Borders and 'Ghosts': Migratory Hauntings in Contemporary Visual Cultures

Saybasil, Nermin. 2008. Borders and 'Ghosts': Migratory Hauntings in Contemporary Visual Cultures. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This work examines the issues of displacement and migration through the notion of the ‘ghost’ and in the context of hauntology, as proposed by Jacques Derrida. Focussing on the complexities of haunting and the very particular condition of ghostliness, the arguments throughout the text are centred on the production of subjectivities on/through borders/boundaries, with reference to both contemporary practices in art and materials circulated in contemporary visual cultures. In its broadest sense, the study addresses fundamental questions such as: what gives the movement its start and how is it possible to address the complexities embedded in migratory movements?
By taking up theoretical models, bodies of artistic practice, ethnographic case studies of specific locations in Turkey and the broader geographical region, the study produces an in-depth cross section of migratory effects and perceptions.

The main argument of the study is that immigration is not a problem in itself; it is rather produced as a `problem'. This concern is played out through the theme of haunting. The conditions of haunting emerge when the illusion of coherence, stability, homogeneity and permanence is confronted with the shadowy realities of displacement, dislocation and unbelonging, with all the layers of diasporic formations and migratory flows, with the crossover and overlap of cultures, and with hybrid identities and new ethnicities that are constantly being formed.

Rather than simply focussing on mapping the trajectories and consequences of human movement, the study is an inquiry into strategies for uncovering hidden structures embedded in the realities of displacement and migration. In this instance, the notion of the `ghost' emerges as a strategic tool in an attempt to connect the past to the present, the living to the non-living, presence to absence, the visible to the invisible, the near to the far, the abstraction to the materialization.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

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migration, haunting, displacement, ghost



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Date Deposited:

15 Jul 2020 10:36

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2022 12:52


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