The nightmares of mobility: a seismography of today’s ‘migration governance’ at the crossroads of Hannah Arendt and Charlotte Beradt - Université Paris Nanterre Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2023

The nightmares of mobility: a seismography of today’s ‘migration governance’ at the crossroads of Hannah Arendt and Charlotte Beradt

Abstract

After Hitler came to power in 1933, Charlotte Beradt, a Berlin journalist, begins night after night a series of nightmares about being hunted down and humiliated by Nazi storm troopers. Convinced that she was not the only one in this situation, Beradt documented the dream visions of her friends, neighbours and other Berlin Jews, as direct evidence of the persecution mechanisms of a totalitarian regime in the making. Some dreams are about the prohibition of speaking, expressing oneself, rejoicing or even dreaming; all are Kafkaesque mini-tales that thwart the current partitions between subjectivity and subjection. In 1968, with the help of Arendt, Beradt published a collection of over three hundred dreams and nightmares under the title Das Dritte Reich des Traums. The collection provides an intimate seismography of the political history of the Third Reich: ‘Such dreams were not to be lost. They could be remembered the day the regime was put on trial as a historical phenomenon, for they seemed to be full of insights into the affects and motives of the people who were inserted like little wheels into the totalitarian mechanism.’ After reading the book, we asked Tigrayan migrants who had fled the massacres of the Ethiopian conflict since the autumn of 2020, South Sudanese asylum seekers harassed by the French bureaucracy in Calais, Ugandan refugees in Nairobi because of their sexual orientation, and young internally displaced women in the Diffa region (Niger) to tell us about their dreams. Between anthropological diagnosis and heterotopic knowledge, what are the dreams of mobility today? At a time of neoliberal management of migration, when governments and humanitarian organisations often agree to promote agendas, labels, normative frameworks and criteria of "vulnerability" that are all control devices, the dreams we have collected enter today's policing reality as if by break-in. We will highlight the beautiful, strange and often terrifying political fruits of today's dreams of mobility, by confronting them with the Arendtian notion of courage - which ‘liberates men from their worry about life for the freedom of the world’.

Domains

Philosophy
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Dates and versions

hal-04392376 , version 1 (13-01-2024)

Licence

Public Domain

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  • HAL Id : hal-04392376 , version 1

Cite

Hervé Nicolle. The nightmares of mobility: a seismography of today’s ‘migration governance’ at the crossroads of Hannah Arendt and Charlotte Beradt. Reading Arendt Today: Migration and Prejudice, Maynooth University, Jan 2023, Maynooth (IRL), Ireland. ⟨hal-04392376⟩
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