Friday, November 02, 2012


I have spent all last month without writing, partly because of life being complicated, partly because every time I sit I am trying to get back to some of the central ideas of this work and figure out what I am doing.  Ok so why am I not in migration, globalization, transnational studies, even when of course this body of work makes a lot of contributions.

Breaking down, first migration. Even if it got complicated with time it still based on a tradition of focusing in point of departure and arrival. The main concern being:1) the problem of strangers in the first world and how to regulate them, 2) why people leave their third world countries (in some cases how to stop them). A lot of these works have a critcal perspective on government concerns and policies and regulation of movement yet they get somehow involved, end up reproducing some state logics even when unwanted. A lot of work criticize state policies, think alternative ways of more fairness with migrants, describe the complexities of migrants lives and their strategies to make a living in te new location, get marveled with hybridity (ok old topic but still in the spirit). All this is very useful, but it brackets movement.

As soon as I state this I have a second voice saying, ok but what about Malkki who is the first to propose the sedentary and nomadic metaphisics way back (and then taken over by many of the mobility people beyond anthro), what about Marcus with the multisited ethnographies and the "follow the people, object, story", what about crossing borders with migrants.  Sure all this are serious engagements with moving, and yet I also see big limitations. Malkki mentions nothing about any travel or movement other than announce that refugees and migrants have a metaphysics other than the state, Marcus talks about studying multiple spaces as different steps in a trajectory, border crossing literature and I could say also filmography, discuss the hardship and embodied tensions of getting into a country, they do  describe trips and this is something I take, yet they can only see the extraordinary of the travels as one time events, a hardship that ends either with tragedy or settlement (or settlement in constant tragedy). 

 There are very interesting descriptions of the hardship of illegal immigrants arriving to a new place, and this type of movement is well explained, yet this is only one type of movement. Maybe we could link these narratives about african migrants to europe with the border crossing (thanks Sara K for this idea), very hard travels, with people profiting from despair, people almost dying in a container box to make it to europe. These descriptions sometimes slide into the descriptions of human traffic, this new concept and object of concern, yet critiqued by many authors including Bloch here. So this is a very specific mobility, one that has to be carefully examined yet not the only relevant one.

What I see missing is an engagement in movement as material practice, movement as relevant moment (so Malkki and Marcus are totally interested in it yet they bracket it), movement as ongoing and not a one time event (as border studies or migrant studies that follow one time event of migration). My critique is that the migration literature, even great work as Lissa Malkki on refugees leaves a whole gap by not asking how exactly travel happens and what role does it have as people "settle" in a new location (ie do people travel more often the first years and then less, is it the opposite, do people need to establish first and then start to travel, is it travel only "back" where is back?, is it only one place? is travel an obligation, pleasure a combination, etc etc etc).

Ok globalization lit. has been crticized largely. Of course HArvey, great great contributions,  Sakia Sassen and the new shape of cities  i was never convinced by how this was useful other than a description), Jameson advanced capitalism, interesting. But of course all  the critiques come fast,  especially from the feminist front, that raise in the late 1990s Massey, Ong, and many others. They ask who exactly has access to time space compression and who remains even more entrapped, who accesses these flows, where can we see advanced capitalism if we have never been modern, had the third world been always post-modern then? Flow remainsan obscure concept, as an abstract force delocalizing people, ideas, objects, rendering invisible all the ships, trains, charter workers, as if teletransportation was the main source of displacement (For an advanced critique to Flow see Rockefeller).

Then we have the transnational studies, really interesting stuff, cutting edge, lots of funding directed to these research, big stars being created. The literature makes one big step in the line of my critique, and say ok we have people living dual lifes, nuclear families spread between two or more nations, people coming and going across different states, what does it mean to be a citizen then? does it mean anything anymore (here enter all the debates on citizenship, sovereignty, across the social sciences). In anthropology, Aiwa Ong and flexible citizenship and an introduction of the changes of the intimate in the contemporary, what happens in non western elites, what happens with gender, what happens with family, brings the new notions "astronaut father", "astronaut children" pushes the field of anthropology to see the local in a differnt way and all social sciences to see the detail and the intimate, and not only talk about policies and numbers. Feminist saying we need to see simultaneously the global and the intimate (Pratt). Many engage with the work by Appadurai and the -scapes as a the apearence of culture in other place as people move and take culture with them. In this line emerges the work on transnational identities  (here again tanks Sara K), mostly always dual, Costa Rica in New York, Japan in Brazil, etc,etc etc. All of this is great.

Ong the new intimate, the new family, the new citizenship, the new nation state, the novel identities, the culture spreading outside the local. And yet how exactly does movement take place and what are the means of movement, what is the frequency,  what is the preference, what other spaces that are not the nations state emerge or get infolded into te movement, all this is not so explored. Appadurai leaves a lot of questions, how scapes are made, how exactly they work, how they travel, what is beyond resignifying. In the line of dualities as the Ricos in NY (can't remember references), how are this simultaneous belongings maintained, what is the role of traveling stuff, of course all the literature of remittances  packages and communication, but also ow is the access, how space gets connected and not only "transformed", do people move to several places, how do they move, what do they move with them, what do they send, how do they infold Ny and send it to CR, not just CR in NY. Here the work of Peters who studies urban indigenous is very interesting, she proposes that moving out of a reservation and into the city is comparable to  a transnational movement and thus uses this literature to understand it. But again travel is mentioned on a side as necessary consequence of the fact people had to leave their place, she sees the work of reconnection traveling back has, but it does not appear to do much more than that, reproducing romantic notions of indigenous attachment to land. 

