Contested multiplicities and mobile monologues: The poetics and politics of conviviality in the plural
Number of pages
SourceJournal of Intercultural Studies, 43, 2, (2022), pp. 210-227
Article / Letter to editor
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SW OZ RSCR CAOS
Journal of Intercultural Studies
SubjectAnthropology and Development Studies
In Antwerp, everyday interactions in ethno-racially diverse neighbourhoods have become the object of polarized debate and policy interventions that posit 'living together' as an ideal. Residents routinely use living together as a frame to assess themselves and their neighbourhood. They also bring divergent vernacular moral practices and sensory experiences to everyday interactions across difference. This complicates understandings of conviviality as a singular, demarcatable dimension of urban life. This paper delineates, instead, theoretical, methodological and textual manoeuvres for approaching conviviality in the plural. Methodologically, biographical interviewing and go-alongs are combined to explore diverging vernacular modes of engagement, and their intersections. Textually, the stylistic device of a collage of 'mobile monologues' - first-person, situated stream-of-consciousness narrations - works to recreate in writing a polyphony of embodied and moral modes of being, and their unfolding across myriad interactions. Finally, mobile monologues bring-out understudied dimensions of conviviality: (1) the situated performance of local narratives, (2) the circulation of moral economies of neighbourliness, (3) the contested political resignification of vernacular notions and practices in relation to discourses of living together. Conviviality emerges as heterogeneously assembled from a multiplicity of intersecting vernacular universes, whose political relevance in relation to living together is actively made and contested.
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