Migration and Diasporas
Currently, Bangladesh is witnessing a deep disillusionment with development and its constitutive elements - such as modernization, democratization, and participation. Much of this is linked to a deep sense of frustration related to struggles in securing livelihoods, improving precarious working conditions, improving public services, or changing of gender orders in Asia. Additionally, in light of the political swing to the right in Europe and the US, the grand formulas of the development narrative do not offer the same hope or venues in which to imagine a decent and safe future.
By relating to utopian ideas and visions, young people do not only express dissent but develop a “capacity to aspire”, through embodying forms of social relations, decision-making, and specific (sub-)cultural systems of representation. With their aim being to model imagined futures, young people articulate aspirations in the present, and envision and experiment with alternative life-designs, gender order, and citizenships – albeit on a temporary and often highly volatile basis.
This session seeks to make inquiries into this new development by using theoretically and empirically grounded insights into projects and experiences in the Delta region, and in diasporic environments, so as to analyze the negotiations within such initiatives, which are geared towards producing alternative narratives of a “decent life”. Our aim is to investigate the tensions which emerge from the lived experience of individuals, who seek to escape the insecurity and complexity of the contemporary global economy through a utopian vision of a different society.
The panel includes contributions taking into account the formulation of prefigurative politics and alternative future designs by young Bangladeshis, or youths of Bangladeshi descent, with special regard to the role of religious and political activism, to the production of various artistic forms, to the reconstruction of tradition and narratives on the past.