I find  all this literature is very much following state logics, even if they may be very critical, they seem to either celebrate or be terrified by the state being destroyed by the flows, the identities becoming mobile and multiple, citizenship put into question. The tendency in this literature is to reassure the idea of the state as sedentary (Malkki), as if state could not deal with flows, with making heirachies in the  difference (I wont say multiplicity), and again not much room for studying the work that movement does, as an action, as a material trajectory of bodies shaping and not juts cutting and destroying space. Here Virilio stands alone, only retaken by Deleuze, and people who now study moving militarism, but not so much to think mundane relations. Virilio sayin ok if we want to see power we have to pay attention to speed, not holding a place but who controls, polices the street (hardt and negri put this in the centre). Simple idea, and huge change of perspective. Sate, and power  is mobile too. So then we better hurry and start think how to study movement as movement, and not as effect over static stuff (citizenship, nation, state, identity, etc).

Also if all sociality is shaped by either state and/or capital, by being centre or marigin / advanced margin, there is no room for superposed territorialities,  assemblages of power and subordinate, intimate relations between moving people, objects, information, chains of moving goods that result from friendship. I think the big problem is thus to give all the credit to these structured power relations and think their are the only existing ones, the only to be thought about, and let them be the only big idea shaping your field.    

I guess I would link the literature on circular migration and rural to urban more to this literature as they also stress dual lives, between rural village and city suburb, again it is mostly dual. Yet this literature does show cyclical travel (and not just one), the logistics of travel, the transformation of space resulting from the rythmical translation.

Finally mobility enters. Brought by all the british who bring us back to material relations yet do not offer a unified field of solutions to the previous problems. Probably the first is  John Urry and his work on tourism. How is he different from migration and transnationality (I was not very clear about this, just recently thought about this)? The main thing is he distinguishes tourism from permanent relocation (migrants), and travel to work (transnationals), thus he opens up space to think of other "flows" that are not only economic and national, that are not the main problem of governments who need to control its citizens (only a problem in regards to how to take profit of it). Also great he both focuses on the production of knowledge and the production and infrastructure of movement in his foundational "Toursit Gaze".  Then he is taken as one of the founders of the mobility turn, yet a lot conflates in this new field and it is not very clear how it is absolutely different from for example the field of migration, the journal Mobilities includes an interest in migration and transmigration and also in the Appadurai line of moving ideas. When taken as a field a skeptic and transnational-studies-faithful-reader would say, "so why create a new field and a new concept in the end we research lives in between different nations". So all the specificities Urry may bring are dissolved in the making of the field.

Ok it is not just Urry, we have Tim Cresswell who studies train bumps and in 2006 publishes one of the general texts of the turn, "On the Move", pretty interesting, opens up a lot, collects a lot f the interesting stuff, jumps form topic to topic. Not mind blowing and not at all making clear what exactly the contribution of the "turn" is. Then of course we have Thrift, always interesting, always focusing on movement, what disintegrates, the unstable, the limit, and all the non representational theory etc etc.  I have sometimes a hard time with him, his theory are a bit obscure and  it is hard to follow how he puts the ideas to work, what exactly he achieves with the grand theoretical aparatus. But I follow him and share most of his interest. What I like the best is the spatialization and affectiveness of power in neoliberalism, when he goes large scale.

Form the British front also Tim Ingold, anthropologist, interesting yet not very usable, also grand theory mash up of interesting stuff, similar concerns, but his analysis is not totally mind blowing and the theory is too of a mush to make it work elsewhere. He has an interesting development of walking, and he does a very compelling methodological  intervensions, using journals, media, walking with others, something absolutely necessary if the turn is a turn. Then Urry  takes over the attribute of being a founding father  and  publishes "mobilities" in 2007 trying to sum up, define and make a program.  I do not think the book is so convincing as it was his claim of the need to take tourism seriously, but makes a couple of contributions. Yes he makes an great genealogy, yes he mentions the need to have mobile frameworks of society and abandon sedentary perspectives (but the way he does it is a bit too ambitious,  Virilio is probably one of the ones who did this, but without announcing itand then Deleuze and Guattari, and so on), also he does say we have to examine the material conditions of movement, yes I think this is central. On the other hand he establishes bullet points for his program and it seems that more than less researchers are doing this. Again it is not totally clear  what the mobility turn contributes to the social sciences, more than the claim of doing something new. A key contribution though is his claim for a need to study infrastructure, so moving beyond the airport as a metaphor of globalization, to the airport as a machine that makes people travel thousands of kilometers (and if I ever read one more article about airports I want to hear about pilots and mechanics and steward and newspaper vendors and about the homeless sleeping in it -there was one art about this really great-, and maybe the physics of the airplane). Ok so I like Urry but in spite  I have wished that his "Mobilities" was going to be a cornerstone for my dissertation it is not at all, I share the general ideas, follow his need of the study of the material conditions, but find no specificity that help me think my fieldwork. Virilio ,with all his crazy writing about the speed of missiles and disable people in a tank, was more present as I did field work. Finally I should mention as part of the turn Mimi Sheller, the only female and the only non british, based in New mobilities research centre in Philadelphia. I have not read her work, shared a panel with her, she seems to be very interesting and she does work with Urry in the mobile technologies line. I guess in the specific research and when they talk about mobilities in plural it is easier to see the newness and specificity, as they can go much further than any migration or just translocal type of analysis, I can't say much about her, I will have to read.     

