Daily Archives: May 14, 2018

Filip Milačić

The Emergence of Identity Politics Cleavage and its Effect on Social Movements
Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 11, 2018.

“Numerous European societies are currently dealing with great socio-political changes that are strongly affecting their political systems and their democracies in general. I argue that this has been to a great extent caused by the emergence of the new polarization line in their political systems, which I label identity politics cleavage. Accordingly, I, firstly, explain the reasons for its emergence in the Western and Eastern Europe. Secondly, I investigate the emergence of the new protagonists and movements in national and transnational contexts as a direct response to it. I thereby focus on the anti-liberal reaction: an emphasis on the ethnic notion of the citizenship, i.e. on the ethnic and cultural homogeneity, and the “war against gender”, i.e. the advocating of “family values”.”

Filip Milacic has studied political science and history of Eastern Europe at the University of Heidelberg and obtained his PhD at the Humboldt University in Berlin (Supervisor Professor Wolfgang Merkel). He was a fellow of the Friedrich Ebert foundation. He is an author of the book Nationalstaatsbildung, Krieg und Konsolidierung der Demokratie (Nation-state building, war, and consolidation of democracy) (Springer: Wiesbaden). His work was published in many academic journals including Ethnopolitics and Southeast European and Black Sea Studies. He is currently a fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies, University of Rijeka, Croatia.

Tiziano Toracca

Metamorphosis of Labour. The Movement for a Basic Income in the Light of the Modern Paradigm of Labour

Seminar held at the University of Rijeka on May 11, 2018.

“In my talk I will discuss a social and political movement active at an international level, which engages in developing a new paradigm of welfare through the proposal of a universal basic income (UBI). This movement has created an international network – Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) –  it has fostered a huge debate and it is advocating a new, radical practice of democracy, social integration and post industrial solidarity. The goal of UBI is mainly to guarantee social rights to whoever lives in a digital society and not only to people who work.
In my talk, on the one hand, I will illustrate the historical origins and the development of this movement within the European framework; on the other hand, I will discuss the ideology which is behind UBI within the contemporary emerging and global metamorphosis of labor (precariousness, flexibility, total mobilization, polarization, inequality, deindustrialization, end of work). In particular, I will try to discuss UBI on the basis of a long term representation of labor and the constitutive ambiguity which exists at the core of the modern notion of work. For its widespread and traumatic consequences, the metamorphosis of labor challenges democracy differently and it has been analyzed in various fields of studies: economics, law, sociology and political science, but also in artistic, philosophical, and literary studies. The increasing interdisciplinary approaches to this topic are a clear signal of the complexity and the relevance of this human experience. Scholars in the humanities engaged with labor issues because the transformation reflects on the everyday life of ordinary people and on their interior world. In particular, the metamorphosis of labor seems to have lost the traditional connection between work and citizenship due to the modern notion of labor. Modern work is a paid activity that allows an individual to participate actively in the social life of his community. The modern conception of labor is based on the idea that only workers belong to social communities; it is based on the idea that labor is the centre of the democratic process of socialization. To work in a modern society means to participate in the public sphere, to be recognized by others and therefore to own a social identity. Personal growth and social integration characterize the ideal horizon of a long series of struggles and social conflicts and in particular the fights for decent working conditions pursued by labor movements, the idea of class and intellectual engagement and the protections and guarantees that the labor law has built since the industrial revolution. The contemporary emerging crisis of labor relations deals on the contrary with: social disintegration, fragmentation, isolation, risk, increasing unemployment, anxious, poverty, confusion. The transformation that we are living obstacles “vita activa” unveiling a new anthropological mutation characterized by the decline of work as the traditional instrument of the Bildung of the self. The idea of “the end of work” is probably the most emblematic consequence of such a crisis.
  In this framework, I will focus on the relation between work and social identity and I will analyze the symbolic impact of the Universal Basic Income on this relation and on the notion of social identity. In order to do that I will adopt a humanistic perspective in the belief that we cannot reduce work to an economic or legal relation. I will also take into account the Basic Income Network Italia (BIN Italia), an organization which has been created in 2016 by an interdisciplinary group of scholars and social activists (http://www.bin-italia.org/).”

