’ alliance for which Kenneth was asking, it comes only in the moment of selfenclosed solitude that enables Julius to transmute experience into art when he turns towards the Hudson and describes the play of lights on the water, and the traces of past lives infecting the urban fabric of the city. Yet the irony is not only that he turns away from Kenneth and his interest in African culture, but that he then uses the diasporic alliance to posit ‘we blacks’ against the European refugees entering America, thus reinscribing the black/white, slavery/ freedom dichotomy upon which Cole’s spatio-temporal dynamics depend. The turning away from a black alliance would seem to confirm Paul Gilroy’s scepticism over an ‘African essence that could magically connect all blacks together’ (Gilroy 1993, 24). Yet the subsequent consolidation of a black community, ‘we blacks’, who share ‘rougher ports of entry’, marks a strange ambiguity in the simultaneous removal and positing of black historical identity within the urban spaces of New York. Perhaps this dual movement (away from and towards) simply gestures towards Simone’s ‘double time’, in which cities are marked by their colonial history (2010, 9). Julius certainly reiterates, throughout the novel, the multiple temporalities that haunt any single present moment within the cityscape of his flânerie. The past of colonial violence and the horrific brutality of the slave trade remain perpetually submerged, but evident, in the traces of remembering described by Julius on his walks. By positing himself, however, as a member of ‘we blacks’, Julius can thus place himself at the centre of the history upon which European America was founded, and in contradistinction to all those immigrants arriving at Ellis Island and being overshadowed by Ms. Liberty on her plinth. The notion of history as a palimpsest, infusing the spaces of the contemporary urban metropolis with the traces of former violence and brutality, provides the perfect conceptual framing for the postcolonial migrant flâneur, because despite Julius’s claim that he, like the slaves who were 167

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forcibly transported into the Americas, had known ‘rougher ports of entry’, his position as an educated, middle-class immigrant, who listens to European classical music by Brahms and Bach, and who actively styles himself after white male writers such as Sebald and Coetzee, complicates the neat black/white binaries that Julius reinscribes whilst reflecting on Manhattan as enclosed. Rather than positing an alliance with the ‘we blacks’ who were forcibly transported in the slave trade, Julius’s depiction of himself as a European intellectual and erudite scholar, simultaneously aims at another kind of alliance, that is, one directed back towards Europe and the dictates of hegemonic power. Yet, when visiting the former site of the World Trade Centre, Julius in fact gestures towards a greater diversity of historical experience than the simple location of self within any one history would suggest. He remembers ‘the old Washington Market, the active piers, the fishwives, the Christian Syrian enclave that was established here in the late 1800s. The Syrians, the Lebanese, and other people from the Levant had been pushed across the river to Brooklyn.’ He then goes on to ask, ‘What Lenape paths lay beneath the rubble? The site was a palimpsest, so was all the city, written, erased, written’ (2011, 59). In calling up the myriad arrivals and deportations to and from the city, Julius seems to invoke, at least at the outset, a great circuitry of association across time and space, implicating transatlantic arrivals from diverse origins, both recent and in the distant past. Postcolonial flânerie thus becomes what de Certeau describes as a multiplication and concentration that makes the city ‘an immense social experience of lacking a place – an experience that is, to be sure, broken up into countless tiny deportations . . . compensated for by the relationships and intersections of these exoduses that intertwine and create an urban fabric’ (1998, 103). This perhaps explains Julius’s shifting alliances in which he privately locates himself within the ‘we blacks’, whilst simultaneously calling up the authority of Anglo-European cultural heritage (in his incessant citations), before depicting a wider, more organic history of multiple displacements and migrations. Although the ‘Lenape paths’ of the city replicate the movement of flâneurial excavation because they gesture towards the Native American Delaware people who traditionally occupied the Delaware and Hudson River valleys, Julius’s desire to place his own self at the centre of these histories, when he states that he wanted to ‘find the line that connected’ him to his ‘own part in these stories’ (2011, 75), disables the transcreational forces of multiplicity by returning all (historical) experience to the singular individual standing at the nexus of historical movement. Earlier, I pointed to the ways in which Equiano articulates a double consciousness inherent to the split enacted by his self-construction as British 168

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gentleman and his simultaneous references to an African-Igbo identity (whether authentic or performed). For Equiano, this plurality allowed him to gain a political voice, directed towards British society, whilst simultaneously gesturing towards his African, or at least African-American, heritage. Significantly, however, it is his entry into commercial enterprise, when he buys and then sells three oranges for a profit, that allows him to first buy his freedom, and then to become the English gentleman with a voice in the abolition movement. In Open City, however, whenever the promise, or the phantasmagoria (as Benjamin would have it), of consumer culture is invoked, it immediately disables any political or ethical potential generated by the flâneurial activites of the protagonist. When Julius manages to escape from Kenneth and then stands outside looking at Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, the echo of the past, of ‘whaling ships, the whales, and the generations of New Yorkers’, dissolves into the flippancy of lights playing on the water. The razzle-dazzle of the commercial landscape with its mutli-coloured lights obscures any profound engagement with the past beyond mere citation. As Priscilla Ferguson notes, ‘when the urban spectacle dazes more than it dazzles, the flâneur comes to resemble an exile figure who has not chosen to ramble about the city but is compelled to do so’ (1993, 111). It is perhaps this impotency that drives Cole’s narrator to consistently attempt to locate himself at the centre of history, and to forge links between his stories and those that have come before him, not only the slaves who were transported to America, but also the canonical figures of European cultural history that have the potential to firmly locate Julius, and Cole, within another kind of history – one that is, as Equiano was only too aware, legitimizing and authorizing. The dissipation of historical memory into the play of lights on the surface of the Hudson river is repeated, for example, when Julius goes for a walk through Harlem and there finds the lynching postcards that later generate an hallucination of a hanged man in a flapping construction canvas. Although the scenes of lynching return later as a brief haunting, at the marketplace, Julius can simply turn away (as he does at other instances throughout the novel, both in New York and in Brussels). At the market in Harlem, Julius sees the postcards and then goes shopping for ‘bread, eggs, and beer, and next door, at the Jamaican place . . . goat curry, yellow plantains, and rice and peas to take home’. The brutalities of history are emptied of content in their reduction to consumer items that generate little response from Julius other than the observation that there were all sorts of items on display, from books and posters to ‘little tourist tchotchkes from Africa’ (2011, 18). Even the later, momentary hallucination in the flapping canvas does little to effect any profound social engagement. The image of the hanged man quickly dissipates, and Julius returns to a memory 169

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from his Nigerian past at boarding school, the voice as flat and empty as it was before. This suggests that even these scenes of violence and ‘haunting’ (given that they just appear, but have little affective resonance) are collected together in the same way as the lists of commodity items on display that Julius recounts when he goes walking. In the same way, the entire literary and cultural history of (mostly) European civilization becomes a warehouse of commodities available for citation. Cole’s list of references is extraordinary, exending beyond Sebald and Coetzee to Barthes, Benjamin, Deleuze, Badiou, Serres, De Man, Bachelard, Borges and so forth (for a full list, see Jacobs 2014, 94, fn 9). In Cole’s first novel, Every Day is for the Thief, the title alone gestures towards the machinations of strategic commodification once literature, and writing, is pressed into the demands of capitalist return. Every Day is for the Thief immediately signals the work of masquerade and trickery inherent to thievery, and as something that is reiterated in the description of a practice said to be part of ‘the newly vital Nigerian economy’ (Cole 2014, 24). This practice, known as ‘advance fee fraud’ or simply ‘419’ (the latter denoting the section of the Nigerian criminal code that is being contravened), is conducted within Nigerian internet cafes and involves the writing of emails to unknown recipients, in which the writer promises shares from a large fund in exchange for a small advance fee (Cole 2014, 25). The narrator of Every Day specifically points to the imbrication here between literature and capitalism, whereby, as Cole writes, the best of these ‘enterprising samples of narrative fiction’ mean that ‘those who tell the best stories are richly rewarded’ (2014, 27, 28). This sort of game-playing, in which actors learn to manipulate the expectations of those with money, is reiterated in Open City when Julius travels to Brussels and meets Farouq in an internet café, with whom he participates in conversations over politics, religion, American imperialism and so forth. In their discussion on literature and the Western, largely Anglo-European market, Julius suggests that for the non-Anglo-European writer, resisting the ‘orientalizing impulse’ is difficult. As he says, ‘For those who don’t, who will publish them? Which Western publisher wants a Moroccan or Indian writer who isn’t into oriental fantasy, or who doesn’t satisfy the longing for fantasy?’ (2011, 104). These comments highlight the specific preoccupation in both novels with the market demands placed on the immigrant writer. In Cole’s case, this results not in the peddling of oriental fantasy, but rather in the careful inhabitation of Western canonical literary and intellectual fashions. In other words, the suggestion here is that the only way to succeed is to play the part of the erudite black dandy as one who can quote the entire history of canonical Anglo-European literature, music and philosophy. 170

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The result in Open City (more so than in Every Day where the quoting is less insistent) is the collecting together, via the trope of the flâneur, of a plethora of informational snippets similar to Julius’s music lessons in Nigeria, which he describes as little more than the empty citation of memorized facts: ‘His [the teacher’s] classes never involved any listening to music, or the use of instruments, and our musical education was composed of memorized facts: Handel’s birth date, Bach’s birth date, the titles of Schubert lieder, the notes of the chromatic scale’ (Cole 2011, 82). The irony here, of course, is that Julius re-enacts, in his citing of the Western canon, exactly what he criticizes in his Nigerian music teacher. The work of the dandy-flâneur thus becomes, in Open City, the futile struggle of drifting, or loitering, within the spaces of a late capitalist economy that has, as Pieter Vermeulen deftly argues, entirely subsumed literature into a production process that is oriented toward exchange rather than the creation of a meaningful work. Once the work of literature is so entirely governed by late industrial capitalism, according to Vermeulen, writers (such as Cole, for instance), produce ‘literature in the full knowledge that the value will be decided in the market’ (2013, 274). According to Vermeulen, however, the expectations of upward mobility generally made of immigrant writers are frustrated by Cole’s refusal to develop his protagonist, Julius, in a meaningful way, either socially, politically or emotionally. Vermeueln suggests that Open City jams the capitalist machine through the action of suspending or dissipating potential. Yet Vermeulen does not consider the ways in which Cole’s placement of Julius within canonical literary history performs the work of upward mobility that he suggests is frustrated by the novel’s lack of political and ethical engagement. The effort to redeem the existential narcissism of Cole’s protagonist is fairly common among literary critics. Madigan Haley argues that Cole’s citations function as responses that draw disparate texts into alignment, thus creating a constellation in which global literature is opened towards a ‘collective horizon’ which ‘rescues the meaning of events from the merely personal or particular’, and Karen Jacobs suggests that the citations copy with a difference, thereby creating ‘visual conversations’ that ‘conscript the reader into an ethical “face to face” encounter with the past’ (Haley 116, 118; Jacobs 94). Yet, throughout both Open City and Every Day, the consistent turning away from any real engagement with others, and the reduction of history to a market commodity effectively disables the ethical potential that both Haley and Jacobs are claiming. Even Vermeulen’s admirable attempt to configure these disavowals and dissipations into the suspensions of a productive worklessness (productive in that they perform the work of worklessness) lead us to question the ethical and political value 171

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of suspended potentiality when it seemingly leads only to the inhuman. In this sense, I think that Madhu Krishnan is right to criticize Cole’s fiction of Julius as a free-floating, cosmopolitan peripatetic that in fact ‘becomes an entrenchment of divisiveness through its inability to foster connectivities and multiplicity in being’ (2015, 689). Disconcerting is the lack of any critical self-awareness in the novel. The self-enclosed resistance to sharing knowledge with others, and the refusal to affectively or emotively engage with others, only serves to perpetuate the violence that Julius infuses throughout the palimpsest of his text. In fact, the disinterested detachment that marks Julius’s non-engagement with the city is one that has been traditionally seen as the hallmark of the flâneur throughout his various Parisian incarnations. This begins to gesture towards the ways in which Julius’s particular version of this figure repeats what Elizabeth Wilson detects in the figure of the dandy as a troubling selfglorification and calculating distance that, due to the aestheticization of political activity ‘produces a fascist elevation of style above humanity and of effect over suffering’ (2013, 204). It is in this sense that Cole’s elevation of distinterested detachment over any real human engagement or the sharing of emotions and knowledge leads, I suggest, to the figure of the inhuman, and perhaps as a process that is the logical outcome of the systems of slavery and profit on which Julius consistently remarks throughout the text.

The inhuman The violence and inhuman brutality of both the slave trade, as well as more recent acts of racially motivated violence, runs throughout Open City as a persistent theme. When Julius describes his visit to Belgium in 2006, he recounts a somewhat extraordinary list of hate crimes that had ‘ratcheted up the tension experienced by nonwhites living in the country’: In Bruges, five skinheads put a black Frenchman into a coma. In Antwerp, in May, an eighteen-year-old shaved his head and, after fulminating about makakken, headed for the city center with a Winchester rifle and started shooting. . . . In Brussels, a black man was left paralyzed after an attack at a petrol station. . . . The country was in the grip of uncertainties – the sense of anomie was apparent even to a visitor. (2011, 99–100) This list of sensational violence is not explored in any further detail apart from the recounting of the horrible facts and the brief summation that there was a ‘sense of anomie’ apparent. It is the flatness of this description, 172

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its reduction to surface detail, that leads scholars such as Katherine Hallemeier to charge Julius with an irresponsible solipsism (2014, 242). When Julius goes to the Parc du Cinquantenaire to look at the monuments that he describes as being built by a ‘heartless king’, and to a scale that is of inhuman proportions, there is seemingly no evidence that the ‘handful of tourists’, who ‘looked like toys’ as they ‘roamed around silently, taking photographs’, register any recognition within Julius’s disassociative mind that both king and tourists are performing the same evacuation of meaning, and of the human, that Julius’s dandyesque flânerie repeats in his collecting of violent atrocities, both current and historical. Just as the violent atrocities that Julius recounts in the novel become available content for literary purchase and recirculation (as literary commodity), the tourists similarly consume the historical memory of the king’s violent atrocities by capturing a reified image of the monument on film to circulate that image as a moment in a travelogue. The terror of history and the lived experiences of those who suffered at the hands of the king are thus emptied of affective force beyond the recounting of the tourist anecdote. The disconnection from the human in Open City, metaphorized by the tourists taking snapshots of the monuments, is perhaps most disturbingly present at the end of the novel in the party scene when Julius is accused of rape by Moji, his friend’s sister. Although Moji describes her pain both during and in the years after the rape, and although she specifically asks Julius for a response, he says nothing. To the reader he merely expresses relief that Moji does not cry before he recounts an anecdote, told by Camus, in which Nietzsche tells a story to his school friends about a Roman hero who holds a hot coal and lets it burn his hand. When the children do not believe Nietzsche’s story, he picks up a hot coal and similarly lets it burn his own hand. Julius then leaves the party, five minutes later, and the chapter ends with a correction of the story, thus reflecting the inherent unreliability of memory (Cole 2011, 245–46). This scene is disturbing not only because the sequence of events suggests that Moji’s claims are founded on an unreliable memory, but also because the story about Nietzsche is given instead of a direct reply to Moji’s accusations and her request for a response. Julius not only turns away and leaves the party, but he avoids all responsibility for his own violent actions and the effects they have on others by dismissing Moji’s claims as incorrect retelling. The avoidance of ethical responsibility that is painfully clear in the rape accusation scene appears in various forms throughout the novel. For example, when Julius, at the request of a woman who later becomes his girlfriend, visits a detention facility for undocumented immigrants, and then meets Saidhu, who recounts the details of his flight from Liberia, Julius promises to return and meet with Saidhu again, but in fact never does 173

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(2011, 70). As Hallemeier argues, the visit is, then, little more than ‘an opportunity for Julius to present his future girlfriend with an image of himself as “the compassionate African who paid attention to the details of someone else’s life and struggle” ’ (Hallemeier 242; Cole 2011, 70). These two events highlight the role of violence and suffering in Open City not as a means of engendering the ethical awareness of multiply oriented, global connections, as some critics have claimed, but rather of circumscribing their affective potential in the services of the solipsistic ego, that is, as a means of self-creation and self-display. If Cole leaves us with any comment on the ethical and political potential of the postcolonial dandy-flâneur, it is perhaps that often it is easier simply not to think too much and to turn away from that which makes us uncomfortable. It is possible, then, to read the work of the postcolonial dandy-flâneur in Open City in the same way that Matthew J. Pethers describes Equiano’s contemporary, Venture Smith, who in 1798 wrote Narrative of a Native of Africa. Pethers argues that because Smith aimed to consolidate his subjectivity through the ideological structures of the marketplace, he can be seen to unconsciously perpetuate ‘those economic presumptions that underpinned racial oppression. Committed to viewing the world through the cognitive lens of trade, he ends up reducing even his most intimate relationships to their exchange value’ (2007, 116). Likewise, Julius’s citing of literary and intellectual history as fashionable accoutrement to the detriment of any substantial human engagement results in the same kind of corporeal reduction that he describes in the Munkácsi photograph of a ‘field of young Germans lying in the sun, which must have been taken from a zeppelin. Their bodies, filling every space, made a flat, abstract pattern against the field’ (Cole 2011, 153). When Julius leaves the Munkácsi exhibition because he cannot bear to see the shift in thematic focus from the suffering of individual lives in the early works to the aesthetics of fashion in the later, the scenes in Open City that show Julius’s negotiations of the city as similarly reductive would suggest that his primary concern is to avoid any self-reflexive awareness of his own complicity with the violence of (aesthetic) commodification. This effectively reduces Cole’s dandy-flâneur to a Flaubertian loiterer without effect. Julius’s persistent avoidance in fact exemplifies, despite scholarly claims to the contrary, the death of any redemptive or productive flâneurial possibility in the postmodern city, in thrall as he is to the aesthetics of the culture industry, where lynching photographs can be bought alongside tourist tchotchkes from Africa, the inhuman monument is displayed for the snapping shutters of tourist photographs, and people sit around the memorial of Lin Zexu – the hero of the Opium Wars – in Chinatown, eating icecream and fried snacks (Cole 2011, 189). The violence of history, even as 174

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it is embedded within the palimpsestic layering of the city, becomes little more than an aesthetic cabinet of curiosities, available for display.

Déclosion and the new black international In the end, Cole’s dandified flâneur promises nothing beyond the existential abyss of a reified existence whereby the alienation and disaffection that might disrupt the capitalist machine of endless production gives us little else. What at first seems to be the promise of a new black cosmopolitanism, enacted by the movements of the flâneur who, in his traditional Euro-Parisian figuration, transmutes the experience of the modern city into art, Cole delivers only the illusion of a globally interconnected world. As Krishnan suggests, the cosmopolitan diversity promised by flânerie and world travel is in fact a masquerade that hides the more sinister, destructive operations of the text (2015, 680). Yet it would be a mistake to presume that Teju Cole is representative of a new trend among black African, and in particular, Nigerian writers and artists working in the early twenty-first century. Perhaps Cole’s particular brand of existential and solipsistic transatlantic writing, divested of political and ethical potential, has something to do with the context of the black Nigerian immigrant within the not-soopen North American city, driven as it is (if we believe Cole) by a rampant late industrial capitalism? One example of a transnational artist of black African descent who works towards the generation of an ethical engagement with others, is Nigerianborn visual artist, Yinka Shonibare, whose playful but disturbing inhabitations of the dandy are deliberately invoked as an unsettling of our Western assumptions about modernity.4 Although I do not have the space here to properly discuss Shonibare’s extraordinarily complex work, suffice to say that his installations of famous scenes from eighteenth-century European paintings, in which his figures are headless, black, and clothed in Dutch wax fabrics (as a signifier of African identity), work with the shock of contraries that Gilroy has located within the black countercultures of modernity arising from the Atlantic slave trade (Gilroy 1993, 221). While Shonibare’s installations are often playful, even if sometimes shockingly pornographic, they work to highlight, in ways very similar to Equiano’s prolix multiplicity, the fractured identities of Nigerian immigrants living in cities of the North (in this case, London), who are constantly divided by their dual, or multiple, orientations. Shonibare’s dandified inhabitations of European culture, sometimes literally placing himself as the dandy in his cinematic appropriations of Oscar Wilde, confront the audience with a duality in which the slippages, or the ‘shock of contraries’ (Gilroy 1993, 221), produces an unsettling that leaves us haunted by the 175

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effects of colonization and the slave trade. This kind of Glissantian déclosion produces what Nadi Edwards refers to elsewhere as ‘a constellation of detours’ due to the mistranslations and incompatibilities between linguistic, cultural and political incarnations of blackness (2005, 125). Edwards describes this systemic mode of indirection, which she reads in Brent Hayes Edwards’ rethinking of diaspora, as grounded within the ‘specific exchanges between black interlocutors within transnational networks situated within differing contexts of minority disenfranchizement, colonialism and systemic racism that preclude a singular understanding of black culture and experience’ (2005, 122). In Open City, the only moment that might lead towards some form of déclosion, and a new black internationalism, is when Julius meets Farouq in the Brussels internet café and they engage in intellectual conversations about politics, Islamicism and black activism. As Hallemeier argues, the multilingual exchanges in Farouq’s shop provide a contrast to Julius’s elitist and disinterested intellectualism. Whereas Julius is, according to Hallemeier, ‘relentlessly detached’, ‘Farouq is passionately engaged’ (2014, 245). Moreover, I would suggest that Farouq’s ability to engage with people in the everyday world of his internet café suggests the possibility, albeit one that is not really explored by Cole, of a black internationalism that pays attention, as Edwards would have it, to the situational and contextual differences of black experience in its various forms, and specifically as an embodied engagement with otherness. This would produce a form of literature as the mapping of lived experience, both in the present and in the future and the past. It would foreground the interconnections as well as the mistranslations and slippages that consistently highlight the ways in which cities of the twenty-first century, in both North and South, East and West, are shot through with the histories, memories, and lived experiences of other cities. It is this attentiveness to the multiple orientations of interconnection and difference that has the potential, I suggest, to really allow flânerie as a practice that actually invents spaces, rather than one that empties urban experience of the human through its absorption into the culture industry, and that ends up reinscribing the cultural dominance of certain economically powerful megacities via the demands of the (literary) marketplace. The practice of flânerie as déclosion would thereby generate the ‘negative potential’ of Simone’s urban peripheries (2010, 41), although here as the peripheral (the South) located within, and generated from, the relations between various network nodes. It would draw the lives of urban citizens in various parts of the world into productive alignment, even if momentarily, rather than subject one to the other in the service of self-gratification and economic success. It is in this sense of a new black internationalism, as one 176

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that is absent from Cole’s Open City, but alive and present in the works of Equiano and Shonibare, that the flâneur, the dandy and the cosmopolite may still bear the political possibilities of subversion and the ethical possibilities of engagement. The flâneur might not be dead after all, merely taking a detour ‘elsewheres’.

Notes 1 In London, by the middle of the twentieth century, the vast majority of immigrants then living in the capital were from current or former British colonies in the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia, Oceania and the Caribbean, with postwar immigration of Indians peaking in the years following Indian independence in 1947, and in the late 1960s and early 1970s when Idi Amin forcibly expelled all Gujarati Indians from Uganda. Likewise, postwar immigration to France from Vietnam, after independence in 1954, and from North Africa (particularly Algeria), has resulted in the cultural make-up of a city in which over 30 percent of its citizens (living mostly in the peripheral banlieues) have family ties to the North African countries of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia. 2 Adélékè Adéèkó has shown that the promise of fortune and personal success that is enacted in the American dream of liberal individualism seems to have replaced the former imperial centre, London, in recent Nigerian fiction, where the promises of American liberalism consistently figure as the future of the Nigerian imaginary in distinct opposition to the failures and oppressions of the British colonial past. 3 The dandy is similarly a figure of urban European cultural development, having evolved, as Lisa O’Connell deftly illustrates, out of the eighteenthcentury cultural figures of the libertine and the rake – both of whom appear frequently throughout European fiction of the period (O’Connell 2014). Yet the dandy, unlike the flâneur, has also been taken up by the black diaspora specifically for its performative possibilities as a means of self-reconstruction. This process of self-reconstruction is one that Monica Miller shows in her cultural history of the black dandy as one that provided, particularly in the Harlem Renaissance in the early twentieth century, a means of empowered self-expression. It is in this sense that Christopher Breward refers to the work of the dandy as one that constitutes a ‘politics of appearance’ (2000, 224). 4 Although I use the work of acclaimed Nigerian artist Yinka Shonibare to exemplify the playful and shocking multiplicities of the transnational black African identity, a survey of twenty-first-century fiction from the black African diaspora similarly reveals an increasing attentiveness to the need for human (re)connection, ethical engagement with others, and an active attentiveness to the political and social problems of countries in the Global South, in this case, of countries on the African continent. Writers such as Nigerian novelist Chimananda Ngozie Adichie and Zimbabwean writer Noviolet Bulawayo remain highly critical of the turn away from human community and ethical relation evident in Cole’s work. Recent novels by Adichie and Bulawayo tend to figure a return to the human (as community, homeland and relationship) as the only way to redress the problems of disaffection and alienation felt by

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those who travel to America in search of the Afropolitan neoliberal dream, but who subsequently discover that the land of bells and whistles is not as idyllic as initially promised. Other writers who do not have the option to return to Africa, such as Ethiopian novelist Dinaw Mengetsu and Nigerian poet Chris Abani, nevertheless affirm an intrinsic beauty at the heart of existence via the enacting of narrative as a form of spatial mapping, in which the situational embeddedness of lives that are lived and (inter)relational forms material networks that enable both connection with those lives as well as openness to difference and the unknown. For a full discussion of these writers, see my essay titled ‘Afropolitanism and the Novel: Mapping Material Networks in Recent Fiction from the African Diaspora’ (forthcoming).