All this to say I guess i am trying to see how some of the critical theory can inform my work with a perspective on movement, also being aware I am not breaking apart from all  the contributions of these lines of inquiery. With the last field in particular I have an ambiguous position. I have all these interests in common I hopefully work on mobility at the centre, yet as disperse and diverse movement this movement is and because I cannot totally explain what I experience in the field only using the mobilities literature,  I cannot only position as part of the grand young turn. Rather I may bring even more diversity by using diverse theory that makes sense. 

So, this is a whole post on what my work is not, I guess soon I will have to post about what it is, and I will go back to space and power geometries (Massey), which in the end interests me more than airports and dual citizenship (with all due respect). And I will bring  some exceptions form these big lines that I do find useful. And I guess I should do the same with, maybe affect and race, even when I am not sure yet what exactly I am doing in the fields. Mobility-space, race (here enters all the postcolonial too I guess),  affect, I guess those are my keywords, and i guess I will have to make a long explanation of why indigeneity is only a tangent or why I was tired to stay in that field alone.   [The only thing  I do know is I have downloaded many articles by Saldanha yesterday, just finding he has some similar interests.]


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

lefebvre and rythm

Just a quick idea. I have tended to not use Lefebvre so much on this research, althought he is always already there on my basic ideas of space. However I was thinking how does Lefebvre deal with mobility, and of course in P of S, his whole notion of space has embodied movement at the centre, his notion of production, is not abstract but highlighting the physical work in space. Reproduction is not only economic but biological and social, and again in space.  
It seems to be his late work Rythmanalysis (published in 1985, 11 years latter to his p of S) one of the more explicit discussions of the relation of time and space and thus in a way movement too. Have not sat down to red it, but what I get. He distinguishes cyclical form linear rythms,  the first based on repetition and the other on flow. He makes a whole reflection on perception but I am not very interested in that discussion. (I will have to go back to bergson eventually, he is a tough project, see how lef, bergson relate and how they are diff form merleau ponty, uff too psychological).
What I understand is, in a very marxist way, he says something of the sort of: ok what we experience as the social world (and he puts the body and the body of the analysts in the centre again) is just a end result of rythms unfolding in time-space, we have to follow these unfoldings and ask how they actually work, not be fooled by the apparent staticism." I make my own marxist example, the commodity or a trivial habit, its fetishism,  being there so nice and comfortable but then what are the rythms that make it and what is it doing in the log run. In the end he is saying something  similar to Lautour in reassembling, I think, with the difference of the fetish (I am still not sure where I stand with the fetish, I tend to like ZIzek critique to Ideology as the structure of the world and not as false ideas, so then to think of fetish has no point). Also if we tarsnported to historical time it has something of the long duree maybe.
Anyways I need to study this better but two things, one, the distinction of circular and flow is good for thinking the Toba travels, two, is useful to think about the experience in the city of the Tobas as adjusting their rythms to the one of the city, from naps and sleep-awake times, to speed of walking in the city, inetrvals in a conversation, there is a lot of that in the arrival and the urge to go back.

Mmm ok maybe this rythm is not exactly the same as mobility but a concept that can be combined with it, to think about  mobilities.


habit and mad men

I wrote this a year ago and never published it, I was probably planing to make it longer. Here it goes.

This blog has changed quite a bit since the times of my comps and the time I was dwelling in exciting books. It is still my scarp book on whatever. Now, with interrupted sleep, three months of maternity leave that just ended, and a few hours of work, I have somehow done an important update in pop culture, and series in particular. If most of the shows are viewed with Rendija, Mad Men, is the one I reserve for myself, for the long hour of sun set when F is to tired to play but resists to sleep.   

I watched the complete first season did not get the excitement everyone was talking about. Yes, the art is great, to be transported to the 60s is exciting, the acting is good, it shows interesting stuff "how much people smoked! sexual harassment is not even a word! men in power could drink at work and anytime!" And yes Mad Men is about women, and puts us in a position in which you cry for feminism to appear. In regards to feminism however is a very delicate path they chose, I am not totally convinced it is only about the inevitabilty of feminism but also almost a nostalgic view on what was to be a man back then in some moments it even seems apologetic "look gender relations where like this and it was not that bad after all, women looked beautiful back then spending two hours a day making their hair" it is a complicated deviation.

It was however the second season the one that captured me finally. Maybe because I could connect to the characters more as it presented more dimensions of each,  and is not about men drinking whiskey and the pretty secretaries they sleep with. But it was the accumulation of small  habits what kept me wanting to watch more.  The secretary with a total sunburn on her skin, the wife cleaning after a picnic by throwing garbage to the grass, the texture of the sofas, the dyes making dresses red in a certain way, the kids lying on the floor over a synthetic carpet  watching TV, commuting on the train, to bring all this back and show us how all is so similar and only slightly different today, I think that is the key of the series, at least to me.     