Tiziano Toracca graduated in Law (Pisa, 2005) and in Italian Language and Literature (Pisa, 2011). He got a Joint PhD in Italian Studies, Comparative Literature and Literary Studies (Perugia-Ghent, 2017).
He coordinated the Jean Monnet Project I work therefore I am European (http://www.iworkthereforeiam.eu/) at the Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences of the University of Torino. Currently he is research fellow at CAS SEE in Rijeka with a project on the universal basic income in relation with the conception and representation of modern labour. His research focuses on the Italian contemporary narrative, Modernism and Neomodernism, Law and Literature with specific attention to the issue of Labour. He is member of the Center for European Modernism Studies and of the Italian Society for Law and Literature and he is editor of «Allegoria». Since 2012 he teaches humanities in the high school and a course of creative writing in a psychiatric center.

Barbara Turk Niskač

“Life is all about work”: Growing food as lifestyle politics in Slovenia
Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 11, 2018.
  “In a global drive towards lowering production costs and maximise profits run by corporations and market institutions (Steel 2009), many agree that the global food systems need rethinking (Grasseni 2014). At the same time, various forms of food activism are taking place all over the world from local food and food sovereignty movements, slow food movements, solidarity purchase networks, community supported agriculture, seed swap events, to alternative urban provisioning such as food pooling, food banking, gleaning, freeganism, urban canners and guerrilla gardening.
Moving beyond ethical consumerism, I place the focus of my research at ethical food production. By bringing into discourse Michael Lambek’s ‘ordinary ethics’ (2010), I will look at young families that have intentionally decided to move from urban centres to grow their own food and/or set up a farm, thus placing food production at the forefront of their lifestyle. While the knowledge to the successors of traditional family farms is transmitted through socialisation, I am interested in families that had no previous knowledge of growing vegetables and/or raising animals, and the reasons that lie behind their decisions to pursue such a lifestyle. Following values-based approach to political activism (Lambek 2010), I am particularly concerned with meanings and practices these families attribute to their new lifestyle with regard to food production and dynamics of work, and how they express their concern to the world of neoliberal capitalism and its industrial corporate food systems (Sayer 2011).
Drawing on a study conducted among five families in Slovenia, I will present back-to-the-land movements in the context of food activism in Slovene case study. After providing a short historical overview of the part-time peasants, I will particularly focus on the last decade in the context of political and economic crisis in Slovenian context. Firstly, I aim to understand the rationales behind families’ decisions to produce food as a form of self-sufficiency through the concept of work. I argue that such lifestyle entails also specific dynamics of work, which is not “time purchased from the stream of life” (Henricks 2015: 5), but it also includes social dimension, typical for community-based societies. Therefore, these families represent a counter-narrative to conceptions of family life within post-industrial societies, where work is being excluded as a form of social interaction and learning, and restricted to the understanding of work as a capitalist mode of production. Secondly, by bringing the concept of ‘ordinary ethics’ into discourse on food activism, I examine the concern of these families that they are eating sufficiently good food, and that they have a self-determination of the kind of food they eat.
Finally yet importantly, I suggest that these alternative lifestyles provide a critique of consumer culture and strive towards environmental sustainability and non-capitalist economic relations (Grasseni 2014; Wilbur 2014). Furthermore, I suggest that their decision to pursue alternative lifestyle can be understood as a form of ‘unclaimed activism’ or ‘lifestyle politics’ (Bennett 2006; Nolas 2017). In the face of mass industrial food production, such small-scale localised entrepreneurs and their potential alliances with local consumers represent competitors of mega farms and multinational distribution and preserve social, environmental, and economic diversity, as well as food sovereignty (Grasseni 2014: 53).”

Barbara Turk Niskač, current CAS SEE Fellow, received her PhD in Ethnology, Cultural and Social Anthropology at the University of Ljubljana (2016), where she worked as a Junior Researcher, and is currently Adjunct Assistant Professor. She was a Visiting PhD Student at the University of Sarajevo, Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies and a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at the Rutgers University. Her doctoral dissertation Playing at Work, Working at Play: An Ethnographic Study of Learning in Early Childhood examined the relationship between play, work and learning in early childhood in Slovenia. Her main research interests include anthropology of childhood, anthropology of education, anthropology of work, migration and ethnic studies, sensory ethnography and visual anthropology. She is particularly interested in employing participatory visual methods in research with children and youth. Apart from academia, she also worked for International Organization for Migration (IOM – UN Agency).