References Breward, Christopher. 2000. ‘The Dandy Laid Bare: Embodying Practices and Fashion for Men’. In Fashion Cultures: Theories, Explorations and Analysis, edited by Stella Bruzzi and Pamela Church Gibson, 221–38. London and New York: Routledge. Cole, Teju. 2011. Open City. London: Faber & Faber. ———. 2014 [2007]. Every Day Is for the Thief. London: Faber & Faber. De Certeau, Michel. 1998. The Practice of Everyday Life. Translated by Steven Rendell. Berkeley: University of California Press. Douglass, Frederick. 1962. The Life and Times of Frederick Douglass. New York: Macmillan. Edwards, Nadi. 2005. ‘Diaspora, Difference, and Black Internationalisms’. Small Axe 17 (March): 120–8. Ferguson, Priscilla Parkhurst. 1993. ‘The Flaneur and the Production of Culture’. In Cultural Participation: Trends Since the Middle Ages, edited by Ann Rigney and Douwe Fokkema, 109–24. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company. Gilroy, Paul. 1993. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Glissant, Edouard. 2010. Poetics of Relation. Translated by Betsy Wing. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Gluck, Mary. 2003. ‘The Flâneur and the Aesthetic Appropriation of Urban Culture in Mid 19th-Century Paris’. Theory, Culture & Society 20.5: 53–80. Hallemeier, Katherine. 2014. ‘Literary Cosmopolitanisms in Teju Cole’s Every Day Is for the Thief and Open City’. Ariel: A Review of International English Literature 44.2–3: 239–50. Jacobs, Karen. 2014. ‘Teju Cole’s Photographic Afterimages’. Image [&] Narrative 15.2: 87–105. Jaros, Peter. 2013. ‘Good Names: Oladauh Equiano or Gustavus Vassa’. The Eighteenth Century 54.1 (Spring): 1–23. Krishnan, Madhu. 2015. ‘Postcoloniality, Spatiality and Cosmopolitanism in the Open City’. Textual Practice 29.4: 675–96.

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O’Connell, Lisa. 2014. ‘The Libertine, the Rake, and the Dandy: Personae, Styles, and Affects’. In The Cambridge History of Gay and Lesbian Literature, edited by E. L. McCallum and Mikko Tuhkanen, 218–38. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Pethers, Matthew J. 2007. ‘Talking Books, Selling Selves: Rereading the Politics of Oladauh Equiano’s Interesting Narrative’. American Studies 48.1 (Spring): 101–34. Rauser, Amelia. 2004. ‘Hair, Authenticity, and the Self-Made Macaroni’. Eighteenth-Century Studies 38.1 (Fall): 101–17. Simone, Abdoumaliq. 2010. City Life From Jakarta to Dakar: Movements at the Crossroads. New York, London: Routledge. Youngquist, Paul. 2006. ‘The Afrofuturism of DJ Vassa’. European Romantic Review 16.2: 181–92.

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10 GLOBALIZED PARISIAN SPACES Disability and mobility in The Untouchables (2011) Mireille Rosello

This chapter is about Paris, or more accurately, about a film that helps us rethink the type of political and cultural cartography that would make a viewer immediately assume that Paris is a city of the Global North. In Olivier Nakache’s and Eric Toledano’s feature, Intouchables (The Untouchables (2011)), we quickly realize that the representation and construction of Paris trouble what may appear to be a matter of geographical self-evidence. Here, Paris also functions, in many ways, as a city of the South. The protagonists of Intouchables invite us to think of Paris as an encounter between different cities; and the improbable collaboration between two subjects whose embodiment would assign them, respectively, to the South and the North helps us question our stereotypes about those categories. My objective, however, is not to deconstruct the opposition between ‘cities of the North’ and ‘cities of the South’, nor to resist the logic of the present volume that posits the existence of such spaces. Instead, this study focuses on a cultural object that I read as capable of both inhabiting and questioning the mapping of the City of the North/City of the South paradigm. Like ‘McArthur’s Universal Corrective Map of the World’ (1979), on which North is down and South is up, Nakache’s and Toledano’s film made me think about what it means to both know that the North is metaphorically ‘up there’ and to constantly rediscover that the conflation between politics and metaphors, or conventions and hierarchies, and maps and cultural values, disenfranchises certain subjects and unfairly empowers others. Intouchables has enabled me to think about what it means to orient the world and the self in a way that both accepts and troubles the very categories needed to understand the concepts of cities of the North and 181

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cities of the South today. A map that provides us with an understanding of how various inhabitants of cities move through them may inspire viewers to reflect on and contest the narratives of orientation that paralyze certain categories and bodies. When I use the word ‘map’ in this text, I am both appropriating and tweaking the distinction proposed by Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari (1987). When I suggest that I wish to interrogate the conditions that enable us to even think the world in terms of North and South, cities of the North and cities of the South, it may sound as if am quoting or at least invoking One Thousand Plateaus and more specifically embracing the authors’ preference for what they call the ‘map’ (‘carte’) – as opposed to the ‘tracing’ (‘calque’) (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 10–20). Clearly the ‘tracing’ is defined as a map with undesirable characteristics: it is a type of cartographing device that wants the user to forget that all maps have a thesis. Instead, the tracing implicitly claims to represent a pre-existing real. The tracing ‘always comes back “to the same” ’ (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 13). The ‘map’, on the other hand, works like McArthur’s experiment; it is open and connectable in all of its dimensions; it is detachable, reversible, susceptible to constant modification. It can be torn, reversed, adapted to any kind of mounting, reworked by an individual, group, or social formation. It can be drawn on a wall, conceived of as a work of art, constructed as a political action or as a meditation. (Deleuze and Guattari 1987, 13). My interest in Intouchables, however, does not stem from the impression that the film provides us with a (desirable) ‘map’ that adequately criticizes more traditional (and undesirable) ‘tracings’. Deleuze and Guattari’s text is far from simplistic and does not propose to simply celebrate the map and do away with the tracing: maps and tracing are always in each other’s pockets, flirting with each other, daring each other to be the other. My point, however, is neither to confirm through a reading of Intouchables that the film is a map rather than a tracing nor even that it exists in the zone of interference between any map and any tracing. I was interested in that work because it adopts a strangely welcoming attitude to a whole set of supposedly incompatible and self-contradictory maps/tracings. It accepts one kind of tracing – by recognizing the current cultural, political and aesthetic power of the North/South paradigm. It is, in that sense, a tracing of the Cities of the North and the Cities of the South or more exactly of how a City of the North reproduces the distinction within its centre. At 182

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the same time, and without trying to contest the existence or even truth of that paradigm, it proposes provisional, ephemeral and, most importantly, discrepant maps that critique what, in the South/North paradigm, ends up being aesthetically and politically dictatorial, authoritarian, paralyzing: in short, oppressive for the subjects caught up – in various and discrepant ways – in the orientational process. Nakache and Toledano’s 2011 film takes place in and, I suggest, also designs a certain Paris that we have learnt to recognize thanks to stereotypes but will have to discover anew as remapped. At first sight, the phenomenally successful comedy does not seem to require any special orientational skill from the viewer: the film is based on a series of binary oppositions that conveniently reinforce each other: the story is about two characters who come from two mutually exclusive global and local spaces: the rich Global North and the disenfranchised and colonized South.1 The film immediately places the main protagonists on a familiar tracing, and the construction of the fictional characters goes hand in hand with the mapping of space. Driss (Omar Sy) is assigned to the French South-of-the-North: the banlieue. He is a young black body. The two separate sentences emphasize that there should no causal relationship. Yet, the global distinction between North and South is here reproduced and cast into a mise en abyme within Paris. The banlieue is encoded as a sort of natural habitat. Driss is also constructed as a migrant: he, somehow, cannot be from the urban North. His home and origin are elsewhere; he comes from, he is from Africa, from the previously colonized South.2 On the contrary, the other main protagonist’s identity represents, embodies, symbolizes the urban North. He is a wealthy white aristocrat whose hôtel particulier is located in an upscale Parisian residential arrondissement. And the plot tells the audience that should he want to leave his luxurious palace, he owns several sports cars and even a private plane. From the centre of the City of the North, the globalized space is theoretically within his reach. Still, the reason that motivates the encounter between the two characters explains why the film has to invent new forms of discrepant mappings: the potentially globally mobile rich man is literally paralyzed and needs to hire a carer to help him navigate the city. He has survived a paragliding accident and is now tetraplegic. The conceptual maps that the spectator will need to orient himself or herself in this story will therefore have to take into account several levels or categories of mobility. Cartographing the routes the two characters take will demand more than two dimensions. Driss’s physical mobility is taken for granted. He can walk, jog or drive. He has already moved across continents: he was born in Senegal and was adopted by an aunt before she could have children of her own. On a daily 183

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basis, he should not encounter physical borders within the city. And yet, he is locally stuck in the banlieue. At the beginning of the film, we know that he was serving a prison sentence, and he is filmed in an overcrowded apartment, his tall body squashed into a tiny bath tub, or dwarfed by the towering high rises of the projects in the shadow of which young men are seen to spend long and apparently idle hours. On one level of the map, the city of the North thus contains the North and the South, as well as the subordination of the South by the North, a collective map that the film represents by confining individual bodies. At the same time, the film focuses on different types of movements within or between those over-determined spaces, and I propose to focus on the mapping of discrepant mobilities that both confirm the traces of the colonial order and alter the map at the moment when they take place. These forms of mobility are ‘discrepant’ because they cannot be reduced to who goes where and who is confined to certain parts of the city. I will focus on moments where the characters move across the city in ways that ignore, or rather redraw, the borders that separate or mask the spatial and conceptual difference between the Paris of the South and the Paris of the North, a discrepancy that contemporary maps render undistinguishable. Both Driss and Philippe are limited because their mobility is constrained by the consequences of social interpretation of certain types of disability. The film suggests, however, that it is also possible to avoid equating certain types of movement with certain types of identity categories organized in mutually exclusive pairs (the rich vs. the poor, disabled vs. able-bodied, black vs. white bodies, masters vs. servants). The film both represents the normative mapping of North and South through such traditional identity categories but also provides us with a set of dissident orientational devices. A few scenes suggest that some types of movements may alter the space where they occur. If the tendency of the global city is to perpetually split itself in terms of Global South and Global North, ex-colonized (or recolonized) and colonizer, dominant and dominated, the film re-orients its audience when it invites spectators to become aware of and rethink what is most normative about certain types of access. The scenes I propose to focus on here also made me ask what contribution the cultural analyst as cartographer can make to the process of interpretation, which also constitutes a form of mapping. Depending on which theoretical or metaphorical devices we choose to conceptualize the city, we give or deny access to certain subjects and objects. And by so doing, we create figurative and literal spaces and concepts that the film shows to be already over-determined by categories such as class and wealth, physical strength, and ethnicity or masculinity. 184

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Vehicles as prostheses: cars, wheelchairs and re-routings In Intouchables, people are not the only moving agents. Like the subjects created by the opposition between North and South, the objects that move through the global city encode and decode North and South in ways that are both very abstract and very concrete. A whole network of semianimated objects guides spectators, and helps them orient, disorient and re-orient themselves through familiar tracings or unrecognized maps. Let us consider what happens to two of those objects: Philippe’s wheelchair and the sports car that Driss drives through Paris. Both vehicles are humanmade and mobility-enhancing machines, but they are also cartographing tools to the extent that they determine how bodies orient themselves and move according to the physical and social laws that define the norm (they enable or disable). They also allow the characters to put pressure on such limits and let the spectator imagine what other kinds of movement are possible. The most visible of all the non-human agents in the film is the sophisticated power wheelchair that lets Philippe move now that his arms and legs can no longer perform that function. At the beginning of the story, a close-up draws our attention to the small lever positioned in front of Philippe’s chin. His chin has become a leg, and allows him to control the powerful contraption. The class dimension of such an alteration of normal body mapping (from leg to chin) is both present and de-emphasized in the film. Such powerful prostheses come at a price, and from a realistic point of view, it is no coincidence that this type of wheelchair should be filmed in Philippe’s hôtel particulier and not in Driss’s banlieue. In other stories, such as that of Philippe Faucon’s 2007 feature, Dans la vie (Two Ladies), a similar object makes a different point: the protagonist uses a simpler manual wheelchair. Although Esther’s body, in that story, is more mobile than that of Philippe, access is not systematically improved because the obstacles that she has to overcome are the limits of the tiny social housing flat where her carer lives. In Intouchables, the wheelchair is a node that brings together different categories of access or immobility: it creates a kind of space where Philippe’s physical disability and his class privilege meet. In order to best ‘map’ – as opposed to ‘trace’ – this specific meeting point, I turn to metaphorical dimensions of space that privilege intersections: the stick that Philippe uses to activate the chair is a node where a minimum amount of energy results in a maximum level of mobility also because it is where powerlessness and class privilege meet. As such, it can adequately be mapped with the tools of intersectionality. Originally, the concept of intersectionality was a legal scholar’s spatial visualization of the 185

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complex forces of oppression that take identification markers as their pretexts. It was an attempt to resist and critique discourses that separate gender from race, for example. In the early 1990s texts on ‘Demarginalization’ and on ‘Mapping the Margins’, Kimberlé Crenshaw was working on the ‘crossroads’ that makes black women particularly vulnerable to forces that neither feminism nor anti-racism alone can map (Crenshaw 1989, 1991). Later, she pointed out that her own use of the term ‘intersectionality’ at that time was a metaphor and that she sometimes had trouble recognizing her own concept. But she was clear about what she wanted to do: I was simply looking at the way all of these systems of oppression overlap. But more importantly, how in the process of that structural convergence rhetorical politics and identity politics – based on the idea that systems of subordination do not overlap – would abandon issues and causes and people who actually were affected by overlapping systems of subordination. (Crenshaw, quoted in Berger and Guidroz 2009, 65)3 Intouchables suggests that there is no such thing as ‘simply’ looking. The fact that the interaction between the wheelchair and Philippe’s body invites us to rethink the very definition of access to discrepant categories exemplifies the type of intersectionality that Leslie McCall was to call, a few years later, ‘intracategorical’ intersectionality (McCall 2005). When McCall distinguishes between anticategorical, intercategorical or intracategorical forms of intersectionality, she helps us understand what type of cultural work intersectionality involves: she invites us to become aware of how we position ourselves vis-à-vis the map that we are both reading and redrawing at the same time. An ‘anticategorical’ approach to the global city (a stance relatively close to deconstructive or post-modernist thinking) would (‘simply’) refuse to abide by the identity categories that have resulted in the traditional ‘tracings’, those, for example, that align class and ethnicity privileges (assigning the poor black body to the banlieue and the rich white bourgeois to the rich part of the City of the North). In a realist narrative, the risk of such starting points is that the discrepancy between the (politically dynamic) map and the traditional tracing is so extreme that spectators will experience disorientation, alienation and confusion (or in generic terms, a breach in the convention of realism that the film otherwise embraces). At the other pole, what McCall calls the ‘intercategorical’ approach begins by strategically accepting hierarchies of inequalities and categories that help or hinder some subjects and objects when they try to move, literarily or figuratively 186

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throughout the city. For example, we could use Intouchables to look at the ways in which the banlieue and the centre have created differently accessible itineraries for disabled bodies. The danger in that case is to inadvertently reinforce the grid that is thus reiterated. Yet, a third approach helps us orient ourselves slightly differently in the presence of unequal modes of access: the ‘intracategorical’ intersections appear when the map and the tracing coexist, unharmoniously, when we deliberately superimpose mapping strategies that would result in different types of maps, categorized as either thematic maps or ‘protest maps’.4 Let us imagine one map that would be the equivalent of a ‘regular’ map of the Paris metro on which one has added a map of all the places where a Parisian wheelchair user finds him or herself paralyzed and all the places where an able-bodied newly arrived immigrant may get lost.5 I argue that the film deliberately embraces the discrepant logic of intracategorical intersectionality in that it breaks down the narratives of progress, hierarchy and development that a traditional map of global cities will present as the most likely orientational device (Sassen 1992; Edward and Dawson 2004). By adopting an intracategorical, intersectional gaze, both the critic and the more routine spectator are able to focus on those intersections that will appear when we neither ignore pre-existent categories of assignment nor strategically accept them. The type of intersection created by the encounter between various forms of paralysis interpreted as physical or social impairments produces a new map that depends on the presence or absence of certain vehicles or prosthetic devices. To put it differently, it is not enough to point out that Philippe’s sophisticated wheelchair constitutes an intersection between bodily impairment and class privilege. That intersection itself is complicated in the film. Driss’s and Philippe’s paradigms of mobility coexist, but in daily life, the intracategorical superposition of two kinds of maps shows that some forms of disenablement are alternatively reinforced or played down at various intersections: no unique solution can be invented. For example, when Driss compares his ability to run with Philippe’s sophisticated prosthesis, the latter is still found lacking by the able-bodied young man. In one of the scenes that could easily have been written as a tragedy, Driss is trying to jog, but he is frustrated because Philippe has trouble following him: the wheelchair is too slow. Here able-bodiedness seems to trump class privilege and the discrepant intersection no longer works as intersection. The wheelchair in that scene does not help Philippe overcome his impairment. It makes it visible instead of compensating for it. Like a skin colour, the wheelchair now functions as an ambiguous attribute: at the intersection between technology and embodiment, it troubles the border between what is constructed, human-made and biological. 187

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Like ‘race’ it is both quintessentially part of the body because it is what the racist uses to discriminate, but also a scientifically debunked construction. If one sees someone in a wheelchair (and after all that is what a film does: makes us see certain images), the prosthesis and the body become fused. In other words, it is what always risks turning Philippe’s disability into an identity. In the scene where Driss is jogging and Philippe failing to follow, the black man’s racialization is minimal but the tetraplegic man’s lack of mobility functions like a form of racialization. Driss’s annoyance that the machine is not fast enough could be a hurtful and insensitive reference to the fact that no matter how much technology is present, the expensive chair does not replace legs. Whereas one of the most traditional tropes around the prosthesis figure is one of inspirational overcoming,6 here, we see that the banlieue kid, who has been cast to look like an athlete, is a natural fast runner who is slowed down (disabled) because he has to wait for Philippe. No amount of expensive prosthetic equipment will give Philippe back his legs. Of course, the cruelty of the moment also affects Driss for whom the racialized intersection between race and physical agility remains an unspoken ‘taboo’ (Gladwell 2013). But the scene is also what we could call an anchoring point, the equivalent of an upholstery button or ‘point de capiton’,7 where discrepant maps of the city are stuck together. But even that intersection is dynamic, and the story shows that the spatial configuration that separates the two men plays a curious role at that particular moment: Driss and Phillippe take the wheelchair into the banlieue and return it, altered and slightly hybridized, tainted with the type of ‘bad behaviour’ that is stereotypically associated with banlieue youth. Immediately after the failed jogging episode, the camera cuts over to another scene, without transition. Now we see Philippe negotiating with a mechanic whose workshop is not the kind of place you expect the rich aristocrat to patronize (even if we could believe that he does not delegate this kind of maintenance). Clearly, we are now in Driss’s part of the city. The sophisticated prosthesis is being fixed, or rather treated like a teenager’s motorcycle. It needs to be tweaked to go faster. The transgression involves bypassing the regulations that put artificial mechanical limits on the engine. And, in the next scene, we see Driss standing behind Philippe on the bricolée machine, overtaking tourists on other sophisticated modern machines: a couple of rented Segways (Figure 10.1). By now, the two protagonists are back on Philippe’s side of the city, driving the re- or super-enabled machine on the bridges over the Seine. At that point, Driss is not even running anymore, he has stepped on the back of the wheelchair and is using it as vehicle, as if the original competition between prosthesis and real legs were no longer relevant. The prosthesis 188

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Figure 10.1 The bricolée machine overtaking tourists on Segways Source: Screen Capture by Author

has become a toy for boys rather than a medical contraption. We do not know if Driss would ‘naturally’ run faster or slower than such a machine, but the pleasure that both men experience has to do with going faster than other sophisticated machines designed for the pleasure of able-bodied people, and doing so together. In that scene, they are both laughing, not really at anything or anyone, just with each other: they laugh like children testing limits. The trip to the banlieue has added a ludic element to the wheelchair, and the incursion into the world of petty transgressions is Driss’s gift to Philippe. From a two-dimensional perspective, the detour via the banlieue has only taken Philippe out of ‘his’ way. But the intracategorical intersection is adding other paradigms, including that of ‘détournement’, or rerouting, in the sense popularized by the Situationists.8 Here, the idea of conceptual rerouting or hijacking also contains the spatial dimension that modifies the map of the city. When Philippe and Driss reroute the expensive equipment and turn it into a toy, two spaces collide. If Driss were alone on an unbridled scooter, the horizon of verisimilitude of banlieue films would make us expect a joy ride, a stolen vehicle, and perhaps an unhappy ending. The illegally modified scooter would reinforce his ties to the banlieue as place of origin from which one never goes away. However, when Driss and Philippe are allies, the desire to break the law is presented as a source of innocent joy. 189

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The sports car as ambulance At another moment, just as the wheelchair is turned into a banlieue scooter, Philippe’s exceedingly expensive and fast sports car has to be bricolée into an ambulance. Driss’s rather irresponsible driving habits have to be rerouted so that he may go as fast as he wants without being penalized by his driving like a maniac, by his absence of driver’s licence, and by his black skin or banlieue youth looks. His relationship to his boss will make it possible for him to move faster (than the law authorizes him to go). One of the intersections that become visible when all the maps are superimposed is that both men like to misbehave, a kind of pleasure that the spectator may also be able to express from the safe place of the movie theatre seat. In that case too, the ability to share their joy enables us to rethink the place where we move and the means of mobility. Watching Driss and Philippe start a typical car chase scene in the middle of the global city centre both reinforces the interdiction and gives us vicarious pleasure. Just as we (serious people) do not make fun of vulnerable bodies, we know that we should not drive above the speed limit. Ultimately, it is the same logic: moving too fast is as dangerous as moving away from our zones. Our seriousness behind the wheel (the use of sensitive language to describe disenabled subjects, the control over the vehicle when we are physically travelling) is meant to guarantee public health and the common good. In Intouchables, Driss and Philippe are bad boys.9 They come up with pranks, whose victim is the archetypal figure of the cop, the representative of the Law, the State and the Norm. When Driss is behind the wheel of Philippe’s sports car, what is operative is not their physical or social difference, but their complicity. The goal is to go faster than the limit authorized by (social or biological) laws. At the very beginning of the film, before the two characters have exchanged one word, the camera is focusing on Driss’s fingers drumming impatiently on the steering wheel. And when he suddenly accelerates, overtaking the cars waiting in front of him because they are caught in the same traffic jam, the generic map is perfectly clear: this is a typical car chase scene. Or so we think, since it becomes clear after a few shots that Driss is trying to attract rather than avoid the municipal police’s attention. And when the police finally start chasing them, the two characters are instantly transformed into action film super heroes. The spectators are invited to side with them, yet what makes this scene unique is that it is not clear what sociological or political freedom we are supposed to identify with. When Driss and Philippe first start betting on whether the cops will catch with them or not, and then on whether or not Driss will convince them to escort them to the hospital, the spectator realizes that the car chase scene is scripted as an 190

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anti-authoritarian theatrical display that involves neither the bad banlieue youth nor the lawless rich aristocrat, but a complicated and unique intersectional drama which requires both men’s participation. Here, their intersectional complicity consists in reappropriating the police officers’ stereotypes: Philippe and Driss play with the fact that this car, like the bricolée wheelchair, can neither be assigned to the banlieue nor to the centre. Driss has not stolen the rich man’s vehicle. He is not on a joy ride. Nor is Philippe disregarding a law because he can afford to ignore it due to his class privileges. The identification markers that they perform have to be taken into account by the police, here pictured as an institutionally racist and ableist body politic. When both men act out their categorical scenario (Philipp exaggerating his lack of agency and Driss exaggerating his ‘banlieue kid’ attitude), the fast car becomes an intersectional vehicle. The only cars allowed to jump red lights and push others out of the way are ambulances, emergency vehicles whose drivers have priority over normal drivers. In this case, being ‘not normal’ is an advantage. And when Driss pretends that he must take his employer to the hospital, he reroutes the sports car and camouflages it as an illegal ambulance.10 The prosthetic vehicles used by the two characters create routes and detours (or reroutes) between the banlieue and the centre, redrawing what constitutes normal or even possible movements for those bodies socialized as privileged or handicapped by their social or physical abilities. And just as the film itself provides us with a dissident or at least different map of the city, it places the viewer in front of a space that has to be re-read, reinterpreted with tools that are not exactly the same as those we use to decode a traditional map. Another way of putting it is that new maps require new reading techniques and that we may need new theoretical prostheses to gain orientation and appreciate the story.