Monday, October 29, 2012


Despues de 2 anyos tengo un rato para trabajar en mi lugar preferido de la biblioteca donde milagrosamente hay lugar. Acabo de tomar un cafe con un amigo (momentos q le dan sentido al estar aca, en esta institucion horrible) con el que discutimos esto de ser migrantes, el futuro laboral incierto, los planes para terminar y el sentido de la politica de uno aca en canada. Trato de reproducir la charla por que dijo cosas tan interesantes q me apena no haberlo grabado.
Nos convoca hablar de los barrios marginales en Delhi y Bs As y que perspectivas estamos usando para pensarlos. Me habla que su trbajo va a ser mas bien una etnografia del estado y de la dependencia de los barrios en los que trabajo de la politicas publicas. Esos barrios pueden barrerse de un plumazo ante cualquier cambio de politica. Le hablo de las perspectivas q se entrecruzan en mi caso, por un lado toda la lit de marginalidad pero q no es lo que quiero mostrar, por otro lado migraciones y redes pero mucho de eso me aburre, sin embargo tengo q halar de eso y rescatar las cosas interesantes, latour por un lado, mencionar las linea en migraciones pero no es exactamente lo mismo. Ahi entra Guha (que reaparece despues del seminario de verano hace 3 mas de anyos ) yo digo territorialidad, consanguinidad, contiguidad, el completa: inversion, transmision, comunicacion no escrita, insurgencia. Me dice q le resulta apropiado qu se ve la conxion, q le resuena a lo que no se quien llama insurgent citizenship, en el sentido de grupos sociales que no encajan hacen cosas no ilegales pero fuera de la norma y ahi desafian la norma, soon insurgentes por el mero estar ahi y ocupar un espacion en la ciudad. Y si me dice, al parecer los Tobas estan ahi y estan haciendo todo eso, conectandose por estos medios informales, q se los considero iracionales, supersticiosos y prepolitticos, pero Guha dice q hay q dar credito en si mismos no como algo pre o proto como diria Hobsbawm o como intenta capturar el nacionalismo indio. Le pregunto si hay mucha critica, me dice q no, q se lo toma en serio, q esta ok seguirlo a el. Hablamos de James Scott como seguidor de esta linea, le digo por q me gusta mas Guha, aunq Scott no esta mal, lo descartan muy rapido me parece a mi.

(pasa un pibe con una remaera del union, solo faltan 15 min, vamos al strike de una hora en un depto, estoy por cerrar esto tambien)  

Le hablo de soberania y si  llevar a Guha para el lado de Foucault, no una soberania alternativa pero si superpuesta. Me dice q suena bien, pero q si no estoy haciendo un argumento en relacion al estado y la historia de la construccion de soberania suena un poco superficial llevarlo ahi, para q introducir el concepto sin mirar el proceso en profundidad, no gano nada. So what.

Despues seguimos hablando de varias cosas, esto es lo central q queria reproducir rapido. Mas luego 

Friday, July 20, 2012

la buena crianza, la mosca y las lineas temporales

Quería escribir este post en Enero. La entrada iba a ser por el cumpleaños de Franka y por dejar algo que sintetice el período arbitrario de ese año con ella. Ahora Franka tiene  un año y medio, pero igual sigo con la misma sensacion: ser parte de la llegada de una persona nueva al mundo es más parecido a ser un personaje de una serie de ciencia ficcion que el interlocutor de todos los textos que interpelen a los "padres" (que pena q en castellano no existe la paretnhood que sea neutro en genero, aunque parenthood no es ta neutro).

Digamos, en todo este año lei una que otra vez el libro canadiense de tips basicos para crianza de bebes y niños (en especial me convocan los tips sobre dieta por que nosotros tenemos habitos de comer mucho sanwich y mucho fideo y no da alimentarla a Franka de esa forma), pero más que nada lei cosas sobre buenas practicas parentales desde un lugar casi voyeristico, sorprendida por la obsecion norteamerica por regular lo inregulable, por tener control sobre lo que más les cuesta : otra persona, fluidos imparables, ciclos y rutinas que cambian constantemente, un cuerpo-persona que siempre es nuevo y extraño y a la vez desata amor descontrolado, un cuerpo-persona que primero crece y se siente sin verse, despues aparece y te mira, despues cambia y se expande sin parar, una vez que uno se acostumbro ya se esta convirtiendo en otra cosa, uno desde afuera se maravilla y pregunta donde quedo la version mas pequeña pero se fascina de toso lo que ahora puede hacer este cuerpo expandido. Asi los libros compartimentan en topicos medicos el cuidado de la persona nueva, su "alimentacion", "desarrollo fisico", "sueño", "desarrollo emocional" y ya que estamos te van diciendo como disciplinar, aunque sea supuestamente sin disciplinar, a la persona nueva y la familia en su conjunto.

Pero la idea que me convoca, ser madre es mas parecido a lo que les pasa a los personajes de ciencia ficcion que lo que cuenta cualquier libro medico. Primer ejemplo.  Cuando estaba embarazada sin ser demaciado consiente saque de la biblioteca la pelicula "la mosca". No era lo mejor para ver embarazada por que hay bastantes imagenes  para armar pesadillas, y sin embargo era una gran pelicula que hablaba de muchas de las grades preguntas que surgen. De donde sale un cuerpo nuevo, cual es el limite de un ser humano y como se recrea igual igual pero diferente otro humano, que es exactamente un ser individual y cuales son los limites si los tiene, hasta donde llega el amor por algo organico en transformacion, cuando es vida, cuando es persona, cuando son celulas. No se si un poco condicionada por la morfina que me dieron en el quirofano, pero mi primer idea cuando la vi a Franka fue pensar "que suerte, es humana, no es gato". Por algun motivo en ese momento nada era seguro.

Y los meses que siguieron a la llegada al mundo exterior, algo que mantuvimos constante fue mirar tele a la noche. Aunque estuvieramos durmiendo 4 horas entrecortadas en 6 ciclos de 30 minutos (cuando le salieron varios dientes a la vez), miramos tele. Y ahi de nuevo los predilectos nos dieron mas que pensar sobre nuestro nuevo estado que cualquier de esos libros que lei con placer morboso. Los preferidos fueron Dr. Who primero y Fringe segundo. Este es mi segundo ejemplo.

