Conflict, Violence and Memory NUBS 2.08
Jul 06, 2023 09:00 - 10:30(Europe/London)
20230706T0900 20230706T1030 Europe/London 5.6. Ethnicity, Violence, and Vulnerability: How to Understand Difference within European Societies

A society that takes as its point of departure the recognition and protection of the weaknesses and differences of all its citizens would also recognize the fears, frailty, and differences of others. In this manner, it would become more difficult to make the outside responsible for our internal fears, stigmatizing it as the source of conflict. However, at this point in time, Western societies have not followed this path. One only needs to think about the rise of xenophobic or openly racist political parties in today's Europe and the frightening projections of the extreme-right parties in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Italy, and other countries. In this guise, the perceived vulnerability is becoming the excuse to close borders and to purify cities and nations with the sole purpose of confining difference outside of the proper political body. From here, it is easy to understand that the dehumanization of everything and everyone outside of the hegemonic identity group will naturally follow. In this model, identity is entrenched in the dreams of a society that has expelled ambiguity and uncertainty from its framework. Within one's group, we are all alike, clones of each other, relentlessly needing to see ourselves reflected in the mirror of sameness, in fear that the unknown will return to haunt us and take away our peace of mind. So called foreigners are no longer comprehensible, their languages and their cultural values are locked in distrust, as noise and interruptions in the everyday reenactment of a totally homogeneous identity. What does not fit in the European identity framework is assimilated as a monstrosity, only tolerated if it does not threaten us. The monster-foreigner is nothing more than a deviation, a perversion of our bodies and thoughts, an excess in need of ...

NUBS 2.08 MSA Conference Newcastle 2023 conference@memorystudiesassociation.org
16 attendees saved this session

A society that takes as its point of departure the recognition and protection of the weaknesses and differences of all its citizens would also recognize the fears, frailty, and differences of others. In this manner, it would become more difficult to make the outside responsible for our internal fears, stigmatizing it as the source of conflict. However, at this point in time, Western societies have not followed this path. One only needs to think about the rise of xenophobic or openly racist political parties in today's Europe and the frightening projections of the extreme-right parties in Poland, Hungary, Sweden, Italy, and other countries. In this guise, the perceived vulnerability is becoming the excuse to close borders and to purify cities and nations with the sole purpose of confining difference outside of the proper political body. From here, it is easy to understand that the dehumanization of everything and everyone outside of the hegemonic identity group will naturally follow. In this model, identity is entrenched in the dreams of a society that has expelled ambiguity and uncertainty from its framework. Within one's group, we are all alike, clones of each other, relentlessly needing to see ourselves reflected in the mirror of sameness, in fear that the unknown will return to haunt us and take away our peace of mind. So called foreigners are no longer comprehensible, their languages and their cultural values are locked in distrust, as noise and interruptions in the everyday reenactment of a totally homogeneous identity. What does not fit in the European identity framework is assimilated as a monstrosity, only tolerated if it does not threaten us. The monster-foreigner is nothing more than a deviation, a perversion of our bodies and thoughts, an excess in need of severe control. The papers in this panel address how to frame change within communities, nations, societies or even social groups whose aim is to live with difference without resorting to the erasure of difference and the expelling of otherness.



Dr Katharina Karcher, University of Birmingham

'Justice 4 Dea-John Reid': Racist Terror and Anti-racist campaigning in Birmingham

