Expanding the Margins

by Sandro Mezzadra
(University of Bologna)

The lecture is meant as a general introduction to the topic of the summer school. I will start with a short presentation of the main points made in the book I recently published with Brett Neilson, Border as Method, or, the Multiplication of Labor (Duke University Press: 2013), showing how migration and borders have been for a generation of scholar and activists crucial topics for testing and expanding the “margin.” Particular attention will be paid in this context to the concept of “differential inclusion”. Secondly, I will discuss other theoretical approaches that have contributed in recent years to this testing and expanding the margin in critical theory. I will for instance focus on such important contributions as the ones epitomized by the phrases “border thinking” (W. Mignolo), “feminism without borders” (Ch.T. Mohanty), “analytical borderlands” and “systemic edge” (S. Sassen), “periphery of law” (G. Teubner), “anthropology in the margins of the state” (V. Das). Crucial to these diverse strands of critical thinking is a challenge to the very idea of the “marginality” of the “margin”. In the last part of the lecture I will attempt to elaborate on this challenge from the viewpoint of a critical understanding of contemporary capitalism and of the lines of antagonism and struggle crisscrossing it.

Intacta RR2 PRO