Everyday creativity in exile: case studies of two Afghan refugees in Athens
(University of the Aegean)
Paper short abstract:
Two case studies of Afghans in Athens address the impact of their involvement in creative activities on their personhood and refugee “condition” and on their wider social environment. Analytical approaches to the concept of “creativity” in the study of refugees are discussed.
Paper long abstract:
My aim in this presentation is to describe the everyday life of two young Afghan refugees living in Athens. I focus on their involvement in artistic and political initiatives, even through they work as heavy manual laborers for economic survival. Compared with the everyday life-styles of their compatriot refugees in Athens, the choices of the two young Afghans seem to be contradictory and heterodox. Two questions arise: 1) What are the preconditions and motivations for their creativity and, 2) What are the effects of their activities on their personhood (as individuals, as refugees) and on others in their social environment? In the analysis I use the concept of subjectivity suggested by Ortner as the ensemble of modes of perception, affect and thought (provoked and shaped by cultural and social formations) that animate acting subjects. I examine how this notion of subjectivity, as the basis of agency (how people try to act on the world, and in turn, how the world acts on them), can be combined with the writings of Lefebvre and de Certeau on the creative potential of everyday life.
Being human, being migrant: dealing with memory, dreams and hopes in everyday life