Metaphors or allegories as prostheses If the distinction between Cities of the North and the Cities of the South relies on a description of space and movements aligned according to historical and identification markers such as coloniality or ethnicity and class, what other type of theoretical discourse would enable us to account for stories that both invoke and repudiate the spatialization of such concepts? What are the equivalent of what I have called the prosthetic vehicles, and to what extent could we imagine the corresponding mapping of theoretical prostheses?11 Any attempt to study the representation of what facilitates movement will have to provide a carefully thought-through analysis of the kind of ‘disability’ that is likely to limit some subjects’ freedom of movement. 191

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Thoughts or mental processes are like bodies: they do not have to be left to their own so-called natural devices. Critics rely on what we could think of as ‘thinking prostheses’. We are after all, not all equal interpreters, and a number of parameters make it easier for some and more difficult for others to be heard when they comment, but also to comment at all. Depending on who we ‘are’, we may have a different perception of and reaction to a film that may touch us, teach us, but also infuriate or humiliate us.12 If I suggest that the professional critic or the academic analyst is a cartographer equipped with a toolbox full of interesting ways of observing the film, then I could also immediately point out that I had to create the metaphor of the toolbox even before reaching into the box and pulling out yet another metaphor (the metaphor of the critic as worker). I am therefore suggesting that knowing how to manipulate film discourse or literary theory is a specific type of cerebral or intellectual prosthesis. Not because we are all disabled critics, but precisely because some of us are super-abled by some kinds of technological prostheses. Transposed to the map of physical mobility, these tools are the equivalent of the types of prostheses that might allow certain bodies to exceed the performances of a naturally abled body. The use of unanthropomorphic running blades by amputee athletes have led researchers to ask once more what constitutes fair competition or unfair advantage.13 Here, an intersectional map involves taking into account what types of accessibility are generated by the collaboration between the two actors and their prostheses. The map of what they can do and where they can go is different when they combine their expertise and vulnerability. These machines both confirm and tweak the map generated by their respective physical and social embodiment: they record the possibility of various forms of travel across the city, and also map discrepant privileges. Engaging in intracategorical intersectionality is a form of conceptual running blade that helps me describe, imagine, provide routes that would otherwise remain untraceable. My choice of rhetorical tools falls under the category of prosthetic thinking. For example, in the case of Intouchables, I would argue that describing the film as an ‘allegory’ rather than as a ‘metaphor’ will be disabling rather than empowering because it involves focusing on the dimension of the map that is generated by the categories of ethnicity and health as equivalent destinies of disability. Thus, Jacques Mandelbaum, who published a (favourable) review of Intouchables in Le Monde (Mandelbaum 2011), reads the film as the representation of two disabled men who overcome their disability: ‘Les deux zozos trimballent en effet chacun un lourd handicap, que leur union retourne en avantage’ [The two guys cart around a severe handicap that their association transforms into an asset]. I have just suggested that it might be enabling to describe our activity as critics as ‘prosthetic’, and I do 192

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not wish to fault the critic for choosing to create a shortcut or a fast rerouting between what he sees as two forms of ‘handicap’. I am not objecting to the fact that he uses the same word for Philippe’s physical limitations and for Driss’s socio-economic disenfranchisement. I am however concerned about which theoretical prostheses one may use when drawing social and political conclusions that are then mapped with the help of the concept of disability. And my sense of unease is increased when I realize that Mandelbaum is also involved in a mapping of Global North and South. According to him, the film spins ‘une métaphore sociale généreuse, qui montre tout l’intérêt de l’association entre la Vieille France paralysée sur ses privilèges et la force vitale de la jeunesse issue de l’immigration’ [a generous social metaphor that demonstrates the interest of the association between Old paralyzed France stuck on her privileges and the vital force of the youth of immigrant origin] (Mandelbaum 2011). At the risk of critiquing this quotation from a counterintuitively formal perspective, I would suggest that Mandelbaum does not describe a metaphor but an allegory. The capitalized ‘Vieille France’ is now opposed to ‘the youth of immigrant origin’. And I fear that in terms of rhetorical tropes, an allegory does not provide much space for rerouting and détournement; it paralyzes or at least immobilizes the energies that it supposedly wishes to celebrate; it is ‘the trope of “authoritarian fictions” of all kinds’, as Ross Chambers puts it (Chambers 1991, 238). Mandelbaum, I would claim, traffics in images of disability in a way that risks returning to ‘the same’, like Deleuze’s tracing. He smuggles in a powerful and not so unrealistic analogy between social disability and physical handicap. But the trouble is that the parallel that he establishes is itself disenabling because it is colonial, ageist, ableist, racist and perhaps heterosexist. This is not just to produce a list of all the objectionable ‘isms’ I can think of. Consider the implications of his interpretation. The suggestion that ‘youth of immigrant origin’ enjoys some sort of ‘vital force’ is based on an implicit comparison between the colonized countries full of natural resources and the old Europe which is (only) capable of exploiting them. It is insulting for all the parties created by the image: ‘France’ is disabled and old and female (so much for young white French men who are now queered as privileged old female figures). The vision is also nefarious for the supposedly healthy young men ‘of immigrant origin’, even though it seems to move away from the archetype of the violent and antisocial ‘garçon arabe’, or Arab boy (Guénif-Souilamas and Macé 2006), the formulation also suggests that once the migrants become old, they will have nothing left to offer to Old France. And historically, it is indeed easy to find examples of such banishments: the ‘Chibani’ or old Maghrebi workers who had to take the French railway company SNCF to court to get their pensions or 193

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of the Indigènes portrayed by Rachid Bouchareb in his 2004 film who also had their pensions frozen for decades after fighting in the French military during World War II do not have any place in Mandelbaum’s binary map. The allegory also equates age with disability, and both old age and disability with unproductivity. In other words, this supposedly ‘generous’ metaphor is in fact a rather distressing staging of the types of mobility that Mandelbaum supposedly approves of. When he writes about the ‘interest’ [tout l’intérêt] of this association, I cannot but hear echoes of interest rates or even usury. Here, the superimposition of various forms of interest reveals the dangerous, correlative superimposition of intersectional maps where concern or care meet commercial profit. Such readings would ultimately confine people to the role of rich and poor, young and old, mobile or immobile, roles that the film invites us to rethink or reroute. The film as a whole never really opts from one map that would securely place the characters in a Southern or Northern urban configuration. Those spectators who may be tempted to follow Mandelbaum’s optimistic interpretation might also realize that if Intouchables constitutes indeed the kind of allegory that the critic approves of, then the ‘interest’ of this social representation is neither interesting nor generous. Paradoxically perhaps, it is only if we watch the film against that grain that the story may be, at least at times, partly generous: but only if we focus on those moments when the story manages to redefine exchange by reconceptualizing access to categories. When it does so, the film provides viewers with a very specific type of conceptual tool: a dissident cartographer’s map-making machine that transgresses standard dimensions. That (storytelling) machine is thus itself a sort of aesthetic and political prosthesis that enables the audience at once to use and critique the kind of orientational paradigm that perpetuates the domination of the Global North and subordination of the Global South.

Notes 1 The film is based on a true story, and the two protagonists became relatively famous in France when the well-known journalist Mireille Dumas invited them to participate in the TV show Vie privée, vie publique (Private life, Public Life) in 2001. Autobiographical accounts were also published by the carer Abdel Sellou (Tu as changé ma vie) and by the disabled hero Olivier Pozzo di Borgo (Le second Souffle). 2 The tracing of the banlieue as a sort of internal prison within the city of the North is reminiscent of the colonial urban patterns denounced by Frantz Fanon in The Wretched of the Earth (Fanon 1968). The internal divide that Fanon praises Gillo Pontecorvo for describing in The Battle of Algiers has not disappeared. Today, however, no unfinished process of decolonization, no revolution is expected to put an end to the split within the City of the North and its Southern manifestations.

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3 See Chauvin and Jaunait (2015) and Carastathis (2014). 4 For an example of a ‘protest map’, see the discussion of the 1971 ‘Citywide Pattern of Children’s Pedestrian Deaths and Injuries by Automobiles’, which shows that the majority of children killed in car accidents in Detroit live in a black neighbourhood through which commuters rush on their way to work and back (Woods 2010, 115–17). 5 For an example of the latter, I would refer to Rachid Boudjedra’s novel, Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée (Ideal Topography for a Characterized Aggression), a book that denounces the metro’s incomprehensible map and claims it constitutes one of the manifestations of the city of the North’s hostility, a violence that will ultimately kill the lost protagonist. For a story that focuses on another intersectional map that follows the itinerary of the less mobile migrant, see BBC’s series of documentaries about Noujain Mustaffa, a Syrian refugee who was pushed through the borders of Europe in a wheelchair (www.bbc.com/news/world-middleeast-35174418 (accessed 7 November 2016)). 6 For a critique of the objectifying violence of the concept of inspiration in the context of disability, see Stella Young, ‘I’m not your inspiration, thank you very much’ (TED Talk) (www.ted.com/talks/stella_young_i_m_ not_your_inspiration_thank_you_very_much?language=en (accessed 7 November 2017)). 7 The image of the ‘point de capiton’, quilting point or mattress button, has travelled from upholstery to psychoanalysis (Jacques Lacan uses the image to mark the space where the signified and the signifier meet in his discussion of psychosis (Lacan 1993, 260–8), and Slavoj Žižek, picks it up in his description of the master-signifier (Žižek 2006, 116)). I am now reappropriating it, rerouting it, so to speak, as a metaphor for the type of node produced as an intracategorical intersection. 8 See Simon Sadler’s Situationist City for an analysis of the (soon to be broken) connections between Guy Debord’s and Henri Lefebvre’s experiments in urban détournements (Sadler 1998, 44). 9 I do not want to suggest that women are excluded from such tactics, although it is true that the pleasure of fast objects is connected only to male characters in the film. At any rate, I mean boys as opposed to men, not opposed to women. The distinction avoids a masculinist critique of masculinity. 10 In their review on Intouchables, two medical doctors point out that the film dares us to call Driss ‘antisocial’ and then provides us with a narrative that, instead, enables us to enjoy what they call our own ‘dyssocial wish fulfillment’ (Gurmu and Weiss 2013). 11 I clearly owe this formulation to Mitchell’s and Snyder’s Narrative Prosthesis (2000). 12 The public’s massive approval of the film was nuanced by some unfavourable, or at least ambivalent, reviews. Interestingly, critics focus on one particular ‘problem’, such as race, economic privilege or disability, but it is difficult to find intersectional approaches. See Jay Weissberg’s virulent critique of the treatment of the black man in Variety (Intouchables, he says, is racist); Marcella Iacub’s clever reading of the way in which an expensive Fabergé egg travels back and forth between the two men’s worlds; and Hugues Derolez’s reading of the relationship between disability and

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the film industry (Weissberg 2011; Iacub 2011; Derolez 2011). See also Michael 2014 and Videau 2013. 13 See the articles inspired by amputee sprinter Oscar Pistorius’s request to enter able-bodied international competitions and his objections to the IAAF’s claim that his prosthetic blades give him an unfair advantage over other runners (Lippi 2008; Edwards 2008).

References Berger, Michele Tracy and Kathleen Guidroz (eds). 2009. The Intersectional Approach: Transforming the Academy Through Race, Class, and Gender. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press. Boudjedra, Rachid. 1975. Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée. Paris: Gallimard. Carastathis, Anna. 2014. ‘The Concept of Intersectionality in Feminist Theory’. Philosophy Compass 9.5: 304–14. Chambers, Ross. 1991. Room for Maneuver: Reading (the) Oppositional (in) Narrative. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Chauvin, Sébastien and Alexandre Jaunait. 2015. ‘L’Intersectionnalité contre l’intersection’. Raisons politiques 2.58: 55–74 (www.cairn.info/load_pdf. php?ID_ARTICLE=RAI_058_0055 (accessed 2 January 2017)). Crenshaw, Kimberlé. 1989. ‘Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics’. University of Chicago Legal Forum 1: 139–67. ———. 1991. ‘Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color’. Stanford Law Review 43.6: 1241–99. Deleuze, Gilles and Félix Guattari. 1987. A Thousand Plateaus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Translated by Brian Massumi. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Derolez, Hugues. 2011. ‘Intouchables: Le handicap est-il un plus au boxoffice?’ (www.vodkaster.com/actu-cine/intouchables-le-handicap-est-il-unplus-au-box-office/737550 (accessed 26 July 2016)). Edward, Brent Hayes and Ashley Dawson (eds). 2004. ‘Introduction’. Global Cities of the South; special issue of Social Text 81 (Winter 2004). Edwards, S. D. 2008. ‘Should Oscar Pistorius be Excluded From the 2008 Olympic Games?’ Ethics, Dis/ability and Sport, Special Issue of Ethics and Philosophy 2.2 (doi:10.1080/17511320802221802). Fanon, Frantz. 1968. The Wretched of the Earth. Translated by Richard Philcox. New York: Grove Press. Gladwell, Malcolm. 2013. ‘The Sports Taboo: Why Blacks Are Like Boys and Whites Are Like Girls’. In Sociological Perspectives on Sport: The Games Outside the Games, 63–9, edited by David Karen and Robert Washington. New York, London: Routledge. Guénif-Souilamas, Nacira and Eric Macé. 2006. Les Féministes et le garçon arabe. Paris: Editions de l’aube.

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Gurmu, Samson and Kennet Weiss. 2013. ‘The Intouchables: Who Defines Antisocial?’ MD Journal of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law 41.1 (March 2013): 148–52 (www.jaapl.org/content/41/1/148.full (accessed 2 January 2017)). Iacub, Marcella. 2011. ‘Intouchables: La Preuve par l’œuf’. Libération 3 December 2011 (http://next.liberation.fr/cinema/2011/12/03/la-preuve-par-loeuf_779140 (accessed 3 January 2017)). Lacan, Jacques. 1993. The Seminar. Book III. The Psychoses, 1955–56. Translated by Russell Grigg. London: Routledge. Lippi, Giuseppe. 2008. ‘Pistorius Ineligible for the Olympic Games: The Right Decision’. Sports Medicine 42: 160–1 (doi:10.1136/bjsm.2008.046730). Mandelbaum, Jacques. 2011. ‘ “Intouchables”: derrière la comédie populaire, une métaphore sociale généreuse’. Le Monde 1 November 2011 (www.lemonde.fr/cinema/article/2011/11/01/intouchables (accessed 4 January 2017)). McCall, Leslie. 2005. ‘The Complexity of Intersectionality’. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 30.3: 1771–800. Michael, Charlie. 2014. ‘Interpreting Intouchables: Competing Transnationalisms in Contemporary French Cinema.’ SubStance 43.1: 123–37 (doi:10.1353/sub.2014.0000). Mitchell, David and Sharon Snyder. 2000. Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Sadler, Simon. 1998. The Situationist City. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Sassen, Saskia. 1992. The Global City: New York, London, Tokyo. Princeton: Princeton University Press. Videau, André. 2013. ‘Intouchables’. Hommes et migrations (http:// hommesmigrations.revues.org/542 (accessed 4 January 2017)). Weissberg, Jay. 2011. ‘Film Review: Untouchable’. Variety (29 September 2011). Woods, Denis, with John Fels and John Krygier. 2010. Rethinking the Power of Maps. New York and London: The Guildford Press. Žižek, Slavoj. 2006. Interrogating the Real. Edited by Rex Butler and Scott Stephens. London: Continuum.

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11 A SENSE OF DISORDER Orientation and migration in the ‘new’ West Agata Lisiak

Setting the scene After the neat Cold War division of the globe into First, Second, and Third Worlds fell apart towards the end of the twentieth century, the region formerly known as the Soviet Bloc became increasingly difficult to conceive of, define and theorize. The ternary division has been replaced by a binary one: the Global North and the Global South. Poland, along with other post-socialist countries, seems to fall through the many gaps in this largely arbitrary split. Whereas the Global North comprises the former West and parts of the former East (also known the Second World), the Global South is thought to be everywhere else. This division – like most things binary – has been duly criticized as lacking in both analytical and descriptive qualities,1 and it did not – could not – entirely replace the East–West dichotomy that defined the Cold War era. Imaginaries of the West continue to shape people’s understanding of their everyday existence within the spaces now commonly referred to as the Global North. The recent mass migrations from Europe’s East to its West, which followed the 2004, 2007 and 2013 enlargements of the European Union, are not only about movements of people to different geographic locations, but also about the promises and expectations these locations hold. The imaginaries of migrants’ destinations are composed from multiple sources, including popular culture, direct accounts of people who live or have lived there, news coverage and propaganda. Yet these expectations also necessarily lead to migrants’ disorientation. Migrants’ sense of direction is mirrored by its dialectical other: a sense of being lost (and of loss). The place they thought they knew, the place of their departure, seems less familiar when seen from

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afar. Distance renders it strange, foreign. And the place they imagined they would find in their destination also turns out to be different than they expected. Although intra-EU migration is a process that occurs within what has arguably become the ‘new’ West, the East–West divide is still very much alive in public discourses across Europe, as recent debates on migration and EU’s foreign policy demonstrate. This chapter critically revisits the concept of the West and how it continues to be imagined, perceived, questioned, rejected and revised by those who move from its periphery to its core by looking into mundane understandings and workings of disorder – a culturally constructed phenomenon tightly linked to post-socialism. Migrants’ voices offer a unique perspective that does not just complicate and problematize the East/West distinction, but truly reveals the emergence and development of multiple Wests (Hlajova and Sheikh 2017). My exploration of disorder in post-socialist and migration contexts builds on readings of selected texts from Polish popular culture and literature, as well as on interviews conducted with recent Polish migrants living in British and German cities. The unsettling of the notion of urban disorder through engagement with theories of dirt, abjection and disgust will allow us to further problematize contemporary understandings of the West from various positions within it. As Poland’s position within the new European West is hardly straightforward, I will start my exploration by inquiring into the different ways in which Poland is currently being located.

Where is Poland? The economic and social transformations that followed the demise of state socialism in Poland in 1989 were discursively framed as a ‘return to Europe’ (Dunn 2004; Buden 2009) and, by implication, a return to what is normal (Outhwaite and Ray 2005; Charkiewicz 2007) and natural (Majewska and Sowa 2007). The shock and awe accompanying the transformation of the country’s economy (Klein 2007) were to be endured as necessary steps on the road to becoming not only more European, but also more normal. The entire discourse of transition was ‘transfixed on the end of difference’ between the East and the West (Stenning and Hörschelmann 2008, 320), whereby the West Poland was now destined for was constructed as a bundle of normative political ideals (Charkiewicz 2007). The version of capitalism adopted in Poland proved to be ‘more capitalist than its western original’ (Buden 2009, 71): a capitalism that was (and remains) uninhibited and largely unregulated (Bohle 2006). The long and arduous process of ‘returning to Europe’ ended symbolically when Poland, together with several other post-socialist countries, joined the European Union on 200

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1 May 2004. Taking advantage of the EU’s principle of free movement for workers, more than two million people soon left Poland (Nowicka and Krzyżowski 2016), many of them in search of a ‘real’, Western normalcy,2 hoping it would turn out to be gentler than the Polish one. When, a decade ago, Alison Stenning and Kathrin Hörschelmann (2008) asked whether it still made sense to talk about post-socialism, their carefully argued response was affirmative. They insisted that post-socialism was not merely a historical category describing a particular period, but could also function as an analytical tool (Stenning and Hörschelmann 2008, 317). Building on Stenning and Hörschelmann’s work, I propose that ‘disorder’, a condition evoked repeatedly in studies on post-socialism,3 can also be applied as an analytical device. The notion of disorder provides a lens to look at power relations within and between European societies, helping us address questions regarding current social phenomena such as mass migration, social polarization, xenophobia and racism. As the legacies of state socialism and what could be called ‘actually-existing post-socialism’ (Stenning and Hörschelmann 2008, 314) unrelentingly continue to shape contemporary imaginaries of the West, and of Poland, a post-socialist perspective paired with a theoretical consideration of the notion of disorder encourages us to interrogate the historicities of these imaginaries, providing significant insights into their workings.

