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On Agonistic Narratives of Migration

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The aim of this article is to apply the concept of agonism to the study of migration and migration narratives in order to shed new light upon a complex field and contribute to the countering of neo-nationalist right-wing populism. Following Chantal Mouffe, the author argues that agonistic narrative traits can be found in already existing cultural products that are able to unsettle the existing identity positions of the hegemonic European identity discourse pitting the national citizen against the figure of the migrant, and/or create new identity positions and alliances across the ‘us’–’them’ divide. Agonistic narratives of migration are stories able simultaneously to counter the two complementary and hegemonic discourses on migration, the antagonistic, neo-nationalist discourse representing the migrant as a threat, and the humanitarian discourse representing the migrant as a victim. Instead, agonistic narratives aim to forge alliances through protest and activities against inequality and discrimination.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Cultural Studies
Pages (from-to)547-563
Number of pages19
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2020

    Research areas

  • Chantal Mouffe, agonism, antagonism, cosmopolitanism, migration narratives, narrative templates, nationalism, universalism

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