Work in Progress Session: Maria Kaneti

Please join us for our next ICMEC Work in Progress Series presentation on Friday November 30, 3pm.
Location: 6 E 16th St, 7th floor (room TBC).

Maria Kaneti (Politics)

“Metis and the migrant: interacting with the state beyond agonism and dissensus”

This paper seeks to theorize the interactions between undocumented migrants and the state. In the wake of migrants’ acts of political mobilization, scholars have turned to theories of dissensus and agonism as a way to develop alternative theorizations of citizenship and democratic participation. Such theorizations have allowed for attention to ‘what’ a member of a community does, and not to ‘who’ she is in terms of legal categories and fixed (pre-political) identity. Yet despite their manifold contributions to the study of migrants and citizenship, both agonism and dissensus tend to emphasize singular acts of political mobilization or open disruption. This can potentially distort the manifold complexity of migrants-state dynamics.

Moving beyond agonism and dissensus, I seek to theorize migrants-state interactions not only in terms of open disruption and mobilization, but also of productive transformation. How do undocumented migrants
contribute to the generation of new identities, categories, spaces for negotiation, and institutional beginnings?  By invoking the Greek concept of metis and interweaving ancient narratives (oral histories) and modern-day undocumented migrants’ practices (verbalized through oral histories), I explore ffour phenomena: multiplicity of identification, subversion and use of power against power’s own design, challenge of sovereign authority, and institutional creativity.


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