The Polish mess, or, ‘there are no pretty things for them’ In a popular 1991 song, the singer-songwriter and rapper Kazik rhymes over a cheerful reggae beat: Look around you, how much dirt on the street How worn out people are, how exhausted And at night dirty prostitutes stand on the block I’m scared to walk at night, there’s so much violence now These women who work in factories day and night These men who drown their sorrows in cheap wine They don’t see the pretty things, there are no pretty things for them Look, look around you and don’t even try to deny it. . . . What we see is abnormal, but it seems normal to us We’re already abnormal, heheheheheh4 In this socially conscious hip-hop track (and the accompanying video),5 Kazik delivers a critique of post-1989 Polish society as marked by poverty, 201

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gender and class inequalities, economic exploitation, and, above all, dirt. Dirt returns throughout the song in its many guises – as filth, mess, overwhelming greyness and moral judgement – and it sticks to people, the buildings they inhabit, the things they buy, the buses they take and the streets they walk. As the song’s title, ‘Jeszcze Polska’ (Poland Is Yet), is an obvious reference to the Polish national anthem, ‘Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła’ (Poland Is Not Lost Yet), Kazik suggests that this dirty mess is exactly what defines Poland, all the while implying that Poland is, in fact, lost. Kazik’s song provides an excellent illustration of the disastrous workings of neoliberalism and, as such, chimes with much research on social inequalities. Kazik’s protagonists can be seen as casualties of the neoliberal state (Tyler 2013), ‘losers’ of the post-1989 transformation (Lisiak 2010), they are ‘wasted humans’ (Bauman 2004). Not only does dirt stick to them – they are indistinguishable from it (Tyler 2013). As we learn from socio-cultural theories of dirt and disgust, filth establishes distinctions (Cohen 2005), and disgust works in the service of class system and sustains low rankings of people and things (Miller 1997). The person deeming another person, place or behaviour dirty seems to be saying: ‘That is not me’ (Cohen 2005, x). Yet, in Kazik’s song, dirt is not exactly ‘a matter out of place’, as Mary Douglas famously claimed (Douglas 2002);6 it belongs to the place, permeating it and rendering it unbearable. Dirty mess is a recurring trope in contemporary Polish popular culture and literature. In fact, several writers have built entire careers on dissecting it. In a chapter evocatively titled ‘The east, or Europe’s dirt’, the literary scholar Przemysław Czapliński (2016) analyses recent Polish literature’s fascination with the ‘dirty east’, tracing it not only to Poland’s other (meaning Russia), but also to its own ‘true’ self. None of the authors whose work Czapliński analyses turn their faces away in disgust at what they see. Instead, they stare closely at the mess they observe, they depict it in detail, and then force the reader to confront it. This, too, is Poland, they seem to be saying; do not deny it. Andrzej Stasiuk, one of Poland’s most acclaimed contemporary writers, explores the many manifestations of disorder, decomposition and provinciality he encounters on his travels, first through Poland and then, as much of the country has become too Westernized for his taste, through Eastern and South Eastern Europe.7 Stasiuk frowns at the apparent efforts to render Poland more Western, claiming they merely ‘obliterate the landscape’ (2014, 59). Instead, he fetishizes the disorder, encouraging his readers to embrace the dirt, to embrace the ‘eastern-ness’, as an integral part of what Poland is about. The nostalgic tone Stasiuk takes in describing places and situations rejected by others as mediocre, messy or simply embarrassing – a flashy window display of a dusty second-hand store, a makeshift 202

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supermarket parking lot covered with smashed glass and cigarette butts, a wasteland located near a prefabricated housing estate – adds a touch of the sublime to these otherwise unexciting scenes, even to the point of rendering them magical. The Polish disorder depicted in Stasiuk’s prose not only encompasses the country’s dirt, neglect and dilapidation, but also its scattered and inevitably unsuccessful attempts at the beautification of both its landscapes and its people. Disorder, dirt and mediocrity, especially as found in the backyards of flagship urban projects, are also central to Ziemowit Szczerek’s prose and reportage about Poland.8 Reminiscent of Hunter S. Thompson’s gonzo journalism, Szczerek’s writing shines an intensely bright, irregularly flickering light into the obscure corners of seemingly mundane places and situations, exposing their constituent elements. In Szczerek’s texts, Polish cities, as well as its country counterparts, appear unfinished, randomly put together or scattered, over- or under-sized, and pretending to be something they are not. As one of Szczerek’s protagonists proclaims, the prevalent disorder that lends Poland this non-shape proves that Poland is ‘pure east’. The Poland that emerges from Dorota Masłowska’s novels and plays similarly calls to mind a formless clump of Play-Doh that has fallen into the dirt too many times to be moulded into any proper shape.9 Aside from disclosing the mess hiding under Poland’s thin layers of plaster, hairspray, tanning cream and flashy billboard ads, Masłowska points out the inherently exclusionary nature of Polish disorder. There may be ‘no pretty things’ for Poland’s poor, as Kazik sang, but Masłowska forces us to question whether there are any pretty things at all, or whether these pretty things are just dirt caked with glitter. This unmasking of the seemingly fancy objects, places and situations accumulated and consumed by the upper and middle classes as superficial and counterfeit occurs with full force in her rap-infused novel Paw królowej [The Queen’s Peacock]. Masłowska juxtaposes Warsaw’s admittedly shaky urban wealth with the daily lives of the working and unemployed poor inhabiting the dilapidated tenement houses of the city’s Praga district. The narrator’s neighbours ‘rake through a strange avalanche of garbage’ (2005, 12) in the backyard, loud screams echo in gateways, and the whole micro-world of Praga is presented as apocalyptic and dystopian. This image of continuous and ubiquitous disorder was successfully picked up by the right-wing populist party, Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość, or PiS), that won Poland’s parliamentary and presidential elections in 2015. PiS accused the centrist neoliberal party Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska, or PO), in power between 2007 and 2015, of ruining the country and promised to rebuild it for those who had not been able to reap the benefits of the EU transformation. Their literal claim of this ‘ruined Poland’ (Polska w ruinie) sent the Polish internet into a frenzy, 203

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inspiring countless memes. Images of flagship urban projects sarcastically called ‘ruins’ were widely distributed through social media – especially Facebook – and later picked up by the oppositional media. The images featured brand-new museums, malls and renovated market squares, that is, costly projects aimed at asserting Polish cities’ arrival in the clean, orderly and prosperous West. The memes bluntly disregarded the exorbitant funds used for the construction of these flagship projects. The alarmist and manipulative nature of PiS’s propaganda notwithstanding, the prompt social media backlash demonstrated the Polish middle class’s preference for urban boosterism, claiming the country’s ‘Western-ness’ rather than arguably less spectacular though nonetheless much-needed investments in social housing, public transport and other provisions aimed at decreasing social inequalities. The ‘ruined Poland’ controversy thus revealed not only Poland’s peripheral position within the West, but also Polish society’s own fragmentary and unequal sense of belonging to that West.10

The imagined Western order The idea of the West is replete with myth and fantasy (Hall 1992), and so are the images that represent it. Widely imitated in the first decade of socio-economic transformation, popular portrayals of the West continue to impact visual cultures in Poland and, thus, the imaginaries of Poland and/in the West. For example, the prevalence of Western stock photography in Polish cultural and political contexts, first in lifestyle magazines, then in political campaigns, creates not only ‘a timeless norm’, but also, as Magda Szcześniak and Mateusz Halawa observe, the impression that ‘the mimetic process towards the west is already complete or that reality may soon perfectly match the mass-produced visualizations’ (2016, n.p.). The stock photography widespread in the Polish media thus de-territorializes representations of everyday urban life in Poland, rendering them visually ‘Western’. The transformation Polish cities actually experienced after 1989 was as severe and messy as it was colourful. Whereas the previous decades of real socialism were widely considered grey (regardless of whether this was actually the case (Drenda 2016)), the subsequent era was marked by explosions of colour: from ubiquitous billboards and massive advertising banners, to fresh plaster on the old prefabricated apartment buildings. As the postsocialist transformation progressed, however, and as social classes distinguished themselves in the process, bright colours came to be criticized, even ridiculed by the urban upper and middle classes, as a garish lower-class aesthetic (Szcześniak and Halawa 2016). Now Polish cities are characterized by low-income sections of colourful prefabricated blocks and more 204

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affluent gated communities and condos dominated by more discreet whites and beiges. These colour-coded class distinctions visible in urban space are related to class-dependent notions of what constitutes the West. The generic ‘neutral’ whites and beiges of the middle classes pledge allegiance to the generic ‘Western-ness’ of urban middle-classes worldwide. The vivid colours preferred by lower and working classes, although hardly characteristic of Poland alone, appear to retain more specifically local features. Catching up with the West also means aspiring to a certain ‘level’ of quality identified as Western: the quality of life, the quality of products, and the quality of services. Szcześniak proposes we interpret the post-socialist transformation as a period of struggle between counterfeit and original – a struggle eventually won by the latter to the benefit of the social classes who can afford it. Those for whom the Western qualities (the original) seem unattainable in Poland leave for the ‘real West’ and seek this so-called ‘normalcy’ there. As we will see in the next section, popular imaginaries of the West are questioned through the everyday experiences of people who live within its assumed cultural realm.

Making sense of disorder in a Western city If orienting ourselves is a ‘skill . . . that opens up access to new areas of the globe’ (Introduction to this volume, 10], re-orienting ourselves may be the necessary skill to maintain that access. When or where, though, does orientation become disorientation? How do we get disoriented? To orient themselves in their new places of residence, migrants need to figure out how things work. Understanding this order of things and learning (though not necessarily following) the rules and norms of their new societies helps migrants feel at home. It is not uncommon for migrants to be surprised at the state of things in their place of arrival; their dreams and expectations rarely match their lived reality. Migrants try to orient themselves in their new places of residence by juxtaposing them – favourably or unfavourably – with what they know from back home. If they are shocked, surprised or amazed by what they see, however, this is not only because things are different than in their hometowns (which they usually are, to varying degrees), but also because they are different from what they had imagined a Western city to be. This reorientation also allows migrants to revisit their understandings of the conditions in their hometowns and reposition themselves towards them. Drawing from 120 semi-structured interviews conducted in Berlin, Munich, London and Birmingham in 2014–2017, as well as narrations elicited through the sentence completion method,11 I hope to illuminate the specific distress emerging from these migrants’ perceptions and experiences 205

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of dis/order in their new place of residence, the surprise migrants from Europe’s geographic East voice at finding their new cities disorderly, messy or dirty, despite them being in the West. My research reveals that, in an attempt to make sense of their disorientation and to re-orient themselves in their new location, migrants tend to explain the disorder they encounter by ethnicizing it. In doing so, they re-orient themselves towards the West and claim a position within it.

Order above all Upon arrival in Munich, Polish migrants are struck by what they describe as the city’s ‘ubiquitous cleanliness’ and ‘order’. Many feel compelled to mimic the orderliness they observe as it corresponds to their own values. Wiktoria, for instance, recalls that when she came to Munich two years ago and ‘saw this beautiful, extremely clean city, because, really, everyone takes care [of the city] here’, she started to recycle and ‘realized that this is something entirely different than in Poland’. Wiktoria feels inspired to take care of the city she now lives in because she perceives this care as a sign of the Western way of thinking and living to which she aspires. Poland, in her view, is ‘behind’, and ‘people still need to learn a lot.’ She applies the narrative of catching up with the West, so dominant in post-socialist contexts, which assumes a linear trajectory of progress.12 Wiktoria readily adapts to what she perceives to be the norm in Munich and, in doing so, proves to herself and others that she is already – and finally – Western. She now lives the urban life she so desired; she has come home. Both urban infrastructures and everyday life in Munich seem ‘very regulated’ to Polish migrants: the working hours, shopping times, and Saturdays and Sundays reserved entirely for leisure. Many of the migrants I spoke with admitted to finding comfort in this order as it offered a longawaited respite from what they perceive as ‘Polish chaos’. They feel they have finally made it to a ‘normal place’ where things are ‘structured and organized’. Although most migrants I spoke to believe it admirable that residents discipline themselves and keep the city clean, they strongly disapprove of the mechanisms of policing each other. The idea that one person tells on another, or feels entitled to tell them what (not) to do, rankles with Polish migrants, who often interpret such behaviour as ‘snitching’. It is in such moments that stereotypes about Germans surface with full force: Ordnung muss sein. The ‘many rules’ Małgorzata encounters in her Munich neighbourhood are ‘making [her] life difficult’, and she is ‘sure that every Pole must find [them] striking’. Although she initially thought the rules were ‘great’, once

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settled in the city she has come to find them ‘bothersome’. It frustrates her, for example, that she is not supposed to dry her laundry on the balcony, as there is a rule against it. Although she agrees that hanging laundry does not look particularly pretty, she also insists on the practicality of this behaviour, as her apartment is rather small, and there is no laundry room in her building. She tries to cover the open side of the balcony visible from the street so that the sight of the laundry does not bother anyone looking up, but worries her next-door neighbours may report her to the landlord. ‘Everything is so determined here,’ she complains, adding that she feels limited by so little room for manoeuvre. Małgorzata observes that ‘German balconies’ are well kept and regulated: ‘crocuses and tulips in the spring, other flowers in the summer, heathers in the fall, there’s an order to everything’, unlike the balconies of ‘the other immigrants – that’s a complete hotchpotch’. Munich’s cleanliness and order stand for a Western – and thus high – quality of life and are often understood in national, highly ethnicized categories. When Katarzyna arrived in Munich in the early 2000s, she saw ‘order, order above all’, but she no longer notices it much and considers the city ‘messier’ than it used to be: Now it’s clean too, but back then it was more visible. I don’t know, maybe it’s because more foreigners have arrived, we are making a bit of chaos in this country of theirs, although they have many ‘social’ people themselves, people who don’t work, only drink, sit around on benches, and so on. It must be ‘foreigners’, Katarzyna speculates, who render parts of Munich disorderly. ‘Germans’ would not do it, unless, that is, they live off benefits. Even if she does not specify the alleged welfare recipients’ ethnicity, it is safe to assume Katarzyna means white Germans. As emerges from research on Polish migration, when Poles speak of non-white Germans, they irrevocably refer to their (assumed) ethnicity, race or religion.13 The conviction that orderliness runs in (white) German blood and that ‘foreign’ or ‘flawed’ elements contaminate it is not uncommon among the migrants I have interviewed and prevalent in discourses on migration that juxtapose natives with newcomers in Europe and beyond (Tyler 2013). Katarzyna considers herself lucky to be living among many ‘Germans’ and complains about the ‘foreign families’ in her neighbourhood who ‘don’t care about order’. Despite recognizing herself as a foreigner – even after fourteen years of living in Munich – Katarzyna distances herself from other ‘foreigners’ to maintain a sense of superiority. She may be a foreigner, but she is the right kind of foreigner.

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Even messier than Poland Whereas Polish migrants’ perceptions of infrastructures in Munich are that they function seamlessly, in Berlin this is not the case. Migrants report being shocked, for example, that in winter Berlin sidewalks are covered with ice for weeks on end, for ‘even in Warsaw’ the ice would have been cleaned up. The mess encountered in Berlin seems surprising, even shocking, but also, to some, rather endearing, whereby individual attitudes to what is considered mess or dirt remain strongly classed. Poles working in creative professions describe Berlin’s dirt in ideological terms, extending beyond urban aesthetics to matters such as how children are dressed and cared for. Berlin’s messiness is connected with a more relaxed attitude missing in Polish cities, where everyone rushes from job to job, from chore to chore. The messes encountered in Berlin, perhaps paradoxically, become a symbol of a more comfortable urban life in which people do not excessively stress over what is ultimately unimportant. A new appreciation of time for oneself, for friends, for family, is in fact prevalent in the interviews conducted in Berlin among middle-class creatives. These Polish migrants feel compelled to adjust their pace of life, their expectations, and their consumption preferences to those that seem dominant among their Berlin counterparts. Few change their practices entirely; what happens, rather, is that people negotiate between their old ways and the ways of doing things they recognize as typically local. More than any other group in any other city I studied, middle-class Polish migrants in Berlin take a great deal of pride in living there – being in the centre of things, as they describe it. They are familiar with Berlin’s international reputation as a capital of culture and literally repeat the city’s marketing slogan: Berlin – the place to be. Disorder is understood as part of Berlin’s flair; it renders Berlin special – different from other Western cities, different from Polish cities – and thus adds to the extraordinariness of the people who choose to live there. Here, disorder means freedom. Whereas what passes for mess in Poland presents little value to them, Berlin disorder is ‘cool’. Echoing the former mayor of Berlin’s slogan ‘poor but sexy’, the city is ‘messy but cool’. It is a certain kind of controlled messiness, however, picked carefully by its consumers; it is a curated disorder of, and for, the cultural and creative classes. Poles who came to Berlin out of economic necessity, seeking better jobs or academic development rather than a particular lifestyle (though, of course, one does not exclude the other), do not seem to feel as entirely comfortable with Berlin’s messiness as the middle-class creatives described above. Urszula, who claims, ‘the world [in Berlin] is more organized’ than in the Polish city she comes from, tries to avoid certain neighbourhoods 208

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because they are ‘simply filthy, they’re simply dirty. I don’t enjoy walking . . . between scattered bottles, for example.’ As in Munich, it is particularly those Berlin neighbourhoods identified by Poles as those of ‘immigrants’ that are associated with dirt and disorder. Berlin’s ‘multicultural mix’ is often pointed to as the source of this messiness, wherein ‘multicultural’ more often than not refers to the presence of people identified as Turks or Arabs because of their skin colour, the clothes they wear or the language they speak. In these ‘multicultural’ neighbourhoods ‘no one cares about the rules, the order’, or at least not to the extent that people seem to do in ‘German’ neighbourhoods. Yet, a certain order emerges from this perceived disorder. In ‘multicultural’ neighbourhoods, the rules of the game seem more direct: if there is a conflict, ‘it is more probable you’ll get beaten up by your next-door Turk than him suing you because you make his life in the apartment building more difficult,’ as one of my interview partners jokingly remarked. Dirt, filth, mess, and disorder also permeate Polish migrants’ descriptions of British cities. London is often described as messy and surprisingly un-metropolitan. Judyta finds Britain’s capital ‘a generally dirty city’, juxtaposing it unfavourably with Polish cities where her friends live. On her occasional trips to Poland, Judyta observes that cities ‘have developed, so to speak, after the fall of communism. Suddenly big estates were erected, houses, high rises, and condos. The entire infrastructure is new, and here everything is so old, pre-war, dirty, shabby – that’s striking.’ Judyta reverses the vector on the axis of modernization, which customarily points West, and brings attention to what she describes as Poland’s urban progress. Compared to London, Polish cities seem clean and modern to Judyta, a far cry from the nearly dystopian portrayals in popular culture and politics discussed above. A reluctant recognition of Poland’s Western-ness and its uncertain meanings comes through in many interviews. Like all of our research participants living in Birmingham, Artur complains about ‘lots of garbage in the streets’, adding with unconcealed amazement that ‘even back in Poland, in my hometown, it wasn’t this bad.’ A freshly renovated shopping street in Katowice, filled with international chain stores and cafés, seems more orderly, more ‘Western’, than a high street with family-run Pakistani businesses in a Birmingham neighbourhood. That a Polish city could appear cleaner and more orderly than a Western one is still unfathomable. Dirt and messiness are strongly ethnicized in migrants’ accounts of their daily lives in Western cities. The neighbourhoods where ‘there is lots of garbage in the streets and . . . everything looks dirty and neglected, including the people who live there’ are often dismissively labelled as ciapatowo (from ciapak or ciapaty – a derogatory term referring to South Asians and 209

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people perceived to be from the Middle East; often used interchangeably with the word Muslim). Mess and dirt seem to ‘accumulate’ where the racialized others live: ‘only ciapaki and mess, you see it right away, you can normally see it.’ These others are seen as contaminating the otherwise (or formerly) orderly West: ‘they bring the mess with them from their home countries,’ claims Aga from Birmingham, who tries to avoid ‘their neighbourhoods’ (emphasis mine). Yet Aga’s revulsion against these others is not simply caused by their alleged messiness. As Julia Kristeva argues in her psychoanalytical study of abjection, it is ‘not lack of cleanliness or health that causes abjection but what disturbs identity, system, order. What does not respect borders, positions, rules’ (Kristeva 1982, 4; emphasis mine). If we follow Kristeva closely, word for word, it is precisely this disruption of an imagined Western order which revolts Aga. As the racialized others she encounters disrespect borders by the sheer act of coming ‘over here’ (to the West), Aga attempts to symbolically reinstate these borders by avoiding the parts of the city she regards as contaminated. The perceived disorder can be experienced as visceral and agonizing: to Mirek, ‘Birmingham is a terribly dirty city, lots of Asians live here and they litter everywhere, that’s something that hurts me.’ Błażej finds it difficult to get used to Birmingham being all ‘dirty and colourful everywhere. I mean the people. Strange, strange.’ What he identifies as dirt seems to stick to ‘colourful’ people, producing a ‘strange’ sensation – one that Kristeva refers to as ‘a composite of judgment and affect’ (Kristeva 1982, 10). Błażej is not sure what to make of what he sees, because ‘you don’t have that in Poland everyday.’ The ‘colourfulness’ he encounters in Birmingham seems unfamiliar to him, different from the colourfulness of Polish cities described earlier in this chapter. Though some Polish migrants observe that the cities where they lived in Poland were just as dirty, they are quick to add that people seemed to care more there. White Brits – or Angole – who appear to behave in a disorderly manner, who litter and ‘look’ dishevelled, are readily labelled as beneficiarze, benefit scroungers. Poles in the United Kingdom complain about dirty ciapaki and dirty Angole, but emphasize that the latter are at least ‘on their own turf’ and thus more deserving than ethnic minorities, who, it is assumed, do not fully belong there. Judging a person, a community or a place as filthy serves to establish distinctions (Bourdieu 1984; Cohen 2005). Dirt is ‘the by-product of a systematic ordering and classification of matter’ (Douglas 2002, 36). Ordering involves rejecting what is considered inappropriate und undeserving. As migrants often experience downward mobility (Nowicka 2014) and report being discriminated against on the labour and housing markets, as well as in public space (post-Brexit cases of violent xenophobia being a case in point),14 they seek to demonstrate that they indeed fit into their host 210

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society by distinguishing themselves from other minority groups. They associate dirt with other others and, in doing so, position themselves as more deserving. As Imogen Tyler argues, being revolted by what we identify as dirt or filth is ‘a reaction to the imagined over-proximity or intrusiveness of the disgusting thing’ (2013, 22). Deeming a person or a place dirty exposes the norms functioning in that specific socio-cultural context (Tyler 2013), which, in the case of recent migrants, may mean the norms and rules that were in operation ‘back home’, the imagined norms underlying their expectations of the place to which they migrated, as well as the actual norms they encounter in their new places of residence. It is the interplay of these norms and rules, as well as their historicities that we should look to for explanations of prevalent racism and xenophobia, not only among host societies, but also among the newcomers themselves.

Where is the West, and why should we care? The sense of disorder prevalent in contemporary Polish popular culture is an inescapable force. Not even the ‘winners’ of transformation whose daily lives resemble those from Western stock photos can get away from it. They too witness the ‘visual violence’ of outdoor advertising done to public space (Zaremba 2015) right outside their windows; they too need to deal with the impermanence, stochasticity and unreliability of urban infrastructures; they too breathe in the polluted air. In her reading of Aurel Kolnai’s study ‘On Disgust’ (1929), Tyler draws attention to disgust as a ‘ “spatially” aversive emotion’ (2013, 22) that attempts to create distance from the object of disgust, to flee the revolting person, place or thing. Migration may be seen as a radical form of such a flight. Obviously, I do not mean to suggest here that disgust with the ‘Polish mess’ is the main reason why over two million people have left the country; individual and collective reasons for migration are complex, manifold and often tragic. However, the dirt and disorder experienced both ‘back home’ and in their new places of residence is a prominent, recurring trope in migrants’ stories. It is a tool they use to orient and re-orient themselves in the world and, as such, demands a close comparative exploration, which, I hope, this chapter has offered. A close reading of migrants’ everyday experiences confirms what has long been known: the West is a construct constantly redefined by geopolitical developments and movements of people. This contribution focused on how the latter occurs: how people orient themselves to the West and then find the need to re-orient themselves once they reach it. As migrants learn to orient themselves within symbolic and social hierarchies that are new to them, some do so by dismissing those whose position they regard (even) lower than their own. In the process, they also re-orient themselves towards the 211

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places from which they come and which may also be Western after all. As the EU is part of the Global North, a distinctly Western sphere, one could argue that its states are too, including new members like Poland. Intra-EU migration from the East to the West is thus a process that occurs within a ‘new’ West, even if not all its parts are imagined as (equally) Western. As individual European states keep defining themselves through racial, ethnic, and national lenses, it is more important than ever to shake the notion of the West, both within this new West and within the individual states of which it is composed. When some residents are deemed more deserving than others, exclusionary sentiments lead to exclusionary politics, as the recent rise in the popularity of right-wing parties across the continent demonstrates. Racialized and ethnicized others are seen as foreign to the place in which they live – or ‘out of place’, as Douglas put it – not only by scores of ‘born and bred’ locals, but also by those new arrivals who consider themselves more deserving, based on their race, ethnicity, religion, Europeanness, or, indeed, their newfound Western-ness.

Notes 1 See, e.g., Robinson 2006; Roy and Ong 2011; Hentschel 2015; Grubbauer and Kusiak 2012. 2 For Polish migrants’ negotiations of normality, see, e.g., Rabikowska 2010. 3 Although the 1990s are often described as chaos by those who lived through them in Poland or happened to visit during this arguably most intense period of socio-economic transformation, this impression turns out to be misleading upon closer analysis. For more on the workings and meanings of post-socialist ‘chaos’, see Kusiak 2012. 4 Kazik, ‘Jeszcze Polska’ in Spalam się (1991). The original lyrics quoted here go like this: Popatrz dookoła, ile brudu na ulicy / Jacy ludzie są zniszczeni, jacy oni umęczeni / A nocami pod domami stoją brudne prostytutki / Boję chodzić się po nocy, tyle teraz jest przemocy / Te kobiety, co pracują dni i noce po fabrykach / Ci mężczyźni, którzy topią swoją rozpacz w tanich winach / Nie widzący ładnych rzeczy, dla nich nie ma ładnych rzeczy / Popatrz, popatrz dookoła i nie staraj się zaprzeczyć / . . . / Te widoki nienormalne dla nas przecież są normalne / Już jesteśmy nienormalni, heheheheheh. 5 For more on socially conscious hip-hop in Poland, see Lisiak 2010. 6 For more details regarding the exact attribution of this quote, see Campkin 2013. 7 For the purpose of this chapter, I read the following works of Andrzej Stasiuk: Przez rzekę [Through the River] (2001), Dukla (1997), Nine (2008), On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe (2011) and Dojczland (2007) – all originally published in Polish by Czarne (Wołowiec). For more on Poland and Central Europe in Stasiuk’s prose, see also Lisiak 2007. 8 The novel Siódemka [Route S7] (Kraków: ha-art, 2014) and Szczerek’s writing published regularly in the opinion weekly Polityka.