Las lineas temporales es otra de las variables fuertes que me atravesaron cuando Porot y luego Franka fueron apareciendo. La pregunta clasica de que pasaba si era otro mes en el que se juntaban las celulas, u otras celulas las que se juntaban, o si no pasaba nunca. Cada una de esas variables que son bien factibles eran una persona diferente. Por supuesto lo mismo con cada persona, todos producto de unas casualidades inmensas, azares con variantes de numeros gigantescos. Ahi era mucho mas enriquecedor ponerse a mirar Dr Who, y pensar  si creemos que hay i no puntos fijos en el pasado  y otros que pueden cambiar (o todo podrian cambiar). CAda vriante un universos paralelos y cada una de las que detectamos nos hace pensar en ese universo paralelo que se podria haber abierto (nosotros y  amigos que tomarian otras direcciones en sus vidas, que viven en otros lugares con otras personas, otros hijos, otras familias). Tambien en el que estamos y todos los que se abren en cada momento. Que universo tomar, o cual nos toma.
Y por ultimo de los viajeros en el tiempo, por supeusto proyectar para adelante y para atraz, la llegada de Franka adentro de cadenas de cuerpos que se recrearon diferentes desde no sabemos bien cuanto. A la vez la certeza del ciclo, de si todo va bien pasara Franka a ser adulta y nosotros los adultos mayores del futuro y que van a llegar mas personas nuevas ahora absolutamente inimaginables pero que van a estar ahi aseverantes como si siempre hubieran estado. En fin estamos en la temporada 6 de Dr Who ahora, me costo un poco los pibes estos nuevo pero ya lo acepte y mas que nada creo que Moffat es un muy buen escritor, q presenta siempre historias interesantes y giros y detalles que te sacuden siempre un poco y te mantienen alerta.

Ahora vuelvo a  tesis parte de mi universo las tesis que se suceden desde el 2003.



Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Out of the Chaco

The section I am working on now has taken its own way. As usual it started in intuition, moved into an attempt to organize the ethnography,  when I wrote down the anecdotes I was made to think new issues, and now I need to clarify everything.

I wanted to present the complexity of Toba's movement to Buenos Aires and contend that those movements are beyond the economic causes. Of course Tobas were having a hard time in the Chaco, but why travel at a particular time, why some people and not all, why some people who are not among the ones in the worst situation. It is nor  just about "cultural practice" of moving,  why then Buenos Aires, why an argument with a boss triggers the movement in one case then. Finally it is not only about "politics" in its restrictive sense, is not the direct result of land expulsion or a move to make more effective claims. But in addition it is not just about escaping "patriarchal oppression" or for women to access work and education. I am trying to show that all these may be general backround for the migration, of course defining possibilities of how and when people move. However in the life histories what trigger the movement are particular moments that combine the specifics of the trajectory of that person and the broad political fields he is part of.

Lorenzo, he worked since he was a child, he was always exploited, always poor, but he moved to Buenos Aires when they do not give him work, when the union suggest he can pose a demand in Buenos Aires. He also links movement to being an orphan, with no clear direction and teachings.

Andrea moves to keep company to a sister, to take the opportunity for her extended family to own a house in Buenos Aires where they could all stay at if needed.  She does not want to move and her father sends her.

Carlos moves because he is tired, he has two daughters, he wants them to go to school and high-school. He is also an orphan.

Carolina follows her husband and they both escape sorcery because they are doing well.

Raul and Julio move after the military service, there they get skills and connections that make them want to explore Buenos Aires.

Estefania moves because she is doing well, she is young and organizing youth groups of the church, her father considers her strong and insists she moves and works in Buenos Aires.
I started the chapter wanting to argue that movements result of the way politics affect the personal trajectories of people. However now this is a bit big, too vague. If I talk about affect and affection is about the encounters,  the variations of ideas in the first case and the variation of the body in the second. I am not sure if I can unify these experiences, and yet moving all of them is related with a strength of the people moving and an intervention to shape (enhance) their capacity of action, in some cases the possibilities of a whole family. At the same time is not a single but multiple trajectories and multiple points that turn into going to Bs. As.

Many parts of Deleuze class on Spinoza I was rereading today to think this through this. 

What is called an idea, in the sense in which everyone has always taken it in the history of philosophy, is a mode of thought which represents something. A representational mode of thought.

we call affect any mode of thought which doesn’t represent anything. So what does that mean? Take at random what anybody would call affect or feeling, a hope for example, a pain, a love, this is not representational. There is an idea of the loved thing, to be sure, there is an idea of something hoped for, but hope as such or love as such represents nothing, strictly nothing.

here is a primacy of the idea over the affect for the very simple reason that in order to love it’s
necessary to have an idea, however confused it may be, however indeterminate it may be, of
what is loved.

....the formal reality of the idea, shall we say, is—but then in one blow it becomes
much more complicated and much more interesting—the reality of the idea insofar as it is
itself something. It’s necessary just to add that this formal reality of the idea will be what Spinoza very often terms a certain degree of reality or of perfection that the idea has as such. As such, every idea has a certain degree of reality or perfection. Undoubtedly this degree of reality or perfection is connected to the object that it represents, but it is not to be confused with the object. the affect by saying that affect is precisely a mode of thought which has no representational character. Now I come to define the idea by the following: every idea is something, not only is it the idea of something but it is something, that is to say it has a degree of reality which is proper to it.