In the early evening 31 May 2021, 14-year-old Dea-John Reid was attacked by a group of white youths and men near his home in Kingstanding, Birmingham. The group hurled racist abuse at the Black boy and chased him down a busy road before one of them stabbed him with a kitchen knife. Anti-racist campaigners on Twitter described the killing as a 'modern-day lynching'. In May 2022, Dea-John's 15-year-old killer received a 6.5 year-long prison sentence for manslaughter. Everyone else involved in the crime was acquitted. The court decision was a blow to Dea-John's family and friends, and their struggle for justice continues. Dea-John's mother Joan Morris has also become a vocal campaigner for more ethnically balanced juries. The jury making the decision in her son's case had one British Asian and 11 White British members. To many in the British Caribbean community, the attack on Dea-John Reid bore shocking similarities to that on Stephen Lawrence in Eltham, London, in 1993: a young black man with a bright future racially abused and stabbed to death by a group of white men. A public inquiry in 1999 concluded that the failure to solve this case was the result of institutional racism in the Metropolitan Police Service and other British institutions. Racism in the UK remains a structural and endemic problem, and Black and Asian activists and intellectuals have long campaigned to expose and tackle it. Drawing on the important work of public intellectuals Stuart Hall and Emma Dabiri as well as Joan Morris and other community activists in Birmingham and elsewhere, this paper analyses the deadly attack on Dea-John Reid against the background of endemic and pervasive racism in the UK. I argue that this and other acts of violence against Black and Asian British people constitute a form of racist terror. Rather than focusing on an individual case, the 'Justice4Dea-John Reid' campaign seeks to expose and tackle the structures that enable and legitimise racist violence.


Dr. Frédéric Vinot, Université Côte d'Azur, France

From one vertigo to another. Spatial experiments linked to the attack of 14 July 2016 (Nice)

This paper will focus on an action-research project conducted in 2020/2021 with a choreographer and a group of victims. The objective was to identify the variations of the lived space as they can be observed in the trauma clinic and in the artistic experience (dance). The spatial dimension of the trauma clinic is still relatively little researched and one of the major hypotheses underlying this action-research is based on the subjectivising effect of a vertiginous experience framed and supported by the act of dance, allowing one to better cope with the vertiginous experiences linked to the psychic after-effects of trauma. Through the memory of the body, dance would thus allow a renewal of the experience of space, and of the relationship with the other.


Txetxu Aguado, Dartmouth College, US

Violence and Vulnerability: How to Remember the Violent Act

We are attached and exposed to others, as Judith Butler reminds us (). For the most part, the European response to violence and vulnerability recognizes our attachments, but instead of extending them to everyone, it keeps them within the identitarian community, i.e., it decides to limit the civil links only to the members of the same national-ethnic group. Ethnicity and its definition become instrumental in deciding the nature of the attachment to be preserved against the contamination of the social body from the outside. In my presentation, I will analyze how the terrorism suffered by European societies and its remembrance in the form of national, collective, and individual memorials have been instrumentalized under the paradigm of national security which implies homogenous populations to expel those deemed close to the religious or political ideologies sustaining the use of violence. At the heart of the legitimization of the exclusion and expulsion of those characterized as non-European lies the struggle of any European nation-state for uniformity and its enactment in the form of an official way of remembering the violent attack.


Maheen Farhat Raza, National Defence University (Islamabad, Pakistan)

Transformation of Trauma to European Collective Memory Culture: From Ontological Security to Ontological Insecurity

"Ontological Security" aims to dissect repeated practises and biographical narratives to comprehend how these practises shape political choices and their likely subsequent consequences. This approach reveals how fears and anxieties influence groups and states. Moreover, it will also help in understanding the socio-political and psychological effects that influence political movements and policy considerations at the global security level. Since 2014, there has been a noticeable shift in Europeans' fears and anxieties, as evidenced by the discourse surrounding the construction of the EU's identity. The market for security has been expanding despite the fact that Europe has enjoyed the longest period of peace since the Second World War due to insecurity related to new forms of crisis/violence. This article will investigate the effects of crisis/violence, beginning with the trauma and progressing to the evolution of European perceptions of threats and how it becomes a part of European memory culture. The article will show how the European memory culture leads the masses from sense of security to insecurity. Various types of political violence/terrorist assaults would be considered for this. The process tracing methodology is intended to be used by the researcher for this paper. The effects of terror and various forms of violence on the evolution of European perceptions of threats and their constitution towards collective memory culture are investigated in this article. It employs the idea of ontological security to explain how the anxiety and fear caused by the terror attacks caused a shift in the collective cultural memory of Europe from 'ontological security to ontological insecurity'.

University of Birmingham
Maître de Conférences
,
Côte d'Azur University, France
Professor
,
Dartmouth College
PhD Scholar
,
National Defence University (Islamabad, Pakistan)
Doctoral Researcher
,
University of Birmingham
No attendee has checked-in to this session!
Upcoming Sessions
449 visits