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9 For the purpose of this chapter I read Snow White and Russian Red (2005), Paw królowej [The Queen’s Peacock] (2005) and Mię dzy nami dobrze jest [It’s All Good Between Us] (2008) – all originally published in Polish by Lampa i Iskra Boż a (Warsaw). 10 For more on Poland’s peripherality analyzed from a postcolonial perspective, see Lisiak 2010; Sowa 2010. 11 The empirical material discussed in this article comes from 120 interviews conducted during the first wave of TRANSFORmIG (a longitudinal research project based at Humboldt University of Berlin and funded by an ERC grant awarded to Magdalena Nowicka), between April 2014 and January 2015. Our research team interviewed Polish migrants living in Berlin, Munich, London and Birmingham about the rules, situations and behaviours that draw their attention in their new place of residence and what they notice because it is different to – or exactly the same as – back home. We did not ask about disorder specifically; rather, research participants talked about it in the context of selected topics (e.g., neighbourhood life, leisure, public transport, etc.). After transcribing and anonymizing the interviews, we coded them in MAXQDA according to a theory – and datadriven code system and following the principles of thematic analysis. The analysis specifically for this article included interpretative procedures in the tradition of objective hermeneutics. In the third wave of TRANSFORmIG, conducted in 2016, we revisited the research participants and asked them to fill in the gaps in a short standardized text about the city in which they live, after which we conducted interviews based on their responses. For this article, I analyzed 52 of these ‘city stories’, conducted in all four cities. 12 On the critique of linearity, see, e.g., Massey 1994. 13 For more on whiteness and migration, see Lisiak forthcoming. 14 For more on the post-Brexit violence against Poles and other East Europeans living in the United Kingdom, see, e.g., Younge 2016.

References Bauman, Zygmunt. 2004. Wasted Lives: Modernity and Its Outcasts. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bohle, Dorothee. 2006. ‘Neoliberal Hegemony, Transnational Capital and the Terms of the EU’s Eastward Expansion’. Capital and Class 30.1: 57–86. Bourdieu, Pierre. 1984. Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgment of Taste. Translated by Richard Nice. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Buden, Boris. 2009. Zone des Übergangs: Vom Ende des Postkommunismus. Frankfurt: Suhrkamp. Campkin, Ben. 2013. ‘Placing “Matter Out of Place”: Purity and Danger as Evidence for Architecture and Urbanism’. Architectural Theory Review 18.1: 46–61. Charkiewicz, Ewa. 2007. ‘Od komunizmu do neoliberalizmu. Technologie transformacji’. In Zniewolony umysł 2, edited by Ewa Majewska and Jan Sowa, 23–84. Cracow: Korporacja ha-art.

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Cohen, William. 2005. ‘Introduction: Locating Filth’. In Filth: Dirt, Disgust, and Modern Life, edited by William Cohen and R. Johnson, vii–xxxvii. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Czapliński, Przemysław. 2016. Poruszona mapa: Wyobraźnie geograficznokulturowa polskiej literatury przełomu XX i XXI wieku. Warsaw: Wydawnictwo Literackie. Douglas, Mary. 2002 [1966]. Purity and Danger: An Analysis of the Concepts of Pollution and Taboo. London: Routledge. Drenda, Olga. 2016. Duchologia polska: Rzeczy i ludzie w latach transformacji. Warsaw: Fundacja bęc zmiana. Dunn, Elizabeth C. 2004. Privatizing Poland: Baby Food, Big Business, and the Remaking of the Polish Working Class: Culture and Society After Socialism. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Grubbauer, Monika and Joanna Kusiak. 2012. ‘Introduction: Chasing Warsaw’. In Chasing Warsaw: Socio-Material Dynamics of Urban Change Since 1989, edited by Monika Grubbauer and Joanna Kusiak, 9–24. Frankfurt: Campus. Hall, Stuart. 1992. ‘The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power’. In The Formations of Modernity, edited by Stuart Hall and Bram Gieben, 184–227. Cambridge: Polity Press, in association with The Open University. Hentschel, Christine. 2015. ‘Postcolonizing Berlin and the Fabrication of the Urban’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 39.1: 79–91. Hlajova, Maria and Simon Sheikh (eds.). 2017. Former West: Art and the Contemporary After 1989. Cambridge: MIT Press. Klein, Naomi. 2007. The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism. London: Penguin Books. Kristeva, Julia. 1982. Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection. Translated by Leon S. Roudiez. New York: Columbia University Press. Kusiak, Joanna. 2012. ‘The Cunning of Chaos and Its Orders: A Taxonomy of Urban Chaos in Post-Socialist Warsaw and Beyond’. In Chasing Warsaw: Socio-Material Dynamics of Urban Change Since 1989, edited by Monika Grubbauer and Joanna Kusiak, 291–319. Frankfurt: Campus. Lisiak, Agata. 2010. Urban Cultures in (Post)Colonial Central Europe. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press. ———. ‘Other Mothers: Encountering In/visible Femininities in Migration and Urban Contexts’. Feminist Review 117. Forthcoming. Majewska, Ewa and Jan Sowa (eds.). 2007. Zniewolony umysł 2: Neoliberalizm i jego krytyki. Cracow: Korporacja ha-art. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, Place, and Gender. Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press. Miller, William. 1997. The Anatomy of Disgust. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Nowicka, Magdalena. 2014. ‘Migrating Skills, Skilled Migrants and Migration Skills: The Influence of Contexts on the Validation of Migrants’ Skills’. Migration Letters 11.12: 171–86.

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Nowicka, Magdalena and Łukasz Krzyżowski. 2016. ‘The Social Distance of Poles to Other Minorities: A Study of Four Cities in Germany and Britain’. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1369 183X.2016.1198253 (accessed 1 September 2016)). Outhwaite, William and Larry Ray (eds.). 2005. Social Theory and PostCommunism. Oxford: Blackwell. Rabikowska, Marta. 2010. ‘Negotiation of Normality and Identity Among Migrants From Eastern Europe to the United Kingdom After 2004’. Social Identities: Journal for the Study of Race, Nation and Culture 16.3: 285–96. Robinson, Jennifer. 2006. Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development. London: Routledge. Roy, Ananya and Aihwa Ong (eds.). 2011. Worlding Cities: Asian Experiments and the Art of Being Global. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. Sowa, Jan. 2010. Fantomowe ciało króla: Peryferyjne zmagania z nowoczesną formą. Warsaw: Universitas. Stasiuk, Andrzej. 2001. Przez rzekę [Through the River]. Wołowiec: Czarne. ———. 2005. Dukla. Wołowiec: Czarne. ———. 2007. Dojczland. Wołowiec: Czarne. ———. 2008. Nine. Translated by Bill Johnston. New York: Vintage. ———. 2011. On the Road to Babadag: Travels in the Other Europe. Translated by Michael Kandel. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Stenning, Alison and Kathrin Hörschelmann. 2008. ‘History, Geography and Difference in the Post-socialist World: Or, Do We Still Need Post-Socialism?’ Antipode 40.2: 320. Szczerek, Ziemowit. 2014. Siódemka [Route S7]. Cracow: korporacja ha-art. Szcześniak, Magda and Mateusz Halawa. 2016. ‘Realizm kapitalistyczny polskiej transformacji.’ Widok. Teorie i praktyki kultury wizualnej 11: no pagination (http://pismowidok.org/index.php/one/article/view/352/673 (accessed 12 September 2016)). Tyler, Imogen. 2013. Revolting Subjects: Social Abjection and Resistance in Neoliberal Britain. London: Zed Books. Younge, Gary. 2016. ‘Eggs Thrown, Windows Smashed, a Family Attacked in a Park: How Brexit Impacted East Europeans’. The Guardian 31 August 2016 (www. theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/31/after-the-brexit-vote-it-has-gotworse-the-rise-in-racism-against-east-europeans (accessed 12 September  2016)). Zaremba, Łukasz. 2015. ‘Polobrazy, krajobraz i to, co wspólne.’ Widok. Teorie i praktyki kultury wizualnej 12: no pagination. (http://pismowidok.org/ index.php/one/article/view/266/469 (accessed 15 December 2016)).

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12 DARK TRUTHS IN EAST GERMAN TOWNS IN TIMES OF ISLAMOPHOBIA Christine Hentschel

Truth-telling and the city At a roundabout in front of the courthouse of Pirna, a small town in Saxony, East Germany, I attended a ‘demonstration for the freedom of opinion’.1 The rally was held in support of Lothar Hoffmann, a prominent speaker at the weekly Pegida rallies in Dresden,2 and a peace mediator. The court had ruled that Hoffmann can no longer combine his two vocations, since his views on ‘hormone-driven refugees’, the need for a ‘Fortress Europe’ and for ‘resistance against the current regime’, which he expresses openly, are not suitable for a peace mediator and may impact his neutrality.3 A small crowd of about 150 participants gathered to protest against the court’s decision. The first speaker sets the tone, darkly and ironically: Lothar Hoffmann has committed a crime. The biggest crime you can currently commit in this society: he openly stated his opinion. And for this reason, the judge of this court had him removed from office. This is Gesinnungsjustiz (punishing people for their political opinions), and we have experienced this phenomenon twice in our history: during the Nazi era and then during the German Democratic Republic regime. And now again. In the following three and a half hours, about ten ‘patriots’, as they call themselves, raise their voices for Lothar, most of them beginning their speech with a statement of shared pain and experienced injustice: ‘I can feel with you, Lothar, today, I was in a similar situation when I boldly spoke my mind’, ‘I lost my job’, ‘The police came to visit me’, ‘I wanted to make my statement, but the officials didn’t want to listen to me’, or 217

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‘leftist fascists loosened the wheel bolts of my car.’ Despite the ongoing traffic at the roundabout, with many vehicles honking in support of the demonstration, the event had an air of public intimacy: in the midst of a Tuesday afternoon’s rush-hour, this was a moment for speaking one’s mind and for expressing deep frustration about a state acting in an ever more repressive fashion against ‘certain opinions’ and ultimately against its own people. A young woman, who is moderating the event, cites fragments of occidental thought on tolerance and the freedom of thought, from Voltaire to Einstein, from Schopenhauer to Tocqueville, hoping, as she says, that these sentences will ‘make a nice transition to the next speaker’. During the break, a well-dressed lady in her late fifties distributes pamphlets. The first one I pick up is from the Lutheran bible. Seeing my astonishment, she explains: ‘It’s for the “do-gooders” (Gutmenschen) who think they should receive everyone with open arms’ and summarizes the quote for me: ‘In Luther’s bible it says one should be aware of the stranger.’ ‘What else do you have?’ I ask. ‘A quote from Albert Schweitzer.’ ‘Even him?’ I wonder, thinking of his dedication to the sick in Africa. Well, she replies, claiming to interpret him: ‘because one should be aware of the negroes (Neger, sic) and not let them rise to eye level, otherwise they will destroy us. Incredible, isn’t it?’ she comments, and concludes: ‘I will keep copying.’ We enter a long conversation in the course of which she tells me that Auschwitz was a labour camp, not a death camp – the latter being the big lie aiming to put us, the Germans, at the very bottom of the hierarchy. In the end I want to know: ‘So, how do you find out that something is the truth and something else is a lie?’ The truth, she says firmly, always comes to light (ans Licht). The lie, on the other hand, ‘always needs the protection of the law, otherwise it cannot exist’. She ends on a messianic note: ‘now the time has come that the truth sees the light.’ To be sure, most Pegida supporters are probably not Auschwitz deniers. But the speeches and conversations at the event in Pirna point to a particular mode in which frustration, resistance and anger are articulated on the streets and plazas of East German towns and cities one year after Chancellor Merkel spoke her famous ‘we can do it,’ opening the borders for thousands of refugees, and 26 years after then chancellor Kohl announced ‘flourishing landscapes’ in the former German Democratic Republic (GDR). This mode, as I will develop throughout this chapter, has to do with an almost theological (absolute, foreseeing) concern with ‘the truth’. While Pegida’s use of the term ‘lying press’ (Lügenpresse – a Nazi term used to defame political enemies and to claim the press was regulated by the ‘Judaism of the world’) has received a lot of attention, I will argue that ‘truth’ deserves just as much thought and can give us a sense of how the various local 218

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movements against refugee camps, Islam and perceived political failure manifest themselves across East German small towns and cities. In the speeches, pamphlets and conversations of the anti-Islamization movements on East German ground truth appears not as the outcome of a line of argumentation, of establishing facts and evidence, or of taking a position built on a given framework of thought. While the lie needs fabrication, truth, here, simply is, and it comes with a capital T (see Valverde 2003, 8). It can be held, it can be revealed or come to light. And it must be shared in a moment of public intimacy (Berlant 2008). Writing on early twentieth-century female American culture, Lauren Berlant develops the notion of a ‘mass intimacy’ (2008, ix) that ‘solicit(ed) belonging via modes of sentimental realism that span fantasy and experience and claim a certain emotional generality amongst women’ (2008, 5). Through the consumption of blockbuster films and popular novels they began to ‘cohabit a shared intimate space’ (Amin 2012, 29). Perhaps we can see the small town, twenty-first-century versions of such intimate publics here in Saxony, sometimes just for a few hours at a roundabout or in an inner city: when people tell each other stories of pain and heroism, when they circulate (sometimes forbidden) books and leaflets, or when they bring their newest creations of poster-poetry to the rallies for laughter and admiration. Truth, here, is enunciated as the property of the outlaws, those who have manoeuvered themselves outside of the liberal public sphere. But there is a promise (or a threat) that this power arrangement might soon turn around. One has to stand firm and show one’s true colours (Gesicht zeigen – ‘show face’) and ‘avow’, publically, one’s acts and the truth of who one is (Foucault 2014, 17ff). ‘All avowals are “costly”,’ writes Foucault (2014, 17), quoting the French psychiatrist Leuret, and in this rally for the freedom of speech, the testimonies sound like voices of martyrs who keep speaking their mind in the face of a system that rejects their voices as mere ‘noise’ uttered by angry crowds (Rancière 2002). While the truths that are expressed here publically stem from ‘deep inside’ (e.g. from a person’s experiences, a history of taboos, a rigged political game), the towns in which these rallies occur themselves become a stage where this rearrangement of truth and lie literally takes place. Plazas, with their historic buildings, cathedrals and statues of Luther and Marx, offer the stage for and are drawn into ‘acts of presencing’ across the widest spectrum of feelings and emotions. In such acts of affective presencing elements of urban ‘wallpaper’ (Thrift 2004, 585) – from the church to the Marx statue – are employed, repurposed, rearranged and recycled for truth’s move to the surface. Scenarios are sketched as if they were already a fact. Thus, a banner carried in close vicinity to Dresden’s Frauenkirche depicts the church’s fate: after having suffered so much 219

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(including its full destruction in World War II), it is now about to go through its ultimate pain: that of becoming a mosque (which, one should add, is not ‘true’). For Asef Bayat (2010, 5), the ‘art of presence’ refers to the ‘quiet and unassuming daily struggles’ of the urban disenfranchized in Middle Eastern cities, seeking to refigure urban realities for themselves. What I call ‘acts of affective presencing’ in East German cities and towns is louder and works in the fullest affective spectrum: frustration, rage, hatred, ressentiment, envy, but also joy, heroism, martyrdom, love and admiration (Sharlet 2016; Brighi 2016, 423 ff). Acts of affective presencing come with a determination to take the square. Slowly, the picturesque scenery of baroque Dresden, where tourists sip their coffees listening to the Russian trombone band in front of the Frauenkirche, is being transformed into something else – as the participants of the gathering sit down at the base of the Luther monument, unroll their banners, populate the square, body by body, before filling the city with the sound of discontent. No one can deny the presence of this crowd in the city. Affective presencing is part of a drama of ‘bright’ versus ‘dark’ Germany, as the Federal President has called the volunteers who help refugees and those acting violently against them, respectively. Dark Germany, even if not explicitly outlined as such, is the Dark East. The images of Heidenau, Clausnitz, Bautzen or Freital, where refugee shelters were attacked, went around the world and became the essence of this attributed darkness and its rootedness in small towns of Germany’s East. In what follows, I will begin by locating Germany’s urban East in a wider debate about ‘cities of the North and cities of the South’ before investigating the label of ‘Dark Germany’ (Dunkeldeutschland) as it has become associated with a particular version of small-town East. I will ask how those taking their anger to the streets reestablish this label in a peculiar way, performing what one might call ‘dark pride’. I will then expand the notion of darkness from ‘bad’ towards the ‘unknown’ or ‘unformatted’ as it makes its way to the surface of urban public life. I conceptualize these collective forms of ‘defending their Volk against Islam’ as ‘affective presencing’. Surprisingly prominent in these acts of presencing is the revival of famous – or infamous – figures from German history such as Hitler, Marx or Luther, for which the orators and poster-makers find inspiration in the statues and historic buildings of the city, even as the city itself at times stubbornly refuses to function as a mere stage. The obsession with the ‘truth’, associated with those figures, brings me back to Foucault: detached from facts or arguments and in an ambiance of apocalypse and decadence, truth here returns in the prophetic fashion that Foucault thought had long passed. 220

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Small-town German East in a world of cities Might it be, John and Jean Comaroff (2006) ask in Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, that ‘the world at large is looking ever more “postcolonial” ’ (Comaroff and Comaroff 2006, 6)? State failure, rampant inequality, informality, a condition of permanent uncertainty and lawlessness may then not merely be the unfortunate fate of the world’s forgotten places but rather the new normal. In the Global South, they assert, ‘the lumpen end of the story . . . is worked out first . . . where much of the working class of the world is dispersed’ (2012, 12). The many writings in urban studies about the need to theorize from the South (Roy 2009; McFarlane 2008; Robinson 2002, 2006) point to the importance of taking the experiences of the margins of the globe seriously. But where do East German towns fit into this scenario: these ‘ordinary cities’ (Robinson 2006) located in the Global North, yet somewhat ‘off the map’ (Roy 2009, 821); these small cities close to the Czech and Polish borders that have not encountered many foreigners or people of different faiths, and that, after a wave of infrastructural renewals in the 1990s, now seem increasingly ‘stuck’ (Ahmed 2012)?4 It may not be very effective to think of places like Erfurt, Dresden, Chemnitz, Pirna, Zwickau or Limbach-Oberfrohna as rather ‘East’, ‘North’ or ‘South’. To be sure, some have argued that East European cities, too, are part of the postcolony: since they are living with the legacy of a socialist past under the Soviet zone of influence (Lisiak 2010). And some might discover in the ambiance of xenophobia and violence the ‘reign of the mob’, the lawlessness and brutality associated with the townships and neighbourhoods all over urban Africa. But perhaps we do not need to go this far and rather see two kinds of paths that East German towns share with cities elsewhere. First, an ambivalent and uneasy transition that East German towns – like other post-socialist cities in Central and Eastern Europe (Grubbauer 2012; Golubchikov et al. 2013) – have gone through since 1989: with high unemployment rates and the sense of precarity of an uneven economic restructuring, emigration of the young and educated, and a long-grown political culture that does not fit the style and the needs of the current regime (Engler 2004; Pates 2013). Second, we may want to situate the current air of anti-establishment and frustration in Germany’s small-town East within a world of increasing radicalization and right-wing populism (Müller 2016; Dostal 2015; Greven 2016; Raether 2016; Kohlenberg 2016), sometimes interpreted as the revenge of ‘the angry white men’, from Le Pen’s France to Trump’s USA. Here, in the cities of East Germany, where in 1989 the slogan ‘we are the people’ was introduced during the weekly Monday demonstrations to 221

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protest against the illiberalism of the GDR regime and to fight for freedom of speech and movement, Pegida began their Monday ‘promenades’ (Spaziergänge) through the inner city in October 2014 using the same slogan: ‘we are the people.’ The re-use of this iconic slogan on East German terrain was largely received with shock and perceived as cynical: as the theologian and dissident of the former German Democratic Republic Friedrich Schorlemer argued: ‘By chanting “Wir sind das Volk”, they make claim on a heritage that does not belong to them.’5 In a force field with other slogans used during the Monday gatherings such as the terms ‘traitor to the people’ (Volksverräter – a word introduced by the Nazis and now used to insult mainstream politicians), ‘muck out!’ (the government), ‘deport!’ (refugees, Muslims, or the most hated politicians) ‘resistance’ (to the system), ‘lying press’ (Lügenpresse: journalists of the liberal media), the present version of ‘we, the people’ has a far more nationalistic connotation, calling out and threatening those who do ‘not belong’, who ‘are false’, ‘report falsely’ or who do not even have ‘their own opinion’. Truth, on the one hand, and lies, taboo, fake, treason, on the other, appear as the poles that pull this force field apart.

Troubling dark East In the summer of 2015, German Federal President Joachim Gauck visited a refugee camp in the outskirts of Berlin and spoke a sentence that received great attention: praising the volunteers around him he said ‘there is a bright Germany that presents itself here shiningly against the dark Germany that we feel when we hear about attacks on refugee shelters or even xenophobic actions against people.’6 When Gauck said his words in 2015, most commentators interpreted the meaning of dark Germany as geographical: dark Germany was the dark East: the former German Democratic Republic. After all, the word Dunkeldeutschland was used after reunification in the context of an ambiance of xenophobia including deadly attacks on refugee homes in the 1990s during the post-GDR era. While during the 1980s the term was used by Westerners to talk about the tristesse of the late GDR towns that were neither properly lit nor renovated, in the 1990s Dunkeldeutschland carried with it the connotation of the infrastructural backwardness of the region, but even more so became a description of its people: politically unreliable, clueless, underdeveloped, often with violent potential, and in any case ‘very provincial’ (see Reents 2015). Dark Germany thus captured a region whose political subjects did not seem to have fully embraced the democratic values and rules that a liberal public sphere consists of. Cultural sociologist Wolfgang Engler (1992) has coined the term ‘civilizational gap’ with regard to a certain incompleteness with which 222

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liberal democracy is being embodied by people socialized in regimes of state socialism. In 2015, with the Federal President’s choice of words, the notion of dark Germany was back in the public discourse. Commentators tried to make sense of his use of the term, and reasoned on its in/appropriateness. Experts were called upon who would diagnose an ‘everyday rule of the mob’ in these towns (e.g. political scientist Hajo Funke in a widely televised feature titled Dunkeldeutschland). In 2016, the German Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, encountered his own version of Dunkeldeutschland when he was badly insulted during a Labour Day rally in Zwickau, Saxony. After the incident, he reflected on the hatred and violent potential he sensed in the crowd, concluding that ‘this was a moment of dark Germany that one could observe there in Zwickau.’ These and other leading politicians have since become the objects of hatred, and the label of Dunkeldeutschland a reservoir from where people mine the ingredients for producing ever new slogans and meanings – firing back from the streets, as it were. On the one hand there is a cruel affirmation of darkness, à la ‘yes, we are the outlaws’, ‘we are the mob’, or ‘welcome to Dunkeldeutschland’, sometimes even connected to a threat against those ‘on top’. On the other hand though, speakers and the crowds have disoriented the label of darkness, moving the accusation around a little to make it a kind of self-celebration. Thus, a poster says: ‘In Dark Germany the people were always brighter’ – marking and rejecting the underlying association of the subjects of Dark Germany with ignorance. A speaker at a Pegida rally in Dresden argues, my friends, we . . . are portrayed as embittered, as afraid, as left behind, as worried and anxious – with the scoffing undertone that all this is absurd. We all know that this is not the case: we have fun, we live our lives, however, in addition to this, we are concerned about the future, worried about what sort of society and with what kind of values and morals our children and grandchildren will grow up. And if this should be a mistake, then I will gladly make this mistake. Those identifying strongly and positively as we do, are not rich, but with backbone, and worried because they are prudent. (Speaker at Pegida Rally, 22 August 2016) Here, the accusation of darkness is critiqued as classist and ignorant, while those taking to the streets have the guts and the endurance to face the questions ahead. But there is more: especially the speakers from the West applaud the Easterners for having always resisted the ‘multi-culti hypocrisy’. Jürgen Elsässer, the editor of the right-wing populist magazine 223

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Compact, illustrates such admiration vividly: Dresden is the heart of resistance, he says, I am glad to be in Dresden because this city has withstood great adversity, even after the Anglo-American bombings in February 1945, the city rose like a phoenix out of the ashes. . . . I am glad to be here because Dresden has the highest birth rate of, note: German children, and this goes to show that people love one another here and that Saxony does not only have the most beautiful girls, but that they are also fertile and offer their people a future. I am especially glad to be here in Dresden because you have written a new heroic history [Heldengeschichte] for almost two years with Pegida and give the whole country hope, especially the estranged [überfremdeten, literally: rendered over-foreign] and the leftish grotty (linksversifften) West, [hope] that something can be done and that one does not have to succumb as a German. [Clapping, the crowd shouts ‘resistance’]. (Speaker at Pegida Rally, 29 August 2016) Dark Germany, then, has become both insult and incitement to re-appropriate the label and make it into a sign of an avant-garde, standing for ‘heroism’, ‘brightness’, ‘prudence’, ‘hope’ and backbone.