 Spinoza employs the term “automaton”: we are, he says, spiritual automata, that is to say it is less we who have the ideas than the ideas which are affirmed in us. What also happens, apart from this succession of ideas? There is something else, that is, something in me never ceases to vary. There is a regime of variation which is not the same thing as the succession of ideas themselves. “Variations” must serve us for what we want to do, the trouble is that he doesn’t employ the word.

(variation) of my force of existing, or another word he employs as a synonym: vis existendi, the
force of existing, or potentia agendi, the power [puissance] of acting, and these variations are
perpetual. I would say that for Spinoza there is a continuous variation—and this is what it means to
exist—of the force of existing or of the power of acting.

He means that the idea indeed has to be primary in relation to the affect, the idea and the affect are two things which differ in nature, the affect is not reducible to an intellectual comparison of ideas, affect is constituted by the lived transition or lived passage from one degree of perfection to another, insofar as this passage is determined by ideas; but in itself it does not consist in an idea, but rather constitutes affect.

The three kinds of ideas that Spinoza distinguishes are affection (affectio) ideas; we’ll see that
affectio, as opposed to affectus, is a certain kind of idea. There would thus have been in the
first place affectio ideas, secondly we arrive at the ideas that Spinoza calls notions, and thirdly,
for a small number of us because it’s very difficult, we come to have essence ideas. Before
everything else there are these three sorts of ideas.

What is an affection (affectio)? I see your faces literally fall... yet this is all rather amusing. At
first sight, and to stick to the letter of Spinoza’s text, this has nothing to do with an idea, but it
has nothing to do with an affect either. Affectus was determined as the continuous variation of
the power of acting. An affection is what? In a first determination, an affection is the following:
it’s a state of a body insofar as it is subject to the action of another body. What is an affection of your body? Not the sun, but the action of the sun or the effect of the sun on you. In other words an effect, or the action that one body produces on another, once it’s noted that Spinoza, on the basis of reasons from his Physics, does not believe in action at a distance, action always implies a contact, and is even a mixture of bodies. Affectio is a mixture of two bodies, one body which is said to act on another, and the other receives the trace of the first. Every mixture of bodies will be termed an affection.

What I’ve defined up to now is solely the increase and diminution of the power of acting, and
whether the power of acting increases or diminishes, the corresponding affect (affectus) is
always a passion. Whether it be a joy which increases my power of acting or a sadnesss
which diminishes my power of acting, in both cases these are passions: joyful passions or sad
passions. Yet again Spinoza denounces a plot in the universe of those who are interested in
affecting us with sad passions. The priest has need of the sadness of his subjects, he needs
these subjects to feel themselves guilty. The auto-affections or active affects assume that we
possess our power of acting and that, on such and such a point, we have left the domain of the
passions in order to enter the domain of actions.   

So when my power of acting increases, it means that I am then relatively less separated, and inversely, but I am still formally separated from my power of acting, I do not possess it. In other words, I am not the cause of my own affects, and since I’m not the cause of my own affects, they are produced in
me by something else: I am therefore passive, I’m in the world of passion.   

You recall that an affection-idea is a mixture, that is to say the idea of an effect of a body on
mine. A notion-idea no longer concerns the effect of another body on mine, it’s an idea which
concerns and which has for its object the agreement or disagreement of the characteristic
relations between two bodies. I would say that the nominal definition of the notion is that it’s an idea
which, instead of representing the effect of a body on another, that is to say the mixture of two
bodies, represents the internal agreement or disagreement of the characteristic relations of
the two bodies. A notion is not at all abstract, it’s quite concrete: this body here, that body there.

What is common to all bodies? For example, being in movement or at rest. Movement and rest will be objects of notions said to be common to all bodies. Therefore there are common notions which designate something common to all bodies. There are also common notions which designate something
common to two bodies or to two souls...

... if you consider yourself as affected with sadness, I believe that everything is wretched, there is no longer an exit for one simple reason: nothing in sadness, which diminishes your power of acting, can induce you from within sadness to form a notion common to something which would be common to the bodies which affect you with sadness and to your own. For one very simple reason, that the body which affects you with sadness only affects you with sadness to the extent that it affects you in a
relation which does not agree with your own. Spinoza means something very simple, that sadness makes no one intelligent. In sadness one is wretched. It’s for this reason that the powers-that-be [pouvoirs] need subjects to be sad.

n an affect of joy, therefore, the body which affects you is indicated as combining its
relation with your own and not as its relation decomposing your own. At that point, something
induces you to form a notion of what is common to the body which affects you and to your own
body, to the soul which affects you and to your own soul. In this sense joy makes one intelligent.

Spinoza doesn’t think at all like a rationalist, among the rationalists there is the world of reason and there are the ideas. If you have one, obviously you have all of them: you are reasonable. Spinoza thinks that being reasonable, or being wise, is a problem of becoming, which changes in a singular fashion the contents of the concept of reason. It’s necessary to know the encounters which agree with
you. No one could ever say that it’s good for her/him when something exceeds her/his power
of being affected.

But if we knew in what order the relations of the whole universe are combined, we could define a power of being affected of the whole universe, which would be the cosmos, the world insofar as it’s a body or a soul. At this moment the whole world is only one single body following the order of relations which are combined. At this moment you have, to speak precisely, a universal power of being affected: God, who is the whole universe insofar as He is its cause, has by nature a universal power of being affected. It’s useless to say that he’s in the process of using the idea of God in a strange manner.

Spinoza proposes the opposite: instead of summarizing of our sadnesses, taking a local point of departure on a joy on the condition that we feel that it truly concerns us. On that point one forms the common notion, on that point one tries to win locally, to open up this joy.

