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Towards a Convivial Society
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At the heart of capitalism lies the idea of “homo economicus”: an ever-rational human being motivated by self-interest which arguably leads societies to economic prosperity.

Drawing on French sociologist Marcel Mauss’ influential theory of “the gift”, Frank Adloff shatters this fallacy to show mutual trust is the only glue that holds societies together; people are giving beings and they can cooperate for the benefit of all when the logic of all when the logic of maximizing personal gain in capitalism is broken.

Acknowledging the role of women, nature and workers in the Global South in transforming society, this book proposes a politics of conviviality, (from Latin con-vivere: living together), for global and environmental justice as an alternative to the pursuit of profit, growth and consumption.

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Chapter 11 is about Europe’s role in the world. For a collective quest for new forms of human coexistence, it is imperative that Europe bids farewell to nationalism and colonialist structures of exploitation for good. Because in order to develop positive visions for living together convivially, we have to look beyond the borders of Europe. The concept of “development” and simplistic notions of a universal morality must finally be scrutinized. Only when the pluriversalism of different cosmologies is acknowledged, pluralistic models of the good life and true equality between the Global North and South can be created.

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It is argued in Chapter 8 that nature does not have to be regarded as mere material, as a passive “resource” that is at the disposal of humanity. The new materialism as well as some novel approaches within the sciences already transcend this traditional view, and in the era of the Anthropocene it indeed makes sense to talk about the gifts of nature. Once we conceive of nonhuman beings as quasi-subjects, we will be able to forge alliances with “Gaia,” and a new politics of the gift can come into being.

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The introduction of the book launches the themes of the volume. It presents the social and ecological double crisis of capitalism and explains how a politics of conviviality, based on Marcel Mauss’ theory of the gift, can offer an alternative positive vision of living together.

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In Chapter 10, the relationship between art and the gift is discussed. It is argued that aesthetic experiences can lead to more freedom and self-determination. Without freedom, alterity, and imagination there can be neither gift relationships nor aesthetic experiences. Art, too, ultimately builds on the aesthetic dimensions inherent to the gift. And in some projects, such as those pursued by the Invisible Committee, the poetics and politics of the gift merge.

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The project of a politics of the gift points to the domain of civil society, the subject-matter of Chapter 9. Practices of conviviality are mostly self-organized, emerge beyond the grasp of markets and state, and are frequently utopian in character. Such utopian practices may best be put to the test, and eventually realized, in social experiments.

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World history is peppered with population displacements, forced migrations, and expulsions, and European colonialism was implicated in the forced movement of countless people from the 15th century onwards. The founding of many instruments of international law dealing with forced migration, including the current international refugee regime, were drafted by imperial powers and informed by colonial logics, including ideas of racial hierarchy and civilizational difference. While colonialism may seem, to some, as something of the past, this book argues that colonial logics and assumptions about the world and the various peoples who inhabit it, continues to shape the present in profound ways. This book contributes to an emergent research agenda on postcoloniality and forced migration by bringing forth a thoroughly interdisciplinary collection of chapters dealing with postcolonial contexts from around the world. It explores various histories and geographies of colonial-era forced migration, and the ways in which their legacies continue to shape displacements and our responses to them today. It unsettles presentist and Eurocentric epistemologies, and offers novel insights into the colonial continuities within forced migration governance across the world. In this way, this book urges refugee and forced migration studies, and migration studies more generally, to begin to take seriously the influences of colonialism.

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Finally, in the conclusion, current developments like the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed. While a convivialist transformation of society is badly needed, it will doubtless take some time to accomplish it—time that humanity has almost run out of. Therefore, the mission must be to fight for a cultural and political change that is as broad and swift as possible, and that includes positive visions for a new, convivial society.

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World history is peppered with population displacements, forced migrations, and expulsions, and European colonialism was implicated in the forced movement of countless people from the 15th century onwards. The founding of many instruments of international law dealing with forced migration, including the current international refugee regime, were drafted by imperial powers and informed by colonial logics, including ideas of racial hierarchy and civilizational difference. While colonialism may seem, to some, as something of the past, this book argues that colonial logics and assumptions about the world and the various peoples who inhabit it, continues to shape the present in profound ways. This book contributes to an emergent research agenda on postcoloniality and forced migration by bringing forth a thoroughly interdisciplinary collection of chapters dealing with postcolonial contexts from around the world. It explores various histories and geographies of colonial-era forced migration, and the ways in which their legacies continue to shape displacements and our responses to them today. It unsettles presentist and Eurocentric epistemologies, and offers novel insights into the colonial continuities within forced migration governance across the world. In this way, this book urges refugee and forced migration studies, and migration studies more generally, to begin to take seriously the influences of colonialism.

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Author:

World history is peppered with population displacements, forced migrations, and expulsions, and European colonialism was implicated in the forced movement of countless people from the 15th century onwards. The founding of many instruments of international law dealing with forced migration, including the current international refugee regime, were drafted by imperial powers and informed by colonial logics, including ideas of racial hierarchy and civilizational difference. While colonialism may seem, to some, as something of the past, this book argues that colonial logics and assumptions about the world and the various peoples who inhabit it, continues to shape the present in profound ways. This book contributes to an emergent research agenda on postcoloniality and forced migration by bringing forth a thoroughly interdisciplinary collection of chapters dealing with postcolonial contexts from around the world. It explores various histories and geographies of colonial-era forced migration, and the ways in which their legacies continue to shape displacements and our responses to them today. It unsettles presentist and Eurocentric epistemologies, and offers novel insights into the colonial continuities within forced migration governance across the world. In this way, this book urges refugee and forced migration studies, and migration studies more generally, to begin to take seriously the influences of colonialism.

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