Dark matter, noise and affective presencing The metaphor of darkness is embedded in a long history of designating anything not bright, not enlightened, not forward-oriented, not good: from colonial history (heart of darkness), to the concerns with massive social problems in industrializing cities (dark slum, dark ghetto) or illicit criminal networks (dark networks, dark net), to name but a few. But there is also the meaning of ‘underneath’ and of the ‘unknown’: The ‘human world contains a vast hinterland of “dark matter” or “plasma” that we do not understand and of which we often only feel as echoes and intimations’ writes Nigel Thrift, building on Bruno Latour (Thrift 2014, 2). Latour imagines this plasma as ‘unformatted phenomena’, as ‘not yet mobilized’ or ‘subjectified’. The point he claims is not so much that it is hidden, but that it is simply still unknown (Latour 2005, 244). We find ourselves in the dark, and we ‘cannot produce an instant compass’ (Thrift 2014, 2). If this was true, Dunkeldeutschland’s darkness had an additional layer: not only the various negative connotations of backwardness, democratic deficit and potential violence, but the very unknown-ness itself; that something might

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be on the way to the forefront of events – with ingredients partly all-toowell known, yet giving rise to something new. Perhaps, then, an urban public sphere has been emerging where some of Latour’s dark matter is being swirled about and transported from the (unknown) ‘hinterland’ to become formed (or formatted) into an affective presence in the city. As people are taking to the streets, cursing, insulting, ‘speaking with excrements’ (Mbembe 2016), throwing bombs in the name of protecting their town, their neighbourhood, their occidental values and their people, scholars have asked ‘why?’, ‘why now?’, or ‘who’? To be sure, we cannot do without these questions, but what concerns me here is the act of presencing in the city itself: the surfacing of known and unknown truths as they are staged in the city in the fullest affective range. Here, vulgarities and lies are shouted out to be heard widely beyond the cheering crowd, addressing the counter publics of the anti-fascists, but also the many locals that seem frozen as their city is taken, as well as the imagined viewers on Youtube or television. Emotions run high, stretching from rage and ressentiment to pleasure and laughter, from the coziness of singing German folksongs on one side to the ugly shouting of insults. And there are moments of secrecy and sharing, when rumours circulate, allusions are made, forbidden books appear for several seconds in someone’s bag. In La Mésentente, Jacques Rancière (2002, 35 ff) reworks the story told by Pierre-Simon Ballanche on the patricians and the plebeians in ancient Rome: the patricians did not hear that the plebeians actually delivered articulated speeches and that they indeed spoke about their common political affairs. The only thing that the patricians heard was the plebeian noise, the noise that sounded like growling and grumbling. The Pegida crowds certainly make a lot of noise, but their orientation seems to be a different one. They are not concerned with carving out paths of political subjectivity. They are part of the demos (although wanting it for themselves in an identitarian, exclusive way), and they are staging, publically and loudly, a kind of ‘detachment’ (Simone 2016) from a political regime that, they feel, has pushed them onto the fringes, criminalizing their ‘opinions’. The liberal media and government seem clueless when trying to make sense of this concentrated negativity, wondering nervously: is there a voice to be heard in the midst of all the noise, frustration, cursing and hatred? Should one even try to listen, e.g. can they be invited onto a talk show? Is it worth the effort, or is it morally acceptable, to try and decipher logic of reasoning? But wandering through the noise itself may do more justice to what is at stake here: what about the palimpsest of historical references found in the pamphlets and banners from Goebbels to Gandhi? On what common ground do fragments of arguments and loose references ‘make sense’, perhaps

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beyond a singular logic? And what if the ‘sense’ is made by the mere affective ‘presence’ itself, including everything and everyone that doesn’t seem to fit? As I will argue in the following, there is a peculiar way in which ‘Hitler’, ‘Auschwitz’ and ‘Negro’ are framed as mere taboos around which spheres of experimentation have formed that the movement interprets as ‘courage to (speak) the truth’, although it is simply the calling back of authorities and a recycling of racist matters, not rearranging the partage du sensible or articulating the not-yet thought that Rancière (2000) has in mind.

Hitler, Marx, Luther: searching for common grounds Often, affective presencing begins with affirming that the crowd is there, perceived and wanted. Most leaders start with ‘Hallo Dresden!’ or ‘Hallo Chemnitz!’ In Erfurt, at a rally of the ‘Alternative for Germany’ (AfD), one of its leaders, Björn Höcke, begins with: ‘I must admit something: I have missed all of you,’ and the audience cheers. One of the women in the crowd shouts: ‘I love you!’ Then surrounding historic buildings like the cathedral are drawn into the drama of Islamization versus civilization that is staged here. ‘In 1453’, Höcke begins, ‘Constantinople was conquered by the Turks and became Istanbul. The Hagia Sophia, the centre of ChristianOrthodox faith, became a mosque.’ At this moment, the church bells of the Erfurt cathedral, right next to the stage, begin to ring powerfully; it is 8 pm. ‘Dear friends’, he continues, I am worried. (Pause) That perhaps not today or tomorrow, but that maybe in a not too distant future, one will see a crescent on our cathedral, which at this moment lets its bells ring so wonderfully and powerfully. And I ask you (raising his voice) do you want this [making his words sound like the beginning of Goebbels’ infamous question: ‘Ich frage euch: Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg’]? ‘No!’ ‘Never! Resistance . . . ’ the crowd shouts. There seems to be a widespread appetite for using and creating ambiguities around ‘taboos’ concerning Hitler, Goebbels and defamatory language such as the word ‘negro’. The most disliked politicians are labeled as traitors to the people (‘Volksverräter’) or ‘enemies to our people’. Banners at the demonstrations show Merkel as Hitler, or ask: Wollt ihr den totalen Maas? – with the name Maas (referring to the much hated, left-liberal Minister of Justice) replacing the word Krieg (war) in Goebbels’s original statement. With Hitler & Co. finding their way into the truth claims at these demonstrations, commonly shared meanings about what they stand for are 226

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cut off; and instead they serve as shock material for making new assemblages of claims (suggesting, just suggesting, that Merkel is like Hitler, that Goebbels had a point etc.). After all, taboo has been muzzling the German people for much too long, as many at the rally complain. In the force field stretching between truth and lies, this taboo figures on the side of the lie. As much as the Third Reich is a reservoir of references for the demonstrators and speakers, so is the German Democratic Republic; not so much as a taboo, but rather as gesture of identification and comparison. ‘In 1989, many of you and us walked the streets against paternalism, defamation and exclusion and now we are here again!’ is one of the many statements that begin with the shared GDR experience. In addition to this, there is the socalled ‘Facebook Stasi’ (referring to the government’s growing awareness of the prevalence of ‘hate speech’). ‘They will efface us,’ a speaker at the Chemnitz rally warns and, interestingly, he does not say: they will efface our words or statements, but us. Getting effaced is the ultimate fear people express here and what I mean by presencing must be seen in this light. In German, to show one’s true colours translates literally as ‘to show one’s face’ (Gesicht zeigen), and it concerns many, especially as a matter (and a risk) of being seen by their bosses or neighbours. Underlying the manifold acts of presencing is a sense of ‘we will not be effaced! Not by Facebook, not by our governments, not by the immigrants.’ In Chemnitz, the Pegida rally always assembles at the Karl Marx monument (Figure 12.1). When anti-fascist protesters shout from the other side of the street, Pegida’s speaker raises his voice to them: ‘Follow your role model Karl Marx! He was a fierce critic of Islam. He said that Islam would divide the world into believers and non-believers and that it creates a state of permanent adversary.’ And continues: ‘Were Karl Marx still alive today (he) would not demonstrate on your side! Karl Marx is on our side!’ And then there is Martin Luther, over and over again. ‘Luther would turn in his grave,’ a prominent guest speaker says, facing a big Martin Luther statue next to Dresden’s Frauenkirche, ‘if he knew that our German bishops demand more Islam classes in our schools’. Luther’s ‘courage to (speak) the truth’ has been the AfD’s campaign slogan since 2013 and is meant to mark a stance against ‘political correctness’, excessive ‘tabooization’ and the ‘political cast’ itself.7 An AfD demonstration in Erfurt in May 2016 against the construction of a mosque on the outskirts of the city was held under the double slogan of ‘courage to (speak) the truth’ (Mut zur Wahrheit) and ‘here I stand, I can do no other’ (hier stehe ich und kann nicht anders). The call for the demonstration specifies the choice of the slogans: Luther, it is explained on the website, was standing before the Reichstag in Worms and was expected to revoke his theses (against the Roman-Catholic establishment of his times). But he stood firm and remained truthful to his 227

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Figure 12.1 Christine Hentschel, Pegida gathering in Chemnitz at the Karl Marx Monument, 30 August 2016. Source: Author

conviction.8 Luther’s steadfastness and his unbreakable ‘opinion’ are portrayed here as the radical act needed for today and interpreted as the need to fight the current establishment. And crucially, ‘courage to (speak) the truth’ is not just an abstract inspiration from a Christian monk living 500 years ago in a today mostly atheist region: Luther’s face features prominently on placards in the demonstration (‘showing face’), his statue gets addressed, and the bells of the church that he has ‘reformed’ are part of the performance. In the wild mélange of Hitler, Marx and Luther in the gatherings of Pegida, AfD and company, it is not clear at all to what degree their respective convictions or frameworks of thought are being incorporated into some kind of ‘argument’. What seems clearer is how, as in/famous figures, they provide anchors for the presencing that is taking place here: Hitler and Goebbels for the pleasure of undoing taboos and celebrating ‘German greatness’, Marx for being the intellectual authorizer of the GDR, that in 228

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whatever twisted ways remains a corner stone for East German identification, and Luther for his firmness against the establishment, his commitment to truth, and his rootedness in the region. However, sometimes the urban wallpaper in front of which everything happens makes its own statement. For example, when Pegida gathers at the Postplatz in Dresden, the orators speak from a stage right in front of the Dresden Theatre, which takes a clear stance in support of refugees, organizing refugee-friendly initiatives and performing a piece critical of Pegida throughout the first few months of 2016 (Figure 12.2). A huge banner proclaiming ‘For a Dresden open to the world’, and in a graffiti-style font next to it, ‘refugees are welcome here,’ decorate the theatre. In the middle of the first speech, a group of antagonists step out from the terrace of the theatre and chant: ‘refugees are welcome here.’ The other side of the Postplatz faces a Motel One with a quotation from the Greek philosopher Democritus running along its top: ‘A life without festivals is a long road without inns.’ The word ‘inn’ is translated as Gasthaus, and the mere notion of a long trip with (or especially without a Gasthaus) let the spoken words ‘they should go back to where they came from’ resonate differently, as in a theatre play where the décor is wrong (or conversely: where the décor is right, but the performance is wrong).

Decadence and the return of prophetic truth In his lectures on truth-telling and subjectivity, Foucault (2014, 2001) reflects on a shift in the enunciation of truth from prescription to re-counting past events, from prophecy to evidence. While in ancient Greece, truth was prophetic and tied to supernatural oracles, Sophocles’s Oedipus Rex departs from these conventions and experiments with new techniques for establishing the truth that would remain of relevance in the realms of justice, medicine and psychiatry in modern societies (2014, 75 ff; see also Valverde 2017). In particular, Oedipus challenges the ‘prophetic and oracular form of veridiction’ (2014, 80),9 instead insisting on having witnesses, evidence and a testimony of avowal. This is the birth of the ‘forensic truth’, which is concerned with the past that must be ‘recounted into the present’ (Valverde 2017, 106). Interestingly, the anti-Islamization movements in East Germany and their obsessions with speaking the truth seem almost prophetic in an ancient Greek fashion. The truth that matters here is not oriented towards the past, but the future, for example in assertions such as ‘Europe will be Islamized,’ ‘my kids will have to learn the Koran by heart,’ ‘Germany will fall’ and ‘being tolerant today and alien tomorrow in one’s own country’. It is an enunciation of truth as prophecy that looks at a dark future. If 229

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Figure 12.2 Christine Hentschel, The anti-Islamization crowd in front of the theatre in Dresden, with banner, ‘Dresden open to the world’ and graffiti, ‘refugees welcome’. Source: Author

the forensic truth is about the past and must be recounted in the present, the apocalyptic truth of Pegida and their like is about the future, and its precursors must be articulated in the here-and-now. The catastrophe has already begun. ‘Have you heard of the scenario of catastrophe they are discussing?’ a Pegida speaker asks, referring to the recently published emergency plans by the Federal government. Establishing evidence or assembling facts is not necessary. Truth, here, is simply not about such things. 230

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Avowal, then, this technique of binding oneself to the truth by saying who one is and what one has done that has become so crucial to penal practices (Foucault 2014, 17), takes on a different direction in this apocalyptic orientation towards the ‘truth’. The act of avowal is directed into the future conditional: what one would do. In the support rally for Lothar Hoffmann, one of the speakers did exactly that: he recounts that two police officers came to see him, after he posted on his Facebook account that ‘in an extreme case and if nothing else helps . . . if someone was to attack my family, I would kill them for sure.’ After telling the audience about his avowal made earlier in his Facebook community and the reactions by the police, he restates his avowal by reading a letter he wrote to the Sächsische Zeitung on the ‘suffocation’ by foreigners, ending on the following note: And yes, I would take on every risk to save my loved ones, in the case of extreme self-defence and with the sacrifice of my life, even if this would result in my death or that of another person [the crowd claps]. This may not be funny, but it is truthful (wahrhaftig). Avowal is costly, and in the rallies, these avowals of acts yet to be committed entail an element of martyrdom: someone might lose his or her career, get arrested for incitement to hatred or have his or her Facebook account deleted. Such apocalyptic truths are accounted as pure self-defence without any consideration that the narrating of such ‘naked truths’ of a future situation may bring this very situation into being. Moments of a coming civil war are narrated into such an apocalyptic truth. There is a sense of decadence and an imminent demise in the air: a poster depicting Merkel in posing as Hitler in the film Der Untergang (Downfall), stories of locusts that eat up everything until nothing is left and everyone dies, or of metaphoric balloons that burst (‘our immigration societies’). And there are also more mysterious expectations of the pending demise: without comment, a woman with a peace flag gives me a leaflet titled ‘Key Aspects of Support-Based Organization to Consider in the Case of Crisis’.10 I ask her what this is. ‘Well, it went through the media, didn’t you hear?’ She is referring to the then just released plan by the German Government to strengthen the population’s resilience in case of a catastrophe (food stocks, use of weapons). ‘They’ve sent this to us,’ she says. I was unable to find out who ‘they’ were, what the source of the pamphlet was and whether it was meant affirmatively (supporting the government by distributing information) or as a critique. Whatever its purpose, here, a seemingly unavoidable catastrophe that needed preparation was brought to the scene of demise. At an AfD rally in Erfurt, after a passionate speech on the perils of Islam, regional leader Björn Höcke lowers his voice and says: ‘My friends, 231

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even after having said so many critical things about Islam, I’d like to make one thing very clear: Islam is not my enemy.’ The crowd seems to shrug in silence. ‘I have a much bigger enemy: our biggest enemy is our decadence.’ People are clapping, and I am not sure if they get the point, which has not yet been explained by Höcke; nonetheless, they applaud. He continues denouncing ‘our’ self-hatred, this specifically German decadence and ‘our self-surrender’ (Selbstaufgabe) that we seem to accept willingly as we are embracing tolerance as our main virtue.11 In the meantime, the only black person I spotted at the gathering – a boy of about sixteen, who appeared next to me a few minutes earlier with a German flag – bends over to me and asks in a very typical Thuringian accent ‘what’s decadence?’ I stammer and say various things like acting in a wasteful, extravagant or indecent fashion, but that I wasn’t sure either. ‘What was the word again?’ he asks, ‘ “decadence”?’ When the boy turned back away from me, we had not resolved the issue at all, but we hear Höcke speak his closing words, his voice quivering with emotion: ‘and if we overcome this decadence . . . then, my dear friends, then we need not fear what lies ahead!’

Notes 1 I would like to thank Susanne Krasmann and Till Faber for their helpful comments on earlier versions of this chapter, Jean Comaroff and Mariana Valverde for their generous ideas on my material and Petra Besemann and the editors for their diligence in revising the English text. 2 Pegida stands for European Patriots against the Islamization of the Occident (Patriotische Europäer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes). 3 See comment by Andreas Beeskow, Judge in the Court in Pirna. www.mdr. de/investigativ/rueckblick/exakt/friedensrichter-auf-abwegen-100.html (last date of access 25 November 2017). 4 The percentage of people with migration background, including people with German citizenship in Saxony amount to 5.4 percent of the population, in Thuringia to 4.9 percent (Statistisches Bundesamt 2016, 42). The Saxon Commissioner for Foreigners estimates that about 0.4 percent of the Saxon population is Muslim (Sächsischer Landtag: Der Sächsische Ausländerbeauftragte 2015, 19). 5 www.ksta.de/politik/-wir-sind-das-volk--ddr-dissidenten-wehren-sich-ge gen-pegida-1238930 (last date of access 25 November 2017). 6 ‘Es gibt ein helles Deutschland, das sich hier leuchtend darstellt, gegenüber dem Dunkeldeutschland, das wir empfinden, wenn wir von Attacken auf Asylbewerberunterkünfte oder gar fremdenfeindlichen Aktionen gegen Menschen hören.’ 7 www.alternativefuer.de/programm-hintergrund/mut-zur-wahrheit/ (last date of access 20 September 2016). 8 http://afd-thueringen.de/2016/05/hier-stehe-ich-und-kann-nichtanders/ (last date of access 25 November 2017).

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9 Véridiction is a neologism coined by Foucault. It contains the ‘Latin root ver- for truth, and diction for speaking, pronouncing, or telling’ (Foucault 2014, translator’s note, p. 19). 10 ‘Schwerpunkte zur Stützpunktorganisation für den Krisenfall’. 11 With decadence being the deep malaise all over European countries, as Höcke diagnoses, it is interesting that a section of the AfD in Saxony suggests on its website Michel Houellebecq’s Submission as a good read with a very ‘realist scenario’, showing how ‘leftist anti-racist ideologies end up on the rubbish dump of history.’ https://afd-mittelsachsen.de/v2/index.php/ homepage/nachrichtenarchiv/496-buchempfehlung-und-verlosung-unterwerfung-von-michael-houllebecq (last date of access 25 November 2017).

References Ahmed, Sara. 2012. On Being Included: Racism and Diversity in Institutional Life. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Amin, Ash. 2012. Land of Strangers. Cambridge: Polity Press. Bayat, Asef. 2010. Life as Politics: How Ordinary People Change the Middle East. Stanford: Stanford University Press. Berlant, Lauren. 2008. The Female Complaint: The Unfinished Business of Sentimentality in American Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Brighi, Elisabetta. 2012. ‘Theory From the South: Or, How Euro-America Is Evolving Toward Africa’. Anthropological Forum 22.2: 113–31. (doi:10.108 0/00664677.2012.694169). ———. 2016. ‘The Globalisation of Resentment: Failure, Denial, and Violence in World Politics’. Millennium – Journal of International Studies (April): 1–22. (doi:10.1177/0305829816643174). Comaroff, Jean, and John L. Comaroff. 2006. ‘Law and Disorder in the Postcolony: An Introduction.’ In Law and Disorder in the Postcolony, edited by Jean Comaroff and John L. Comaroff, 1–56. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Dostal, Jörg Michael. 2015. ‘The Pegida Movement and German Political Culture: Is Right-Wing Populism Here to Stay?’. The Political Quarterly 86.4: 523–31. (doi:10.1111/1467–923X.12204). Engler, Wolfgang. 1992. Die zivilisatorische Lücke: Versuche über den Staatssozialismus. 1st ed. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. ———. 2004. Die Ostdeutschen als Avantgarde. 1st ed. Berlin: Aufbau Taschenbuch. Foucault, Michel. 2001. Fearless Speech. Edited by Joseph Pearson. Los Angeles: Semiotext(e). ———. 2014. Wrong-Doing, Truth-Telling: The Function of Avowal in Justice. Translated by Stephen W. Sawyer. Annotated ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Golubchikov, Oleg, Anna Badyina and Alla Makhrova. 2013. ‘The Hybrid Spatialities of Transition: Capitalism, Legacy and Uneven Urban Economic Restructuring’. Urban Studies (July): 1–17. (doi:10.1177/0042098013493022). Greven, Thomas. 2016. The Rise of Right-Wing Populism in Europe and the United States. Berlin: Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (www.fesdc.org/news-list/e/

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the-rise-of-right-wing-populism-in-europe-and-the-united-states/ (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Grubbauer, Monika. 2012. ‘Toward a More Comprehensive Notion of Urban Change: Linking Post-Socialist Urbanism and Urban Theory’. In Chasing Warsaw: Socio-Material Dynamics of Urban Change since 1990, edited by Monika Grubbauer and Joanna Kusiak, 35–60. Frankfurt am Main: Campus. Kohlenberg, Kerstin. 2016. ‘USA: Warum ist da so viel Wut?’. Die Zeit 28 July 2016 (www.zeit.de/2016/30/usa-demokraten-republikaner-protestbuerger-schwarze-weisse-polizeigewalt-mittelschicht (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Latour, Bruno. 2005. Reassembling the Social: An Introduction to ActorNetwork-Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Lisiak, Agata Anna. 2010. Urban Cultures in (Post)Colonial Central Europe. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press. Mbembe, Achille. 2016. On the State of South African Political Life. Rozenberg Quarterly: The Magazine. (http://rozenbergquarterly.com/achillembembe-on-the-state-of-south-african-political-life/ (accessed 19 September 2016)). McFarlane, Colin. 2008. ‘Urban Shadows: Materiality, the “Southern City” and Urban Theory’. Geography Compass 2.2: 340–58. (doi:10.1111/ j.1749–8198.2007.00073.x). Müller, Jan-Werner. 2016. Was ist Populismus? Ein Essay. Berlin: Suhrkamp. Pates, Rebecca. 2013. ‘Einleitung – Der “Ossi” als symbolischer Ausländer’. In Der ‘Ossi’, edited by Rebecca Pates and Maximilian Schochow, 7–20. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien. (doi:10.1007/978-3-531-94120-2_1 (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Raether, Elisabeth. 2016. ‘Demokratie: Was macht die Autoritären so stark? Unsere Arroganz’. Die Zeit 23 August 2016 (www.zeit.de/2016/33/ demokratie-klassenduenkel-rassismus-populismus (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Rancière, Jacques. 2000. Le Partage du sensible: Esthétique et politique. Paris: La Fabrique. ———. 2002. Das Unvernehmen: Politik und Philosophie. Edited by Richard Steurer. 1st ed. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. Reents, Edo. 2015. ‘Präsident von Dunkeldeutschland’. Frankfurter Allgemeine 28 August 2015 (www.faz.net/aktuell/feuilleton/debatten/ bundespraesident-gauck-psychologisiert-mit-einem-bild-von-dunkel deutschland-13772026.html (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Robinson, Jennifer. 2002. ‘Global and World Cities: A View From Off the Map’. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 26.3: 531–54. (doi:10.1111/1468–2427.00397). ———. 2006. Ordinary Cities: Between Modernity and Development. London: Routledge. Roy, Ananya. 2009. ‘The 21st-Century Metropolis: New Geographies of Theory’. Regional Studies 43.6: 819–30. (doi:10.1080/00343400701809665).

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Sächsischer Landtag: Der Sächsische Ausländerbeauftragte. 2015. ‘Jahresbericht 2014. 5. Legislaturperiode’. Dresden (https://sab.landtag.sachsen.de/ dokumente/sab/SABJahresberichtbarrierefrei.pdf (last date of access 20 September 2016)). Sharlet, Jeff. 2016. ‘Donald Trump, American Preacher’. The New York Times 12 April 2016 (www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/magazine/donald-trumpamerican-preacher.html (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Simone, AbdouMaliq. 2016. ‘Urbanity and Generic Blackness’. Theory, Culture & Society (March): 1–21. (doi:10.1177/0263276416636203). Statistisches Bundesamt. 2016. ‘Bevölkerung und Erwerbstätigkeit. Bevölkerung mit Migrationshintergrund. Ergebnisse des Mikrozensus 2015’ (www.destatis.de/DE/Publikationen/Thematisch/Bevoelkerung/ MigrationIntegration/Migrationshintergrund.html (last date of access 19 September 2016)). Thrift, Nigel. 2004. ‘Movement-Space: The Changing Domain of Thinking Resulting From the Development of New Kinds of Spatial Awareness’. Economy and Society 33.4: 582–604. (doi:10.1080/0308514042000285305). ———. 2014. ‘The “Sentient” City and What It May Portend’. Big Data & Society 1.1: 1–21. (doi:10.1177/2053951714532241). Valverde, Mariana. 2003. Law’s Dream of a Common Knowledge. Princeton, Oxford: Princeton University Press. ———. 2017. ‘The Forensic Roots of Modern Science and Law’. In Michel Foucault, 139–64. London: Routledge.

