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Where Do Migrants Live? Amara Lakhous's Scontro Di Civilta Per Un Ascensore a Piazza Vittorio (Critical Essay)

Annali d'Italianistica 2010, Annual, 28

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In her highly illuminating article entitled, "La letteratura costruisce luoghi inediti" ("Literature constructs new locations," 2009), Giuliana Benvenuti summarizes the debates around an interpretation of space. Following Michel Foucault, Benvenuti stresses the importance of critical work on the "interrelazione tra spazio e potere" ("inter-relation between space and power"). Citing Henri Lefevre, Benvenuti reminds us of both the repressive impact that space has had as a marginalizing force in urban planning and of the relation between body and space, which postcolonial and gender studies have highlighted. For Benvenuti, space is intended as that which "condensa la complessita dei rapporti tra i luoghi" ("contains the complexity of the relationship between locations"). Space is an ever-growing complexity that she reads within the context of global transformations. In order to develop a complex discussion of the relations between urban space and migration literature, it is necessary to begin with Benvenuti's concept of "perceived" space and apply it to a narrative structure in which proximities--which she terms "zone di contatto" ("contact zones")--create the context in which change can be enacted. In Benvenuti's words, these innovative spaces "consentono di riarticolare la segregazione e di costruire nuove identita ibride e nuovi spazi trasgressivi" ("allow for a re-articulation of segregation and the construction of new hybrid identities and new transgressive spaces"). The "zone di contatto" are border areas, that is, locations where cultural exchanges are enacted. They are spaces in which new communities, identities, and transgressions can be performed. In my book, Migration Italy: The Art of Talking Back in a Destination Culture, I focused on literature as the space where change can be imagined. In a more recent article in Italian entitled "Comunita, diritti umani e testi multiculturali" ("Community, human rights, and multicultural texts"), I have used the articulations of the concept of proximity in the work of both Giorgio Agamben and Lisa Lowe in order to consider literature as a context in which the space of proximity can be verbalized and where contact among communities can be narrated. Benvenuti focuses in particular on how fiction can inflect perceptions of the "real," and therefore on the impact that imagined spaces can have on the construction of the urban space that we encounter in our daily experiences. She adds:

Where Do Migrants Live? Amara Lakhous's Scontro Di Civilta Per Un Ascensore a Piazza Vittorio (Critical Essay)
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  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 01 January 2010
  • Publisher: Annali d'Italianistica, Inc.
  • Print Length: 31 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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