What Spinoza calls singular essence, it seems to me, is an intensive quality, as if each one
of us were defined by a kind of complex of intensities which refers to her/his essence, and
also of relations which regulate the extended parts, the extensive parts. So that, when I have
knowledge [connaissance] of notions, that is to say of relations of movement and rest which regulate the agreement or disagreement of bodies from the point of view of their extended
parts, from the point of view of their extension, I don’t yet have full possession of my essence
to the extent that it is intensity.

The third kind of knowledge, or the discovery of the essence-idea, occurs when, on the basis of the
common notions, by a new dramatic turn, one happens to pass into this third sphere of the
world: the world of essences. There one knows in their correlation what Spinoza calls—in any
case one cannot know the one without the other—the singular essence which is mine and the
singular essence which is God’s and the singular essence of external things.

... from the point of view of relations which govern the extended parts of a body or a
soul, the extensive parts, all bodies do not agree with one another; if you arrive at a world of
pure intensities, all these are supposed to agree with one another. At that moment, the love
of yourself and at the same time, as Spinoza says, the love of things other than you, and at the
same time the love of God, and the love God bears for Himself, etc... What interests me in this
mystical point is this world of intensities. There, you are in possession, not merely formally but
in an accomplished way. It’s no longer even joy, Spinoza finds the mystical word beatitude or
active affect, that is to say the auto-affect. But this remains quite concrete.

Monday, November 21, 2011

evento y pliegue

No se muy bien como voy a hacer con estos ds niveles, estoy escribiendo sobre la bien empirica marcha indigena del bicentenario y de golpe necesito leer esto para contestar preguntas que me surgen de q estoy hablando exactamente, por que elijo la marcha para empezar la tesis, donde empieza y termina la marcha, pfff en fin. y a la vez para que discutir con deleuze si no termino de entender nunca que quiere decir (en el buen sentido, no se si me puedo sentar a charlar con el o no), mas bien lo puedo incorporar torpemente y seguir adelante.  

from the Fold, Leibniz and the Baroque, translated by Tom Conley, the University of Minnesota Press, 1992.

That is clearly the first component or condition of both Whitehead's and Leibniz's definition of the event: extension. Extension exists when one element is stretched over the following ones, such that it is a whole and the following elements are its parts. Such a connection of whole-parts forms an infinite series that contains neither a final term nor a limit (the limits of our senses being excepted). The event is a vibration with an infinity of harmonics or submultiples, such as an audible wave, a luminous wave, or even an increasingly smaller part of space over the course of an increasingly shorter duration. For space and time are not limits but abstract coordinates of all series, that are themselves in extension: the minute, the second, the tenth of a second. . . . Then we can consider a second component of the event: extensive series have intrinsic properties (for example, height, intensity, timbre of a sound, a tint, a value, a saturation of color), which enter on their own account in new infinite series, now converging toward limits, with the relation among limits establishing a conjunction. Matter, or what fills space and time, offers characters that always determine its texture as a function of different materials that are part of it. No longer are these extensions but, as we have seen, intensions, intensities, or degrees. It is something rather than nothing, but also this rather than that: no longer the indefinite article, but the demonstrative pronoun. How remarkable that Whitehead's analysis, based on mathematics and physics, appears to be completely independent of Leibniz's work even though it coincides with it!
Then comes the third component, which is the individual. There the confrontation with Leibniz is the most direct. For Whitehead the individual is creativity, the formation of a New. No longer is it the indefinite or the demonstrative mood, but a personal mood. If we call an element everything that has parts and is a part, but also what has intrinsic features, we say that the individual is a "concrescence" of elements. This is something other than a connection or a conjunction. It is, rather, a prehension: an element is the given, the "datum" of another element that prehends it. Prehension is individual unity. Everything prehends its antecedents and its concomitants and, by degrees, prehends a world. The eye is a prehension of light. Living beings prehend water, soil, carbon, and salts. At a given moment the pyramid prehends Napoleon's soldiers (forty centuries are contemplating us), and inversely. We can say that "echoes, reflections, traces, prismatic deformations, perspective, thresholds, folds" are prehensions that somehow anticipate psychic life. The vector of prehension moves from the world to the subject, from the prehended datum to the prehending one (a "superject"); thus the data of a prehension are public elements, while the subject is the intimate or private element that expresses immediacy, individuality, and novelty. But the prehended, the datum, is itself a preexisting or coexisting prehension, such that all prehension is a prehension of prehension, and the event thus a "nexus of prehensions." Each new prehension becomes a datum. It becomes public, but for other prehensions that objectify it; the event is inseparably the objectification of one prehension and the subjectification of another; it is at once public and private, potential and real, participating in the becoming of another event and the subject of its own becoming.
Beyond the prehending and the prehended, prehension offers three other characteristics. First, the subjective form is the way by which the datum is expressed in the subject, or by which the subject actively prehends the datum (emotion, evaluation, project, conscience . . . ). It is the form in which the datum is folded in the subject, a "feeling" or manner, at least when prehension is positive. For there are negative prehensions that exist as long as the subject excludes certain data from its concrescence, and is thus only filled by the subjective form of this exclusion. Second, the subjective aim assures the passage from one datum to another in a prehension, or from one prehension to another in a becoming, and places the past in a present portending the future. Finally, satisfaction as a final phase, as self-enjoyment, marks the way by which the subject is filled with itself and attains a richer and richer private life, when prehension is filled with its own data. This is a biblical - and, too, a neo-Platonic - notion that English empiricism carried to its highest degree (notably with Samuel Butler). The plant sings of the glory of God, and while being filled all the more with itself it contemplates and intensely contracts the elements whence it proceeds. It feels in this prehension the self-enjoyment of its own becoming.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Escritura y metodo