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13 ENTANGLEMENTS AND DISPERSALS Occidental power and the vicissitudes of displacement Sudeep Dasgupta

I suggest . . . we see peoples on the move at least partly as sleepwalkers, trundling through each other’s dark night. —Jacqueline Rose, The Last Resistance (2013, 45) Culture is the precaution of those who claim to think thought but who steer clear of its chaotic journey . . . thought in reality spaces itself out into the world. —Édouard Glissant, The Poetics of Relation (1997, 1)

The twin-term ‘North and South’ stabilizes the meaning of movement within frames such as tradition and modernity, barbarism and civilization, strife and safety, suffering and flourishing. These framed meanings emerge as the effect of the abstraction of social time and space into functionally separated spaces (such as territory) and consecutively arranged temporalities (clock time). And this abstraction is both necessary, and necessarily contestable. On the one hand, locative terms like North and South help organize one’s comprehension of the welter of movements produced by the displacements of peoples. But the understanding derived from this comprehension threatens to simplify the lived complexity of both processes of displacement and the embodied experiences of those who are forced into it. Jacqueline Rose acknowledges this temptation while suggesting a less confident and more respectful mode of approaching the complexities

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of displacement and its psychic consequences for those undergoing it. She describes displacement less as a goal-oriented conscious movement and more as a wandering and an intersecting with and into each other. Rose reframes displacement from an individual body’s movement from one identifiable location to another, to produce a relational understanding of movement whose meaning is compromised by the psychic opacities of those who embody it. Occidental power’s structuring of East–West relationality in terms of North and South directionality must be undermined by acknowledging the dialectic of this power, which generates erratic wanderings, divided identities and partly opaque subjectivities. Entanglement and dispersals, I argue, are the motor of the hidden dialectic integral to power’s dynamic cartography. This integral dynamic of Occidental power is captured in the tension described by Giacomo Marramao (2012) between ‘violence and perimeter, vitality and geometry, energetics and topology’ (106). Cities increasingly occupy a zone of contention within the topology through which contemporary movements between North and South are framed. They are often identified as stable locations at one end of a narrative leading from one point to another, that of the tradition–modernity divide for example. Cities, I argue, emerge as the effect of active bodies whose displacement continually redraws the cartography that urban settlements are meant to stabilize. Secondly, these continually redrawn cartographies are the effect of specific entanglements and dispersals of peoples’ relational encounters with each other, and accordingly also those of people. Entanglements and dispersals form the dialectic of Occidental Power, which transforms cities from stable locations into contingent moments of spatial disorientation. Cities are not the locations from which displacements can be mapped. Rather, the meanings of cities emerge from the dialectic of entanglements and dispersals produced by displacements. Such an understanding of displacement rebounds back on thinking it under contemporary globalization. As Glissant warns, ‘culture’ is often used as the discursive matrix through which space, and by implication movement, is stabilized. But culture’s journey is chaotic. Crucially, when thought encounters culture, thinking is forced out of itself, into the world, where thought must space itself out into a reality drawn by culture’s erratic trajectories. Thinking the meaning of movement must extend into the reality of the uneven spaces connected and dispersed by processes of displacement. The place of cities in thinking the North and South gets re-oriented by tracking the deployment of culture in political discourses and literary

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productions. This reorientation emerges precisely through the dialectic of entanglements and dispersals that relational encounters between bodies in movement produce. The maps produced by the two examples analyzed below slip off the surface of the earth stabilized by the cartography of North and South. In the first, a culturalist discourse of belonging displaces the privileging of the city as the destination point from South to North. The chaotic journey of culture moves below the city and away from the nation-state. The ‘passage to the West’ (Marramao 2012) produced by the displacements of this culturalist discourse is embodied in the figure of the asylum-seeker. This figure’s spatial relation to a community is at some distance from the city, where ‘culture’ is purportedly located and stabilized through transnational political processes. The second analysis focuses on a literary text which produces multiple figurations of the city. More importantly, the geographical location of cities is displaced here by the histories borne by bodies in movement. The experience of reading produces a relational encounter between bodies from different cities even though the figures in or of displacement never meet in a city. They meet in the Mediterranean, which brings them together for us as readers, outlining the power of culture to space thought out across a reality marked by conflictual histories and geographies. The sea functions as an imaginary junction where histories and geographies in different cities meet in a literary encounter whose reading confounds the categories of North and South.

Political stabilizations, cultural displacements and the city Zygmunt Bauman describes countervailing tendencies sited in the city which threaten to split it apart. He terms these pressures ‘mixophilia’ and ‘mixophobia’ (2003, 27): the city as the place of unpredictable and novel encounters with strangers and the city as the site of segregationary urban planning. Political initiatives seek to manage the logic by which mixtures are produced by displaced populations and in the casting apart of the resident insider from the newly arrived outsider, an attempt is made to stabilize the meaning of the city by policies of urban planning. Culture is seen as a crucial dimension of this stabilization process. The Hague Process on Refugees and Migration is one example of the attempt to stabilize the position of cities in the wake of migration. The insider/outsider distinction is crucial to this attempt, as developed in the initiative ‘Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities’. The report on the city of Rotterdam states ‘[I]t has been observed that newly arrived

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migrants tend to settle close to fellow countrymen in the city, which does not contribute to lessening the segregation status of different communities’ (Juzwiak 2014, 7). Different communities are assumed as demographic categories based on origin rather than empirically analyzed as effects of displacement, and the physical proximity of culturally similar groups and individuals is identified as the cause of segregation. The newly arrived outsider’s desire to be close to those already settled from his or her community threatens to produce a city spatially divided along cultural lines of identity-consolidation. The resident insider, the settled outsider and the newly arrived migrant form three axes along which the city’s topology is constructed. These three assumptions however need to be interrogated because they presume a theory of culture, a logic of identity and a topology of segregation that are all questionable. Firstly, the already existing exchange between settled migrant communities and resident insiders of a city must be ignored in the theory of culture that undergirds fears of segregation. The city is already assumed to be divided by non-exchange and isolation prior to the arrival of new migrants. Physical location, however, is no guarantee of the readability of cultural belonging. The most obvious example would be media use, where the meaning of location is disoriented by complex transnational cultural exchanges. Asu Aksoy and Kevin Robbins (2000) have shown how the media use of settled Turkish diasporic communities in Europe produce multiple connections with ‘the homeland’ (Turkey), the local/neighbourhood population and the national place of settlement. Fears of segregation when newly arrived migrants settle close to settled diasporic communities assume the latter are mono-cultural and homogenously distinct from non-migrant city residents. Mixophobia is ascribed to the migrant (settled and newcomer), while mixophilia is assumed as a political goal. Rather than a ‘chaotic’ culture (Glissant) of multiple urban relationalities in transformation, the city is segregated by the political discourse which fears such cultural chaos. That migrant bodies might bear identities marked by continual transformation, not least during the processes of migration itself, is discounted by the assumptions which mark the fear of segregation. The consequent equation of homogenous identity with specific location in the city constructs the city as the effect of migrant bodies bearing stable identities. The relational dimensions of humanitarian assistance and shared suffering in the transitory sites of Lesbos and Idomeni in Greece, or Izmir in Turkey, for example, produce transformative encounters where identities are being continually transformed. Entanglements during journeys transform those being dispersed, and these locations between ‘global’ cities produce crucial cultural transformations in the lives of those displaced. When the 82-year-old Greek resident of Idomeni, Panayiota Vasileiadou, offered 240

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shelter in her home to refugees fleeing both war-torn Iraq and repeated attacks by Macedonian police at the border, Idomeni, Greece and Iraq were brought into relation by bodies with similar histories which spanned multiple times and spaces. Vasileiadou’s childhood experience of bombing and devastation in the World War II and the refugees’ experience of civil war in Iraq produced a bond through which Greece can become embodied in her. As one refugee, Baraa, said, ‘she represents the Greek people and what Greece stands for’ (Ramgobin 2016). Numerous private initiatives of individuals and organizations travelling to and working with refugees along the Greek and Italian coast, as well as the detention centres themselves, where people from very disparate backgrounds are forced together, produce not just conflict but also exchange, transformation and modes of being together. The Hague Process rightly centralizes the role of ‘culture’ in addressing fears of segregation in global cities, with the Lisbon report, for example, highlighting culture as the second most important dimension of the social policies pursued by ‘stakeholders’ (i.e., private initiatives and the local government) in the city. But it needs to acknowledge that cultural transformation often occurs in the seemingly liminal locations of culture’s own chaotic journeys borne by refugees and migrants prior to their arrival in global cities, in the detention centres, refugee camps and the relations of trust established between caregivers and displaced persons. Such an acknowledgement would help imagine the reality of the global city a migrant arrives in far more accurately than the spatial model of segregated zones and fixed identities. The topology of the city can accordingly be redrawn. Instead of zones of cultural difference marked by borders preventing exchange, the city can be mapped as a series of relational spaces where bodies bear identities whose transformations began long before their arrival there. The cultural transformations precipitated by acknowledging these dimensions of migration destabilize the meaning of the city as a steady location whose topology political initiatives such as ‘Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities’ seek to settle. In a recent essay, Saskia Sassen captures the instability around the meaning of the global city, arguing that ‘where the historic frontier was in the far stretches of colonial empires, today’s frontier zone is in our large cities’. ‘The large complex city’, Sassen contends, ‘is a new frontier zone. Actors from different worlds meet there, but there are no clear rules of engagement’ because ‘the disadvantaged and excluded can gain presence in such cities . . . vis-à-vis power . . . and each other’, thus signalling ‘a new type of politics, centred in new types of political actors’. This instance is one she characterizes with the concept of ‘urban capabilities’. The city then becomes a hybrid base from which to act ‘in the making of an informal politics’ (2012, 226). 241

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The city, then, is not the locus for a certain type of person, the citizen who is resident within it and confronted by the outsider from the South. Rather, it is the hybrid zone where capacities for action are exercised by and between bodies whose presence is performed through forms of politics characterized by informality. This way of understanding the city helps undermine the political discourse of the city as a fort to be protected from the incursions of barbarians, or as a space divided into segregated zones of non-engagement and enmity. It also underlines the forms of alliances between groups in civil society who open up channels of aid, dialogue and exchange with the purported outsider. Although Sassen focuses on big cities, given that in many European countries the state explicitly seeks to receive and ‘process’ refugees outside big urban centres, these new informal politics of presence are not limited to global cities. As the example below will show, the neighbourhood, the community, the local organization such as the football club, and the village in a region, are also spaces where informal politics take place in hybrid frontier zones. An understanding of the city as one of the markers of modernity, as the result of the transformation from Gemeinschaft to Gesellschaft, from organic community to anonymous urban collectivity, is being interestingly undone, particularly in the wake of recent controversies surrounding migration, refugees and asylum-seekers. The cultural integration of displaced peoples is being focused upon primarily in big cities. The city’s modernity is precisely what fleshes out the meaning of the term ‘North’ when North/South distinctions are mapped onto the modernity/tradition divide. But what happens when the discourse of cultural belonging of a displaced person is not located in the city of the ‘North’, with its attendant connotations of modernity? Acknowledging the resurgence of a discourse of culture and community complicates the privileged role of the city as location of cultural assimilation, while also exposing the ambivalent consequences of the subnational and non-urban discourse of cultural belonging. In May 2011, Manuel Mauro, who had arrived in the Netherlands as a minor nine years before from Angola, had his appeal against deportation turned down by the Council of State. He was marked out for deportation within six weeks. He had been taken in as a child by a family living in the small village of Budel in the southern Dutch province of Limburg, where he lived for those nine years. The public outcry generated from the village community, including his school, neighbours, family and community, led to questions in parliament, and sharp criticism of the Immigration Minister. It was mainly community activism that led to the public visibility of Mauro’s case. Grassroots activists, his Dutch family, neighbours, school friends, and those from the village in Limburg where he grew up formed the focal point of TV interviews, press coverage and political debate. The community of 242

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support, characterized by its sheer ‘normalcy’, formed a very local network, which expanded, via the forms of activism more standardly organized in urban centres, to a national level. This normalcy of the community was identified by its local specificity, that is, its particular location in the south of the country, away from the big city with its connotations of cosmopolitanism and cultural mixture. In the Dutch context, Limburg is often seen as possessing its own very specific, if somewhat traditional (and backward, some critics claim) culture. In a widely publicized letter addressed to Minister Leers on 26 June 2011, Mauro emphasized his Limburg roots rather than a more general, and potentially vague notion of Dutch belonging. He asserted this by stating that he would never lose his Limburg accent. While not denying the influence of his childhood past in Angola, Mauro argued that his new Limburg roots, his very local accent, his everyday activities in the community and his self-described ‘Western’ upbringing would make his removal to Angola a violent uprooting. In the wake of a now national campaign of protest, Leers granted him a student visa, while claiming initially in an interview that making an exception for him would send a wrong signal to other potential Mauros, ‘however well-mannered and perfect’ this one was. In the controversial interview of 30 June 2011 on the TV show, ‘Hart van Nederland’ (‘Heart of the Netherlands’), Leers claimed that careful consideration of individual cases was needed however ‘pleasant a young man might be or pleasing a girl might look’! One of the first paradoxes thrown up by this case, if framed within the axis of North and South, revolves around the fear of segregation expressed by The Hague Process. As a model of successful integration, the passage to the West through the language of North and South was embodied in the case of Mauro. Yet, both integration into the local community through social activities and linguistic proficiency clearly proved insufficient for the state. The legal dimensions of political decision-making and the cultural discourse of local belonging did not coincide. A second paradox emerges out of the implied emphasis on the city as the location for successful integration of the migrant into the national culture. Yet, precisely the provincial, and specifically local dialect through which Mauro embodied his cultural location, proved most compelling in the public campaign against his proposed deportation. The discursive stabilization of Mauro’s identity emerged from the provincial culture of local community rather than an urban-located integration of the migrant in a global city. The local community effectively split open the space between nation and state by inserting culture as the mediating term. This cultural mediation of national belonging displaced both the location of the city as the site of integration and the power of the state to adjudicate between insider and outsider. Mauro’s trajectory from Angola to Limburg entangled him successfully into a cultural 243

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discourse which saved him from being displaced once again. Further, this entanglement dispersed the power of the state to decide on questions of belonging in a downward direction toward the local community and the provincial village. In this way, the stability of location is dislocated and reverberates dissonantly from a small community in Limburg across the map of Europe. At a later point, the Council of State took the position that those deemed ‘sufficiently Westernized’ (verwestersing) could not be deported to Somalia (Raad van State 2012). The statement emerged in a judgement against Minister Leers’ deportation order against a young Somalian woman, whom the Council deemed now too Westernized to fit into a Somalia where the Islamic Al Shabab group was in control. From the more amorphous discourse of accented language, provincial roots and community embeddedness in Mauro’s case, to that of the Somalian woman deemed ‘Westernized’ enough to be granted the right to stay in the Netherlands, a hegemonic understanding of ‘culture’ was established. In other words, even while these cases opened up the nation, and with it the cultural signifier ‘Europe’, to contestation between the state and civil society, the discourse of culture went on to stabilize this dissonance through the term ‘Westernization’. The implication of course, is that if the outsider has proven his or her membership of a culture through Westernization, she is protected from forced expulsion. The discourse of successful Westernization shuts down an understanding of the migrant as ‘a figure of ambiguity’ (Guha 1998, 159). This ambiguity stems from the peculiar temporality of the moment of arrival of the migrant, which in today’s Europe is being cast as a moment of crisis. Guha argues that the migrant finds himself in a temporal dilemma. He must win recognition from his fellows in the host community by participating in the now of their everyday life. But such participation is made difficult by the fact that whatever is anticipatory and futural about it is liable to make him appear as an alien (that is maladjusted and foreign), and whatever is past will perhaps be mistaken for nostalgia. (1998, 159) It is this ambiguity which is shut down by the conferral of a designation such as ‘successfully Westernized’ following the lines of a South–North trajectory. When these trajectories of movement of the migrant are plotted in terms of cultural teleologies, the lived complexity of rootedness and alienation is lost. Forced migration is embodied partly in those ‘sleepwalkers’ whose identities are not completely comprehensible to themselves, 244

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and even less to others. It is precisely here where Rose’s reminder gains particular pertinence, for those who cannot be slotted into categories like ‘successfully Westernized’, and will be excluded from protection by nation-states. The Hague Process constructs a topology of the city marked by zones of separation that denies the productive modes of entanglement which mark most experiences of migration. The experience of dispersal, furthermore, is marked by exchanges and transformations where entanglements take place in medias res, in the places between the terminal points of North and South through which migration is often plotted in non-linear ways. The Mauro case produces a gap between culture and nation-state by articulating cultural belonging outside the city and below the nation-state in the language of culture and community. This non-city based form of entanglement powerfully challenges the modern idea of culture as an urban phenomenon. However, precisely by deploying the culturalist discourse of successful Westernization, it reinstalls a notion of North and South, even as it displaces the city as the terminal point of North–South movement. The analyses in the next section shift the focus from political and legal discourses to a literary narrativization of displacement that confounds the distinctions of North and South, while dissecting and dispersing the city as the site of unproblematic cultural belonging.

Multiple cities and split subjects History is a millipede with every foot pulling in a different direction, and our body is in the middle. Margaret Mazzantini, Morning Sea (2016, 100)

In 2011, Margaret Mazzantini’s Mare al mattino (Morning Sea) was published in the midst of waves of migrants arriving on boats and washing up dead on the southern shores of Europe. The 2016 English translation appeared in similar circumstances, though the frontiers of both survival and death had in the meantime shifted somewhat East and South to the shores of Greece. The northern shores of Africa and the southern shores of Europe, with the Mediterranean in between, frame the geography of Morning Sea. But the histories borne by the bodies which crisscross this space pull in directions which confound understandings of North and South. More importantly, the bodies write multiple cities into existence, which, like the body of the millipede, are torn centrifugally by histories which disorient the cartography that seeks to stabilize them. The cities that emerge in this geography encircling the Mediterranean are continually reframed, split 245

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from within and connected to other spaces as a result of the complex histories borne by the protagonists on either side of the sea. Unlike the original Italian title, the English translation phonetically conjures up a relation between the sea and death, journeys and drowning, identity and mourning. The morning sea is the space of mourning because history and geography fail to coincide. This failure is fatal for the characters in the novel, but it is also the precondition for a series of productive re-evaluations of the spatial coordinates for survival in displacement. The cities from which the displaced bodies are pulled in different directions get displaced in turn when geography is torn apart by history. Two pairs of mothers and sons, on either side of the Mediterranean in Libya and Italy, structure the three-chaptered novel. ‘Farid and the Gazelle’ opens the literary triptych, as the past and present of a Bedouin family in Libya forced into displacement is outlined through the figures of a young woman, Jamila, and her son Farid. The large central section of the novel, ‘The Colour of Silence’, tracks back and forth in time as the story of Angelina and Vito crosses back and forth across the Mediterranean between Libya and Italy. ‘Morning Sea’, the last panel, brings the mother–son pairings together for us the readers, though the sea will fatally close off any encounters for them. The stories of the characters are entangled through continual processes of travel and displacement, an entanglement produced through a figuration of the displacement of cities by embodied histories pulled in different directions. This dialectic of entanglements and dispersals however, remains a reading experience only, for the characters ‘walk into each other’s nights’ unbeknownst to each other. Jamila, her husband Omar and Farid live in a city that is ‘not a real city. It’s an aggregation of lives’ (Morning Sea 18). Their Bedouin past, in which they ‘possessed nothing, only footprints, which the sand covered over’ (Morning Sea 16), calls into question the meaning of displacement. A life of wandering for the nomads in the Sahara is a mode of inhabiting the world rather than an experience of displacement. Place does not mean a fixed location, the oasis or the city, but the trails marked temporarily by their footprints in the sand. The city is then already slightly unreal for the Bedouin, and, once forced on the family, it is lived through the arithmetic logic of aggregated lives. If this is a city of the South, Mazzantini constructs it already as a temporary end point for a far from sedentary people, rather than a starting point to the North. This unnamed city, built by foreign architects with cement and sprouting aerials, is constructed according to the master-plan of another Bedouin, Colonel Gaddafi. The present of this now-settled family, however, bears the scars of a colonial past of forced displacement across the Mediterranean, an expulsion which will prefigure the desperate journey of Farid and Jamila. The 246

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vicissitudes of colonial history have already dispersed the family across a geography which spans North and South. Omar’s grandfather, Rashid, ‘had already made the journey at the beginning of the last century, when the Italians burnt villages and chased the Bedouins from the oases’ before being ‘put onto a ship and sent into exile on a chain of islands with the name Tremiti’ (Morning Sea 43). The history of colonialism had already torn the family-body apart before it had settled into the unreal city, fatally dispersing its members beyond the northern shores. In a dynamic of entanglement and dispersal carried into the postcolonial context marked by 11 September 2001, and the Libyan revolution which overthrows Gaddafi, the geographical coordinates of the family’s location shifts from desert to oasis to city to the shores of the sea. As the Colonel’s star rises and falls according to the mercenary logic of Occidental realpolitik (the US-led war against Al Qaeeda and oil exports to Europe), the geopolitics of North and South are undone and borne by the bodies of Jamila and Farid. Omar is killed when he refuses to join the rebels that invade the family’s unreal city, and Jamila and Farid flee across the desert with a motley group of fellow Africans toward a sea neither has ever seen before. As they cross the desert ‘they see heads sunken into the sand and devoured by the heat. . . . They are all black Africans . . . migrants from Mali, Ghana, Niger, abandoned in the desert after the colonel struck a deal with the Europeans to block the flow of desperate illegal immigrants’ (Morning Sea 31–2). Although different from the example in Idomeni, the sight of this ‘open-air cemetery’ (Morning Sea 31) is an experiential encounter in media res which conjoins North and South, this time in the South, undoing in the process any attribution of safety to the North and despair to the South. North and South are implicated in the sea of sand which testifies to this frontier zone which makes nonsense of narratives of movement from suffering to safety, South to North. Gaddafi’s agreement with Europe visits death upon those who seek to cross the desert, displacing the frontier between North and South deeper into the South, a process since repeated by the European agreement with Turkey. The dead bodies of black Africans and the stillalive bodies of Farid and Jamila expose the tenuousness with which the line between North and South is drawn. The passage to the North from an unreal city devastated by a post/colonial history brings mother and son to a sea which is both promise and threat. As a medium for transportation to potential safety and freedom, the water they must sail on also harbours the threat of drowning, a fear magnified by a family history which knows how to read the sand but cannot navigate water. The novel’s second section takes the reader to the shore on the other side, where the teenage Vito observes the sea in which his mother Angelina 247

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now refuses to swim. The Mediterranean links the unnamed Italian village near Catania to Libya, and to Tripoli, Angelina’s birthplace. Among other things, Angelina is a Tripolina, a term which writes the city onto her body. Tripoli has marked her senses; for the sights, smells and tastes of her childhood when she ‘had been Arab for eleven years’ (Morning Sea 81) condition her Italian present and bleed into her son Vito’s consciousness. His name too bears a history with a displaced geography, that of an uncle buried in the soil of Tripoli while just a newly born. For the reader (at this point at least), Farid and Jamila are still in that compromised place, neither North nor South. Vito and Angelina, however, have a past and undergo a present where the psycho-corporeal mal d’afrique (Morning Sea 109) from which his mother suffers will propel them back and forth across the sea. Their names, their bodies and their histories will inscribe and re-inscribe the space between Italy, the sea and Tripoli. The Italian Catania remains ghostly, but the city of Tripoli emerges and re-emerges through the trajectories marked by the bodies of Angelina, her dead brother Vito, and her parents Nonna Santa and Nonno Antonio. ‘Angelina knows what it means to start over. To turn and see nothing but the sea’ (Morning Sea 81). This Taliani is, however, a stranger to the territory of Italy. Her parents, shipped off from Genoa to cultivate and populate the Fascist Fourth Shore of Mussolini’s Italy, crossed the sea that she must now cross in the opposite direction. ‘There’s something about the place where one is born. Not everyone knows it. The ones who know it are those who are torn away by force. . . . For a time, Angelina no longer knew who she was. Someone gave her a label: Tripolina. A Tripolina from Tripoli’ (Morning Sea 81–2). Nonna Santa’s figuration of history as a millipede sketches a geography whose centrifugal force splits the body of this family between the agricultural fields of colonial Libya, the postcolonial Tripoli of her daughter Angelina, the refugee camps in Italy after their expulsion from Libya and the village on the Italian shore from which Vito surveys the sea. The unreality of the city that Farid, Jamila and Omar settle in is conjoined for the reader of the novel with the intimate and familiar reality of Tripoli embodied in the Tripolina, Angelina. The Fascist colonization of Tripoli is the context in which Angelina’s poverty-stricken parents from Genoa construct a life and Angelina is born and grows up. Vito recalls his mother recounting their expulsion, their ‘Arab life snatched away from them, the beach with the sulphur pools, the mulberry tree at Sciara Derna, the Roma Elementary School, their life-long friends’ (Morning Sea 68), including her childhood friend, Alí. History’s legs pull in different directions. Colonial settlement and the wiping out of Bedouin villages, the quotidian joys of childhood, the massacre of the Jews, including her classmates, after the Six Day War, the forced expulsion and 248