Daniela Brasil

Emancipatory Learning: Reframing Situatedness and the new Cartographies of Belonging
 Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 10, 2018.

  “In this paper we will discuss the first part of The Emancipatory Learning Project, a long-term art-based-research-journey I have embarked within decolonial (Mignolo, Souza Santos, do Mar Castro Varela, Spivak, Vasquez) and post-anthropocentric discourses (Abram, Haraway, Shiva, Braidotti) – while searching for transformative and emancipatory pathways towards the ambitions notion of Earth Citizenship. This research has identified a variety of learning spaces that are playing a decisive role in the construction of a post-colonialist, post-patriarchy, post-capitalism and post-anthropocentric society: learning communities of thinking-feeling and thinking-acting grounded in a deeper notion of Buen Vivir (living in plenitude), that are cross-fertilizing in the globe. The long list includes free- and anti-universities, ecoversities, communities of concern and communities of care, eco-villages, grass-roots social and educational enterprises, socially-engaged artistic projects, happy labs, open platforms, collaborative networks, “autonomous zones” and so on and so on.

In this paper we will discuss how some of these spaces are transforming coexistence and belonging through empowering practices and inclusion. This paper is therefore divided in three sections: The first is a general reframing of emancipation within epistemic diversity, by highlighting the concepts of response-ability and situatedness (Haraway); the second is a definition of dis-othering and unlearning as basic movements towards a form of radical openness that can enable societal transition; and the third section is an examination of these Living Learning Environments as the (new) schools or flourishing habitats where new forms of belonging – emancipated from biological and cultural separations among native and invasive species, re-imagined beyond identity politics within selective inclusions and exclusions – is taking place. A variety of counter-hegemonic gestures of resistance and/or liberation that are enabling small shifts for social change: towards relational and responsive forms of belonging within a more-than-human world.”

Daniela Brasil has initiated and coordinated various transdisciplinary and participatory projects that use playfulness and radical imagination as exercises for active citizenship and tools for people’s empowerment. Her research interests lie mainly on pedagogic, artistic and spatial practices that focus on horizontal forms of exchanging/creating knowledge and know-how; while searching for ways to (un)learn colonized thoughts, behaviours and representations. She studied Architecture and Urbanism in Rio de Janeiro, Environmental Urban Design in Lisbon and Barcelona, Social Sculpture in Oxford and received her PhD and her Master of Fine Arts in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar.  For the past 6 years, she was Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Graz University of Technology, and from 2011-14 she was a member of the ADRIART consortium for the creation of the Master of Media Arts and Practices in the Universities of Rijeka, Croatia and of Nova Gorica, Slovenia. Daniela is based in Graz, Austria, where she works as an artist and researcher in collaborative settings, especially with the Daily Rhythms Collective on feminist actions and with Studio Magic on experimental architecture since 2013.

Polona Sitar

Reclaiming Menstruation: Menstrual Social Movements, Feminist-Spiritualist Menstrual Activism and The Red Tent
Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 10, 2018.
  “In this paper we will try to understand global menstrual movements as new forms of social engagement, especially in which way they are challenging and changing the existing social order in the global world today. We are living in times when menstrual blood is still regarded as something embarrassing and a taboo and therefore depicted in commercials for menstrual pads in blue colour. At the same time groups of women are coming together all over the world to reclaim and to celebrate the power of their menstrual cycle in the Red Tent gatherings. They teach women that the flow of blood shall no longer be anything to be ashamed of or frowned upon. On the contrary – it is understood to be far from ordinary; as magic and sacred. This is in stark contrast to the cultural taboo around the discussion of menstruation today. The Red Tent gatherings contain features that can be viewed as kind of woman-centred feminism, yet divert from more radical or cultural feminist tenets as they do not promote a complete counter-culture based on an identity politics for women. This kind of menstrual movements promote gender equality, build community, offer a platform for sharing women’s stories, encourage female solidarity and hold a more positive view towards the female body. The power of these beliefs has a significant potential for delegitimizing the dominant system, but at the same time this might not always lead to the envisioned social change and overturning of gender hierarchies and the patriarchy.

