W060
Strategic uses of colonial legacies in postcolonial encounters

Convenors:
Chiara Pussetti (Instituto de Ciências Sociais - Universidade de Lisboa)
Lorenzo Bordonaro (Universidade Federal de Sergipe (SE), Brazil)
Stream:
Workshops
Location:
Queens 1.18
Start time:
21 September, 2006 at 11:30
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

The purpose of this panel is to put together original contributions from any context exploring the contemporary vitality, uses and transformations of colonial categories, highlighting how this legacy has shaped postcolonial contexts and encounters and has been creatively reworked by them.

Long abstract:

The purpose of this panel is to put together original and path-breaking contributions from any context exploring the contemporary vitality, uses and transformations of colonial categories, highlighting how this legacy has shaped postcolonial contexts and encounters and has been creatively reworked by them. This implies considering the colonial and the postcolonial in terms of continuity, however problematic, rather than in terms of rupture and neat separation. From our perspective, the colonial legacy is not the residue of a heavy and violent past which local consciousness and politics could not remove despite their efforts. Rather the relationship with the colonial (as ideology, state structure, policies) is a relevant issue for contemporary postcolonial identities both for people living in former colonies (and for those among them migrating to Europe) and for those living in former metropoles. In all kinds of postcolonial encounters, we claim, aspects of colonial discourses are included, embodied, transformed and displayed. The categories of colonialism can on the one hand be strategically appropriated and used, conferring agency and voice on subaltern actors, becoming a social critical locution and a space for resistance; in this sense we are particularly interested in exploring how colonial legacies can become weapons in local semiotic battlefields, producing new differences, identities and social distinctions. On the other hand, though, these very categories can be re-enacted in migratory and transnational contexts reproducing discriminatory attitudes and institutional racism. In these highly problematic situations, the issues and paradoxes generated by the reproduction of colonial paradigms, especially in institutional settings (hospitals, prisons, schools, etc), are then applied to the maintenance and reproduction of existing structures of inequality.