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painful separation from her Arab friends – all of these historical events get embodied in Angelina through her city. Tripoli was simply her city. The songs of the muezzin punctuated her days. She knew she was foreign. Taliana. Her origins were something extra, an additional resource. . . . Her life was here, between the Arch of Marcus Aurelius and the mulberry tree. (Morning Sea 60) What kind of simplicity can a city have, and what identity does it embody, when the origins from elsewhere which add something extra will precipitate brutal expulsion? Simplicity nestles within it a complexity which opens a gap between an Imperial Roman monument and a mulberry tree. But the arithmetic logic of addition which constructs Angelina’s identity as both Tripolina and Taliana will also divide it twice over, on her body. Her speaking body is confronted by exclusion at school after she and her parents are forced to exile into a refugee camp across the sea in Italy. The ‘ornate Italian they taught at the Italian School in Tripoli’ (Morning Sea 91) separates her from her new classmates in Sicily whose dialect she is unable to speak, and for whom she ‘smells like a camel’. Later, breast cancer brings her body under the surgeon’s knife, a literal excision which will haunt her son Vito’s apprehension of her changing identity. When Vito, Angelina and Nonna Santa return to Tripoli together, he describes it thus: ‘She’s performed a biopsy of the city. She’s analyzed the unpleasant things that have replaced the beautiful missing things, and now she’s enjoying the mutilation. Like when she recovered from cancer’ (Morning Sea 110, emphasis added). Angelina’s embodiment of a literal and metaphorical mutilation writes the city of Tripoli out of a spatial stabilization in the North or the South. This is precisely where the city is not a location, but an inscription by bodies marked by trajectories generated by entanglements and dispersals. ‘For a time’ (Morning Sea 82) Angelina did not know who she was. When she placed herself between the mulberry tree and the arch of Marcus Aurelius as a child, she did not know of the massacres of Bedouins by the colonial Italian army, which she will only encounter through her reading of Italian history after her displacement to Italy. This entanglement through the reading of history will deform the nostalgia through which she had framed her displacement from Tripoli till now. That is why she enjoys her mutilation, masochistically dismembering and analyzing the body of the city she once loved. Nostalgia for a lost home cannot overcome the guilt of learning what her origins historically perpetrated on those she had known as friends. Tripolina and Taliana were not additions to her present identity; they were divisions produced by histories pulling in different directions. 249

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The surgically mutilated cancerous body rewrites the city of childhood into a dissected space of conflicting temporalities. Location is not stable: it is the point of turning. If the meaning made of movement is constructed by stabilizing spaces, then thinking city spaces as turning points is one way of resisting hegemonic constructions of movement. This dissonant harmony located in the North derives from the violence Europe visits through colonialism elsewhere. History and geography fissure the wholeness of territory. Mazzantini rewrites European history from the embodied perspective of experiences in a post/colonial city, reorienting the distinctions between North and South, while forging a relational entanglement of spaces for the reader. The novel situates the reader in a position from which a binocular perspective of Europe, that of the Libya of Farid/Jamila and of Vito/Angelina, produce a diffracted image of the North. In the wake of the current refugee crisis, Europe’s long history of generating refugees on its own territory has been deployed to counter xenophobia. Mazzantini’s figuration of Libya through the unnamed and unreal city (Farid and Jamila), and the malignant history of a historically biopsied Tripoli re-orient the critique of xenophobia from a postcolonial perspective. In the process, the trajectory of displacements across the Mediterranean confounds any easy identification of North–South coordinates, and the meanings ascribed to them. The sea is the space where culture’s chaotic journeys (Glissant) precipitate the process of thought unthinking itself outside a cartography of North and South, to space itself out into a reality where it must confront cities and bodies divided from within. The split city of Tripoli and the divided identity of Angelina turn Mare Nostrum into a watery grave. For now, in the wake of the bodies, both alive and dead, arriving on the shores of Italy, she is unable to swim in the sea she loved. In the last short section of the novel, Farid will die on the boat in Jamila’s arms. The boat will sink, taking Jamila down with it. The two mother–son pairings will never meet, though the story of despair and death will bring them together in the little leather pouch Vito finds among other debris that washes ashore. He will tack it to the wall of the house, where Angelina recognizes it: ‘She knows it’s a charm, the kind mothers in the Sahara prepare at night beneath the watchful eyes of the stars and put around their children’s necks to ward away the evil eyes of death’ (Morning Sea 140). The charm fails, for both Jamila, who made it, and the son it was meant to protect, die. Farida’s and Jamil’s journey to the sea began well before they set off from a city whose unreality for them emerges from the history of their Bedouin existence. The city in Libya was a transit point rather than an origin. Moreover, even before they reach the sea they hope to cross, in the vast sea of 250

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sand they must cross, they encounter the corpses of black Africans who eloquently testify in their silence to the bankruptcy of separating North and South by territory. Through Angelina’s recountings, Vito will carry forward, in his name and her history, the geography of exile and the memory of belonging, which too confounds a logic of North–South directionality. From Tripolina to Taliana, Arab to Italian, girl to woman, Angelina writes with her body a city which cannot be located along a North–South axis. The power of the novel lies in the conjunctions it produces for the readers who follow the trajectories of characters that never meet. For those trajectories, chaotically criss-crossing the Mediterranean, produce a comparative understanding of the meaning of displacement and the compromised meaning of location. Written by bodies on the move, the unreal city and the biopsied city disorient any cartography of North and South. Two occasions of entanglements and dispersals trace trajectories of movement which call into question the place of the city. The Hague Process’s political and cultural discourse of migration and refugee resettlement constructs the city as a space divided into zones of homogenous closed identities. The fear of segregation assumes an insider/outsider figuration of cultural belonging by ignoring the meaning-making experiences that many migrants in contemporary Europe undergo, while still on their journeys to the cities in which they hope to settle. The city emerges as the effect of the capacities and cross-cultural experiences gathered during processes of displacement rather than as the location fixed on one side of the divide between North and South, and modernity and tradition. The chaotic journey of culture in the case of Manuel Mauro ends not in the city, but in the provincial community which articulates its resistance to state power in the language of culture, community and locality. Culture emerges as an entanglement below the nation-state and away from the city, between an already dispersed individual and a community of which he has become part. The unruliness of culture, however, manifests itself by turning the protective discourse of belonging into an exclusionary political discourse of ‘Westernization’, thus reorienting North/South distinctions, but potentially also reinstalling them once again outside the city. The Mauro case clearly exposes the limitations of ascribing a stable notion of cultural integration to the fixed location of a city. Paradoxically, it is the distance from the city rather than proximity to it which produced a cultural discourse of successful integration into ‘Northern’ culture. In this case, therefore, the non-urban location deranges the meaning ascribed to the city and this newly figured meaning becomes embodied in the person of the asylum-seeker Mauro as settled villager. In the second analysis, the historical complexities of colonial and postcolonial displacements are what make the city mean. Cities emerge as a result of the specificities of moving 251

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bodies, and the conflictual histories they bear. Bodies inscribe cities, rather than the other way around. Mazzantini’s Morning Sea produces a reading experience where a vortex of multiple colonial and postcolonial entanglements and dispersals fracture the city’s North/South orientation. Occupying both positions simultaneously, while also disorienting them through the ebb and flow of history, cities become contingent locations through which bodies bearing conflicted histories trace out trajectories of continual displacement. In specific ways, both knot and loosen threads which weave another fabric that when draped over the surface of the planet reveals connected locations, divided cities and hitherto unseen trajectories.

References Aksoy, Asu and Kevin Robins. 2000. ‘Thinking Across Spaces: Transnational Television From Turkey’. European Journal of Cultural Studies 3.3: 343–65. Bauman, Zygmunt. 2003. City of Fears, City of Hopes. London: Goldsmiths College, University of London. Glissant, Édouard. 1997. Poetics of Relation. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. Guha, Ranajit. 1998. ‘The Migrant’s Time’. Postcolonial Studies 1.2: 155–60. Juzwiak, Teresa. 2014. Rotterdam: The Netherlands – A Case Study From: Migrant and Refugee Integration in Global Cities: The Role of Cities and Businesses. (http://thehagueprocess.org/wordpress/wpcontent/uploads/2014/05/ THP_Rotterdam.pdf (accessed 15 August 2015)). Marramao, Giacomo. 2012. The Passage to the West: Philosophy and Globalization. London: Verso. Mazzantini, Margaret. 2016. Morning Sea. London: Oneworld Publications. Raad van State. 2012. ‘Leers moet verwestersing Somaliërs bezien’ 31 July 2012 (www.raadvanstate.nl/pers/persberichten/tekst-persbericht.html?id=416 (accessed 15 August 2016)). Ramgobin, Ryan. 2016. ‘Greek Grandmother Welcomes Refugees Into Home in Idomeni’. The Independent 14 April 2016 (www.independent.co.uk/ news/world/europe/greek-grandmother-welcomes-refugees-into-homein-idomeni-a6984496.html (accessed 15 August 2016)). Rose, Jacqueline. 2013. The Last Resistance. London, New York: Verso. Sassen, Saskia. 2012. ‘Urban Capabilities: Crafted Out of Challenges Larger Than Our Differences’. In The State of Things, edited by Marta Kuzma, Pablo Lafuente and Peter Osborne, 223–47. London: Koenig Books.

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Achebe, Chinua 65, 66, 68, 82, 85n Adorno, Theodor 128 AfD (Alternative For Germany) 226 – 8,  231 affect 54 – 5, 105, 109, 127, 144, 158n, 172 – 4, 210; ‘affective presencing’ 17, 219 – 20, 224 – 6; affective technology 148 – 51; biopolitics of 154 – 7 Ahmed, Sara 10 – 12 Althusser, Louis 156 Anatsui, El 43 – 4, 45 Angola 13, 18, 65 – 85, 242, 243; Luanda 18, 65 – 86 apartheid 47, 49, 51, 54, 69; analogy in District 9 47 asylum–seekers 18, 239, 242, 251 attachment 1, 5, 8, 15, 144, 150, 152 – 3, 156, 157; see also ‘tachment’ Augé, Marc 5 Bakhtin, Mikhail 100, 101n Balzac, Honoré de 126, 127, 162 Banerjee, Mamata 132 Baudelaire, Charles 162, 163 Baudrillard, Jean 148 Bauman, Zygmunt 87 – 8, 91, 202, 239 Belgium 172; Brussels 162, 169, 170, 172, 176 Benjamin, Walter 3 – 4, 5, 8, 14, 20n, 91, 169, 170; The Arcades Project 3; ‘Hashish in Marseilles’ 4; One Way Street 3

Biko, Steve 51 Bildung 128, 130, 137, 138 Blanchot, Maurice 192 Blomkamp, Neill (District 9) 13, 46, 47 – 9 Bolaño, Robert 132, 133, 137, 138; 2666 143; The Savage Detectives 15, 126 – 30 borders (geographical) 15 – 16, 18, 19, 184, 195n, 218, 221, 241; German open border policy 210; Mexican-American 15, 19, 141 – 3, 146, 149, 151 – 3, 157, 158n Borges, Jorge Luis 129, 170 Brazil 14, 77; Rio de Janeiro 9, 14, 18, 87 – 100 Brexit 210 Buarque, Chico 91 Buñuel, Luis 145, 146 Calvino, Italo 4, 5, 20n Chambers, Ross 193 Chaudhuri, Amit 15, 126, 128, 131 – 8 Chauke, Harriet 57 Coetzee, J. M. 47, 163, 168, 170; Elizabeth Costello 20n Cold War 66 – 83; ‘Cold War debris’ 13 – 14, 68 – 9, 74 – 6 Cole, Teju 16; Every Day is for the Thief 162; Open City 16, 162 – 77 colonialism 4, 5, 20n, 23, 110 – 11, 131, 161, 176, 191, 224, 250; British 177n, 110 – 11; French 17, 183 – 4, 193, 194n; in Angola

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13 66, 68, 74 – 5, 77, 80, 83; in Calcutta 137, 138; (Portuguese) in Goa 14, 104, 106 – 8, 111 – 14, 115, 117, 120n, 121n; in Libya 18, 246 – 52; in Mexico 129, 138; in Southern Africa 46, 53; see also postcolonialism Conrad, Joseph 128 Coutinho Powell, Melinda 188 Cronenberg, David (eXistenZ) 152 dandy 161 – 2, 163 – 78 De Almeida, Ndalu see ‘Ondjaki’ de Certeau, Michel 7 – 10, 163, 168 De Souza, Rodney 100, 117 Deleuze, Gilles 145, 170, 193; Deleuze and Guattari 2, 146, 182 Derrida, Jacques 135 detachment 11 – 13, 15, 18, 23 – 8, 142, 144, 150, 153, 155 – 7, 172, 225, see also ‘tachment’ development see urban development diaspora 106, 108, 163, 176, 177n, 178n Dickens, Charles 126 Dikeni, Sandile 13, 46, 48, 51 – 2, 54, 56, 59 – 60 disability 16, 181 – 97 displacement (of people) 2 – 3, 4, 14, 18, 161, 168, 237 – 42; in Angola 67, 70, 72, 80 – 1; in Goa 118; narrative of in Morning Sea 246 – 52; in Rio de Janeiro 98; see also migration, refugees Douglass, Frederick 163, 164 – 5 Eastern Europe 17, 75, 162, 221, see also Poland El Saadawi, Nawal 5, 6, 20n Enlightenment 6, 49, 134, 135; Enlightenment apartheid 46, 47 entanglement 11, 16, 18 – 19, 33, 69, 82, 237, 252 Equiano, Oladauh 163, 164 – 5, 168 – 9, 174,  177 European Union/E.U. 199 fakhman 8 Faucon, Philippe 185 favelas 43, 56, 87 – 101

flâneur 8, 16, 161 – 78 Flaubert, Gustave 163, 174 football 89, 94 – 5, 242 Foucault, Michel 99, 100n, 219, 220, 229, 231, 233n France 7, 105, 109, 111, 120n, 121n, 135, 161, 177n, 193, 221; Marseilles 3, 4; Paris 3, 7, 8, 9, 10, 16, 17, 19, 20n, 127, 161, 162, 172, 175, 181 – 194 Fraser, Craig (Shack Chic) 13, 44, 53, 54, 59 Fuentes, Carlos 142 Gaddafi, Muammar 246 – 7 Gamboa, Zézé (O Herói) 80 Gauck, Joachim 222 GDR (German Democratic Republic) 131, 218, 222, 227, 228 – 9 gentrification 14, 87 – 101 Germany 17, 94, 217 – 32; Berlin 2, 3, 4, 20n, 125, 205, 208, 209, 213n, 222; Dunkeldeutschland (Dark Germany) 220, 222 – 4, 232n; Dresden 17, 19, 217, 219, 221, 223 – 4, 226, 227, 229, 230; Erfurt 221, 226, 227, 231 – 2; Munich 205 – 9,  213n ghetto 52, 224 globalization 1, 7, 11, 12, 15, 19, 20n, 104, 127, 134, 238; in Paris 181 – 94; of US–Mexican border 143 – 4 Greece 240, 241, 245; ancient 229 Hague Process on Refugees and Migration 18, 239 – 40, 241, 243, 245, 251 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich 128 Hernandez, Daniel (Down and Delirious in Mexico City) 130 Hitler, Adolf 18, 220, 226 – 9, 231 Hoffmann, Lothar 217, 231 India 14, 104 – 21, 126, 131, 133, 135, 137, 138, 161, 170, 177, 194n; Bengal 131 – 5, 137; Delhi 14, 104, 105, 110, 112, 115, 121n, 134; Goa 14, 18, 103 – 21;

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Kolkata 15, 104, 125, 126, 131 – 9; Mumbai 105, 108, 109, 112, 118, 121n, 131, 134, 136; Pondicherry 105, 107, 110, 111, 116, 120n, 121n Indonesia 13, 28, 35; Jakarta 24, 27 – 30, 33 – 8; Kali Baru market 13, 33 – 6 intersectionality 17, 185 – 7, 191, 192, 194, 195n Islamophobia 219, 220, 226, 229, 231 – 2; see also Pegida Italy 91, 246, 248 – 50; Naples 3, 4, 91 Jameson, Fredric 146, 153 – 4 Joyce, James 126, 127 Kafka, Franz 2, 3, 5, 20n; ‘A Report to an Academy’ 20n; ‘Give it up!’ 1, 2, 19; ‘In the Penal Colony’ 3; ‘The Great Wall of China’ 3; ‘Jackals and Arabs’ 3, 20 Kenya 13, 46, 52, 55 Kòbòlò 8 Kohl, Helmut 218 Kolnai, Aurel 211 Kristeva, Julia 210 Lacis, Asja 4 Latour, Bruno 46, 57, 224, 225 Lawrence, D. H., 131, 135 Le Pen, Marine 221 Lefebvre, Henri 2, 25, 141, 195 Liberia 127 Libya 18, 246, 247, 248, 250; Tripoli 248 – 51 Lida, David 130 Lund, Kátia see Meirelles, Fernando and Kátia Lund macaroni 163; see also dandy Madikizela-Mandela, Winnie 60 Marx, Karl 57, 150, 152, 155, 219, 220, 227 – 8; Marxism 13, 66, 67, 147 Masłowska, Dorota 203 Mauro, Manuel 18, 242 – 5, 251 Mazzantini, Margaret (Morning Sea [Mare al mattino]) 18, 245 – 6, 250, 252

Mediterranean Sea 18, 239, 245, 246, 248, 250, 251 Menezes, Vivek 117 – 18 Merkel, Angela 218, 226, 227, 231 Mexico 15, 129, 141 – 57; as setting for The Savage Detectives 15, 126, 127 – 130, 138; border with US see borders; Ciudad Juárez 143, 151; independence from Spain 142; Maquiladoras 143 151, 157; Mexico City 94, 125, 126, 143, 148; Oaxaca 15, 147; Querétaro 143; Tijuana 15, 143 – 4, 148, 149, 151, 152, 153, 156 migration 7, 9, 11, 17, 18, 19, 35, 88, 193, 227, 231; ‘counter-migration’ (city to country) 14, 103 – 23; and the formation of cities 237 – 52; intra–EU migration 17 – 18, 199 – 215; South to North 7, 16, 141 – 59, 183; to USA 161 – 79; see also Hague Process, refugees modernity 3, 5, 6, 13, 19, 46, 47, 74, 237, 238, 242, 251; Afro-modernity 51; hypermodernity 136; modernism/ post-modernism 128, 129, 137, 153 – 4; urban modernity 2, 134, 145, 162, 164, 175 Müller, Heiner 131 Musseques see shanty–towns Mwangi, Meja (Going Down River Road) 46, 55 – 7 Nakache, Olivier and Éric Toledano (Intouchables [The Untouchables]) 181 – 97 Nancy, Jean-Luc 25 Nazareth, H. O. 103, 104, 119 neoliberalism 7, 12 – 13, 75, 178n, 202, 203; neoliberal globalization 15, 19, 24, 45, 137 Netherlands 18, 242 – 4; Limburg 243, 244; Rotterdam 239 Neto, Agostinho 66, 84n; Mausoleum of 66 – 9, 73 – 6, 84n, 85n Nietzsche, Friedrich 173

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INDEX

Nigeria 16, 51, 69, 162, 163, 165, 170, 171, 175, 177n, 178n; Lagos 7, 8, 162 noir cinema 142, 143, 144, 145, 146, 151, 155, 157, 158n; ‘techno-noir’ 15, 143, 144 – 6 Olympic Games (Rio 2016) 89, 90 Ondjaki (de Almeida, Ndalu) 13, 65, 67, 68, 69, 75, 76 – 83 orientation 1, 2, 10 – 2, 13, 15, 16, 17, 19, 104, 106, 113, 116, 161 – 3, 175 – 6, 182, 194, 199, 205, 252 Orwell, George 156 Pegida (Patriotic Europeans against the Islamisation of the West) 17 – 18, 217 – 18, 222 – 5, 227 – 30,  232n photography 54, 68, 74; Terrenos Ocupados project see Ractliffe, Jo; Shack Chic see Fraser, Craig Pinochet, Augusto 84n Pinto, Jerry 118 – 19 Pistorius, Oscar 196n Poland 199 – 215; PiS (Law and Justice party) 203 – 4; PO (Civic Platform party) 203; Warsaw 208 Polanski, Roman (Chinatown) 142, 146, 147 Portugal 69, 71, 77; colonial history in Goa see colonialism postcolonialism 19, 45, 49, 53, 69, 129, 213n, 251, 252; in Calcutta 131, 134; in Eastern Europe 221; in Goa 104, 106, 107, 108, 110, 111, 115, 120n; in Libya 247, 248, 250, in Paris 183 – 4; ‘postcolonial dandies’ 16, 161 – 77 prosthetics 185 – 9, 191, 192, 193, 196n Quayson, Ato 8 – 9 Ractliffe, Jo 67, 68, 69 – 76, 81, 82 – 3, 84n,  85n recycling 13, 43 – 64, 82, 206, 219; as poetic activity 55, 59 – 61 refugees 2, 18,19 67, 121n, 195n, 218, 220, 222, 229, 230,

239 – 52; hostility towards 217, 219, 220, 222, 229; to USA 167; see also asylum–seekers, Hague Process revitalization see urban development Rimbaud, Arthur 128, 129 Rivera, Alex (Sleep Dealer) 15, 141 – 57 Rodrigues, Santan 119 Rose, Jacqueline 237, 245 Russia 69, 70, 71, 79, 104, 202; Moscow 3, 4 Sargento, Cartola 89 Sargento, Nelson 89 Savimbi, Jonas 66 – 7 sculpture 43, 71; ‘Crumbling Wall’ 43 – 4,  46 Sebald, W. G. 163, 168, 170 Second World War see World War II segregation 18, 47, 239 – 43, 251 shanty–towns 43 – 61, 71, 72 – 3; informal housing in South Africa 44 – 6, 49 – 55; ‘shacklands’ in District 9 47 – 9; in Kenya 55 – 7; see also favelas Shonibare, Yinka 16, 175, 177 Simone, AbdouMaliq 7, 12, 23 – 41, 163, 167, 176 slave trade 32, 38, 57, 74, 75, 113 – 4, 161, 162, 165, 166, 167 – 9 172, 175 – 6; abolitionists 164 – 5 slums see shanty–towns Smith, Venture 174 socialism/post-socialism 14, 17, 49, 66, 221, 223; in Angola 68, 73 – 80; in Poland 199 – 205, 206, 212n Sohn-Rethel, Alfred 147 South Africa 13, 43, 44, 46 – 55, 57, 59, 69 – 70, 71, 76 – 7, 82; in District 9 13, 47 – 51; Bekkersdal 60; Cape Town 10, 69 – 70; Durban 49; Johannesburg 18, 47, 49, 69, 71; Pretoria 49, 51 Soviet Union 13, 199, 221; presence in Angola 13, 66, 74 – 80 Spain 127, 142; Barcelona 94 Spinoza, Baruch 141, 149, 156

256

INDEX

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty 52 Stasiuk, Andrzej 202 – 3 Stevenson, Robert Louis 129 Szczerek, Ziemowit 203, 212n

Los Angeles 125, 146; New York City 16, 19, 76, 84n, 93, 100, 111, 161 – 5, 166 – 9; San Diego 15, 143, 149, 152; US-Mexican border see borders urban development 14; in Jakarta 26 – 30, 35 – 6; in Luanda 67 – 8, 69, 72 – 3; in Rio de Janeiro 87 – 101; in South African cities 49 – 50; in Polish cities 203 – 5

‘tachment’ 144, 149 – 55 Tanzania 127 THP see Hague Process Toledano, Éric see Nakache, Olivier Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 142; see also Mexico Trump, Donald 221 Turkey 240, 247

Virilio, Paul 148

United Kingdom 17; Birmingham 205, 209 – 210, 213n; London 5, 6, 103, 126, 131, 137 – 8, 149, 161, 163, 175, 177n, 205, 209, 213n United States 77, 82, 105, 111, 141 – 3, 145, 149, 158n, 161, 210;

Wachowski Brothers (The Matrix) 148 Welles, Orson (Touch of Evil) 142 Westernization 18, 202, 244 – 5 Wilde, Oscar 175 Williams, Raymond 104, 112, 114, 137, 139n World War II 194, 220, 241

257