Heriot Watt University

UACES 2014 - Cork

Mike Danson:
Partnerships, Networking and Macro-regional Dimensions: Scotland and its Neighbours

In the context of the generation of Structural Fund operational programmes and the referendum on Scottish independence in September 2014, there is much discussion on Scotland's place in Europe. In particular, Scotland has been increasingly compared and contrasted with other small nations, and of the Nordic countries especially. These countries individually and collectively are leading most international league tables of wealth, health and happiness, while the regions of the Nordic and Celtic countries have been leaders for many years in the development of innovative and institutional approaches to sustainable economic development. While each region and nation across Europe is experiencing its own form of crisis and austerity package during the current period, there are the possibilities for international networks and cooperations to provide the forum for learning and collaborating. In this environment, there are discussions over what relationship Scotland should have with Nordic Europe and with the UK, respectively, after the referendum. In particular, there might be expected that there would be an enthusiasm for the concept of a North Sea Macro-region. This paper offers some background as to what a macro-region around the North Sea might be based upon. It examines how institutions such as the regional development agencies and European Partnerships have been involved and responded to the crises in these environments according to a triple helix and smart specialisation approach to regional economic development and whether macro-regional approach is consistent with the foundations for closer cooperation.

Emma Hill:
Reassessing the role of the 'trickster': a consideration of immigrant campaigning in Scotland in a European context

The 'trickster' is a role usually assumed in conditions of liminality. It assumes a position of authority through the mimesis of state qualities, but rather than facilitating a resolution, the trickster usually deceptively leads the subject to further conditions of liminality. The trickster is thus traditionally viewed as a negative figure; however, if performed convincingly, the trickster is ideally positioned to bridge the gap between liminality and the state.
In increasingly pressed times for irregular African migrants in 'Fortress Europe', the possession of 'voice' is coterminously important and difficult. In this paper, I explore how the 'trickster' can be reimagined to provide a liminally-orientated understanding of acts of migrant resistance. I bring together theories of liminality and subalternity to examine how 'voice' can be defined for an irregular migrant, before moving on to consider how, through campaigning, the immigrant-as-'trickster' might insert their voice into hegemonic narrative whilst minimising discursive appropriation. I begin this argument in the context of the Glasgow Bajuni campaign, before moving on to discuss how the themes of the campaign are pertinent to the European counterparts and context.
Through these examinations, I aim to demonstrate the following. Firstly, that adopting the role of the 'trickster' may mitigate discursive appropriation and so may allow a campaign to progress in the public sphere whilst maintaining resistance. Secondly, from a resistive perspective, this incarnation of the 'trickster' is a positive figure rather than the traditional negative figure. Following this and finally, that though contexts may differ across cities and nations, and against stultifying rhetoric to the contrary, these liminally-based acts of resistance legitimise voices that may have before been wilfully unheard.

Máiréad Nic Craith: 
Transcultural/Transnational Literature in German: Discourses of Inclusion/Exclusion

Drawing on original interview material and published memoirs, this presentation focuses on contemporary migrants in Germany who publish in the German language. It explores narratives of belonging from the perspective of authors such as Natascha Wodin, Marica Bodrožić and Ota Filip. The presentation considers migrant creativity in the German language and asks whether a language is enhanced when a writer moves from one language environment to another. The contribution reflects on attitudes towards the German language, both from the perspective of migrants and those whose mother tongue is German. Analysing the categories used to conceptualize transcultural/transnational writings in German, the paper questions whether distinct categories of writing are discourses of inclusion/exclusion. It also raises issues concerning ownership of the German language at the beginning of the 21st Century and queries the extent to which transcultural literature is genuinely accepted as part of the German languascape.

Katerina Strani: 
Theoretical perspectives on the impact of multilingualism in public sphere communication.

This study explores the impact of immigration and multilingualism on communication in the public sphere, with a particular focus on communicative rationality (Habermas, 1984). Multilingualism constitutes an integral part of post-national citizenship, not only in the framework of EU citizenship/public sphere, but also in sub-national public spheres in the form of assemblies, local communities etc. that include migrant citizens and representatives of minority communities. Together with the profusion of new publics, the rise of new media and 'third spaces' of communication (Wright, 2006; Bhabha, 1994), multilingual communication has altered the normative make-up of the public sphere both in terms of structure and communicative nature. 'Emergent publics' (Angus, 2001; Wodak, 2008) and 'subaltern counter-publics' (Fraser, 1993; 1997) are no longer defined solely by their agonistic nature but also of the way this is expressed through their choice of language. Power differentials in multilingual (physical and virtual) public spheres are not rooted in status, education, or access, for instance, but instead on the language chosen for communication. In cases where a lingua franca is chosen, the power differentials that affect communicative rationality are clearer between native and non-native speakers of the lingua franca. Habermas's communicative rationality as the method of communication in public spheres, with its constitutive elements of argumentation, consensus, understanding and intersubjectivity, loses its relevance against this backdrop. Instead, multiple languages representing multiple cultures signify multiple competing rationalities in essentially agonistic public spheres. For these reasons, this study argues that, in attempting to map post-national multilingual citizenship practices, we must move away from Habermas's model of communicative rationality, towards a power-centred approach (cf. Honneth, 2001) in mixed communities that also takes into account the complexities and contingencies (Luhmann, 1995; Bohman, 1996) inherent in multilingual / multicultural communication.