A08
Recognizing diasporas: transnational struggles for voice and visibility

Convenors:
Rik Adriaans (University College London)
K. Zeynep Sarıaslan (Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO))
Stream:
Displacements of Power
Location:
Room 02
Sessions:
Friday 6 September, 9:00-10:30

Short abstract:

Diasporas, exiles and other migrant groups often seek justice for experiences of displacement and marginalization by engaging in recognition struggles. This panel examines how quests for voice and visibility are reconfigured through transnational media connectivity and populist distrust of elites.

Long abstract:

Demands for the public acknowledgement of historical injustices and quests for affirmative self-images of marginalised groups remain a persistent feature of global cultural politics. This politics of recognition is especially pertinent for diasporas, exiles, refugees and other migrant groups. Separated from their homelands as a result of violent ruptures or economic meltdowns, they inherit traumatic pasts and suffer stigmatisation in their new sites of residence. While there is a sizeable literature of critical social theory on recognition (Taylor 1992; Fraser & Honneth 2004), the abstract and normative character of these debates makes them negligent of the unexpected lived consequences that recognition struggles have for those in whose name they are waged. A small anthropological literature does look critically at recognition (Fabian 1999; Povinelli 2002; Shneiderman 2014), but the concept has received little attention in the anthropology of diasporas and transnationalism. This panel aims to discuss struggles of diasporas, migrants, and exiles to make themselves matter across localities through a politics of recognition that promises an emancipation from harm caused by inaccurate, demeaning or untruthful representations. We call for contributions that answer the following questions through the empirics of ethnography: how do diasporas negotiate conflicts over voice and visibility in an age of transnational media connectivity and viral reality (Postill 2014)? How are identity entrepreneurs in migrant groups held accountable when their pursuit of recognition becomes oppressive rather than emancipatory? What is the role of populist suspicions of representation by experts and elites in transforming today's affective geographies of recognition?