The purpose of this paper is to discover the reasons behind more and more growing need for establishing the Red Tents all over the world. Why many women find it life changing to be heard, witnessed and supported in this way and what kind of consequences does this entail? We will try to understand the role of the Red Tent as a menstrual movement, especially in regards to abolishing the menstrual taboo. We also wish to explore if the reclaiming of sisterhood in women’s spirituality that is being propagated and explored within the Red Tent gatherings, contains political potential beyond the level of mere personal empowerment. There exists a growing curiosity from the side of secular feminism for the neglected, yet critical, and even political potential of spirituality. We will also explore the tensions between the feminist-spiritualists and the radical menstruation activists within the menstrual movements. Some feminist-spiritualists activists regard the menstrual cycle as a criterion for womanhood. However, not all women menstruate (post-menopausal women, athletes etc.) and not only women menstruate (transmen, intersexuals etc.). Inspired by the transgender and genderqueer rights movements and theoretical paradigms, such as feminist philosopher Judith Butler’s idea of gender performativity they challenge essentialist constructions of womanhood. By referring to ‘menstruators’ instead of ‘women,’ activists want to expand menstruation beyond the limitations of gender with the potential to undermine gender as a stable category in the patriarchal two-gender system.”

Polona Sitar has obtained a PhD from the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana and a bachelor’s degree in Ethnology and Cultural Anthropology from the Faculty of Arts and also in Communication Sciences from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the University of Ljubljana. She holds a title Assistant with a doctorate which she received while working at the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, at the Institute of Culture and Memory Studies. Her main research interest focuses on anthropology of consumption, gender studies, memory studies and anthropology of postsocialism. In 2017 her first book titled “Not just Bread, Roses too!”: Consumption, Technological Development and Female Emancipation in Socialist Slovenia was published by a leading Slovenian scientific publishing house ZRC SAZU.

Francesca Forlè

Rythmòs in Acting Together.
A Tool to Improve Stability and to Orient Power Hierarchies
Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 10, 2018.

 “The main aim of the present talk is to argue that the theoretical notion of rythmòs (Piana 1991, Zhok 2012) can be crucial in the analysis of shared agency and collective actions (Searle 2010, Gilbert 2013).

 Rythmòs can be defined as the general trans-modal structure of impulses and relaxations, which characterizes a great variety of diachronic courses and phenomena (from a bouncing ball to a collapsing scree, from musical rhythms to human actions).

In this talk, I will argue that, even being a trait that characterizes actions at a sub-personal level, rythmòs can also be exploited at a personal level to reinforce joint actions and to promote agents’ collaboration. In this sense, rythmòs acquires a central role in giving stability to collective actions and in reducing the risk of uncertainty (Michael and Pacherie 2015). Secondly, I will argue that the rythmòs of a collective action can be manipulated by an agent in order to achieve a position of leadership (Bassetti and Bottazzi 2015). Charisma, for instance, can be, at least partly, considered as the ability to manipulate the rhythm of an interaction by consciously or unconsciously imposing one’s timing.
 Rythmòs will appear as a means to stabilize collective actions but also to orient power roles.”

Francesca Forlè is CAS SEE Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Rijeka and Guest Lecturer at the Faculty of Psychology, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan. Previously, she has been Post-doctoral Fellow at the Faculty of Philosophy, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan. She holds a PhD in Cognitive Neurosciences and Philosophy of Mind. She is mainly interested in phenomenology, philosophy of mind and social ontology. She is Managing Editor of the journal Phenomenology and Mind and member of the Research Centre PERSONA at Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, MilanFrancesca published several papers on peer-review international journals and edited volumes. She is also co-editor of three special issues of the journal Phenomenology and Mind. Francesca has also recently published the book Qualità terziarie. Saggio sulla fenomenologia sperimentale, FrancoAngeli, Milano 2017 (Tertiary Qualities. An essay on experimental phenomenology).