This article explores the contemporary practice of forced detainment and expulsion in Switzerland from two distinct perspectives: the 1995 law on coercive measures that first introduced the practice in Switzerland, as well as the cultural context that led to its constitution, and the documentary Le vol spécial by Fernand Melgar, made some fifteen years after the law was first introduced, which records the law’s consequences for the daily lives of rejected asylum seekers awaiting expulsion. Using Giorgio Agamben’s theoretical work on the states of exception and bare life, I seek to uncover what I call the narrative of expulsion, arguing that narrative politics operates on a number of interrelated levels not only to shape the context and practice of forced expulsion that undergird the asylum politics in Switzerland, and other countries, today, but ultimately also to change the post-enlightenment narrative of the political subject and challenge the efficacy of the Human Rights regime the world over.
During the second half of the long 19th century „precarious nature" moves to the center of a variety of popular discourses. The increasing visibility of and reflection on the human manipulation and destruction of nature is equally important for an understanding of precarious nature as is the publicly received progress of science and the social transformation caused by industrialization and accompanying processes. All these fields create versions of human-nature- relations and of 'natural' lifestyles and -forms under increasingly precarious conditions. Precarious nature provides a perspective which allows for the recognition of the dual conditioning of nature in literature, popular science and personal as well as travel narratives and the analysis of its part in the production of affective, discursive and material environments. Ecological story-telling is a vital force which produces a specific proto-ecological knowledge in representations of village-home and forest-wilderness. Liminal spaces between nature and culture thus can be recognized as privileged sites of the negotiation of human-nature-relationships.
This essay describes situations in which phenomena that are not pictures are nonetheless perceived as pictorial. Such paradoxical entanglements of the sphere of reality with the sphere of the picture are presented in two different constellations: first, in subjective literary modes of perception ("Medusa views") projecting a pictorial texture into scenes observed in metropolitan space, and second,, in the design of certain buildings and spaces aiming to integrate the immaterial visibility characterizing an image object into the actually present metropolitan area.
The article explores the thus far most popular German dime novel series which continuously has been published weekly since 1961 and reached hundreds of thousands of readers as archive of societal self-reflection and cultural self-positioning of its readers.
The complexity and continuity of the series and its since the beginnings very accessible reception in letters from readers, fanzines, wikis, online forums firstly allow this article fundamental corrections on the principles of mass culture and popular culture research, and secondly enable the investigation of the political of the society which is observed by the series for more than 56 years now, not only by means of the dime novels and its references but likewise on the basis of the intensive controversies about the political of the ever contemporary context and the political of the series Perry Rhodan itself, which can be verified by the readers’ letters column, wikipedia article discussions, posts and comments. Exploring the novel series praxeologically, the paper provides a first insight into the complex pratices of reading and appropriation of Perry Rhodan, disproving the common assumption of the Perry Rhodan-reading public as reactionary, one-dimensional, or fascist.
The main hypothesis is: The series observes the political of the society and it provokes, as can be shown in the debates of the online-forums, observations of the political of the society. The paper shows how both authors and readers put their political self-understanding under scrutiny and in jeopardy in diverse wikis, forums, and platforms whereby the Perry Rhodan research gives an extraordinary and - in view of the popularity of the series and the quantity of testimonies of reception - significant insight in the struggles about coherent self-descriptions of the society and its common grounds.
I discuss current shifts in cultural understandings under postcolonial conditions with particular regard to the French-African-Antillean area. Through a short reconstruction of culture constitutive approaches, their continuation and criticism in the Antillean area and furthermore the Afropolitan interpretations by Mbembe,Enwezor and African artists, I come to the conclusion that we need an epistemological shift in the cultural studies discourse itself. Along the lines of the affirmative- critical aesthetic of the mentioned African theorists, curators and artists, I advocate that the cultural studies discourse distances itself from descriptions in terms of cultural contrast, of the same and the other, of white and black and so on. I argue that the discourse should abandon the idea of unified or oppositional cultures and instead emphasize the „composite-cultural", i.e. the entanglements of respective personal or societal forms of articulation and existence as well as profile the types of symbolic interpenetration, the temporally and aesthetically conditioned „dividuation". With examples from the African art context, I attempt to outline certain dividual procedures and to stress the fact that nowadays even western articulations are bound to endure forced cultural participation [Zwangsteilhabe]: Instead of discursive contrasts we are in need of analyses of the respective participation and (self-)dividuation processes.