We propose to examine the contentious paradigmatic turnover of contemporary perspectives on migrations, focusing on crossing cultural borders and mixings of identities that purportedly neutralize the divisive effects of cultural differences, yet in fact reifying them.
There is now a vast amount of literature on the causes and consequences of transnational migrations in which the politics of identity and of socio-cultural exclusion and inclusion received privileged attention. Crossing cultural, social and political boundaries appears to result in establishing new ambivalent identities seemingly transgressing cultural differences but in fact often asserting them as essential and divisive. In this workshop we propose to examine the contentious flip side of contemporary perspectives on migrations. A whole range of new old notions have come into anthropological usage in recent years - hybridity, mestizaje, creolization, miscegenation, cultural mediation - to account for the confounding effects the crossing of political and cultural boundaries seem to have in engendering ambivalent identities by blurring original socio-cultural identities. Yet, this assumption entails a paradox. The crossing of political cultural borders and mixing of identities only in appearance dilute and neutralize the divisive consequences cultural differences may have. For the very notions of crossing borders or mixing identities, in fact, re-activate original cultures and identities which they presuppose. This is admittedly a provocative proposal which we hope to debate with the aid of comparative ethnographic and historical data.