Hoy no estoy avanzando mucho en la escritura en si, me paso la mañana pensando el orden de lo que voy a presentar en el capítulo. Jugando con tarjetas mientras armaba el esquema general que me guia ahora decidi que cada capitulo sea, a grandes razgos, trayectorias hacia un lugar y la construcción - ensamblaje de ese lugar. Lo que pasa claro que me acerco a este capitulo y las trayectorias son absolutamente distintas, las llegadas y partidas son demaciadas, y eso que no hice un seguimiento exaustivo de muchos casos sino unos muy pocos en profundidad.

Entonces hablo de distintas trayectorias con distintos caminos, en distintos momentos, con distintas velocidades. Y la llegada a un mismo lugar pero que aparece como muchos lugares, distintos y superpuestos. Bueno esto es algo que ya sabia, ahora es un desafio grande la escritura, de eso depende que se pueda hacer honor a esta complegidad o que se pierda en el camino.

Tambien me pregunto si en algun momento me tendria que haber puesto mas sistematica, registrar datos basicos de casi toda la poblacion del barrio hacer algo asi como una encuesta, donde nacieron, donde vivieron, cuando vivieron en cada lugar. En fin, lo pense, pero todos los problemas de hacer esto al final me detuvieron y el registro informal quedo medio trunco. Cuanta gente nacio en la villa y cuantos de la generacion 1.5 vive ahi, en fin.



Migración o movimientos afectivos

Llegué al momento en el que tengo que explicar en la tesis la trayectoria del Chaco a Buenos Aires. Por supuesto toda a bibliografía y todos hablamos de los motivos económicos y territoriales que empujan a los tobas afuera del Chaco. Sin embargo estoy tratando de centrarme en la otra dimensión de estos movimientos. Y los relatos de la gente con la que trabajé me recuerdan que mi obsesión teórica con entender de que va la discusión sobre el afecto no sale de la nada. 

Por ejemplo Lorenzo me explica claramente que llega a Buenos Aires por trabajo. Pero cuando me describe el momento de su migración se cruzan varias otros motivos. Lorenzo es hijo de un cacique importante, de los últimos en concentrar el mando de varios grupos. Es el hijo menor y según el algo así como un preferido de su padre. A los 11 años el padre muere. Antes de morir le intenta pasar poder sobrenatural pero los hermanos mayores celosos de la relación le impiden la entrada al cuarto donde el padre moría e impiden la transmisión. Como suelen hacer ante la muerte, todos abandonan la casa. La madre se recluye con hermanos en otra localidad y lo deja al cuidado de una tía y un tío. A partir de ese momento Lorenzo queda solo y arreglándose por su cuenta. Empieza a trabajar para el ingenio de azúcar, viaja solo, decide donde va a vivir, e incluso se enfrenta solo a seres no humanos que lo persiguen a donde vaya. Pero vive sin guía, sin nadie que lo aconseje. Según sus propios relatos por estar sin guía deja el colegio, deja pasar oportunidades, es ingenuo y se deja engañar por compañeros.  Esa sensación de desamparo lo marca de por vida. 

Entonces su relato de como decide irse a Buenos Aires solo se entiende en ese contexto. Llega la temporada de cosecha en el ingenio y el se presenta a trabajar y le niegan el trabajo. Pero el ve como mucha gente que ha viajado hasta allí para trabajar es empleada. A el, por algún motivo solo le dan unas pocas horas de trabajo. Los capataces que lo conocían  a él de varios años, que lo conocían al padre me explica, lo dejan solo "solito", hace silencio largo, sin trabajo pero también desamparado. Se cansa, piensa que no puede ser que no le den trabajo, toma una dirección que un conocido de paso por las palmas y entonces en buenos aires, le dio y parte a la ciudad en tren.

Al mismo tiempo, y como me sorprendió el relato de Lorenzo en varios puntos, aparece una dimensión de lucha política pero que apenas deja escurrir en su relato y lo presenta como algo menor. Desde mi perspectiva acciones que demuestran coraje y convicción, el las presenta como detalles no relevantes. Así  me contará que estaba con dolor en el pecho (quizás por eso no le dieron trabajo?) y con ayuda del gremio, llego preparado a  presentar una devanada a la compañía de azúcar. Sin embargo los papeles médicos que trae se queman en un incendio a los pocos días de haber llegado a la isla maciel y nunca inicia la demanda. Lo mueve algo mas allá  del desempleo en si y que es el afecto de haberse quedado sin trabajo, la sensación de injusticia y desamparo (si puedo nombrar los afectos) y el enojo (bue pero jaca hablamos de nuevo codificando el afecto y hablo de una emoción, digamos que algo anterior al enojo y también una forma mas bien distinta de lo que seria enojo al menos para mi) de que el ingenio no de respuesta ni reconozca su enfermedad.

Imagen de

Bueno ahora de vuelta a la tesis.   


Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Buenos Aires en el Chaco

Estoy hace dos semanas releyendo historias de vida, feliz de tener esta grabaciones y leerlas y releerlas. Termine el lunes con la de Lorenzo (seudónimo) persona de mayor edad del barrio y legendario "informante" de generaciones de antropólogo (y me pregunto si tiene sentido usar seudónimo, pero sí). Algo que me sorprendió es que en sus aventuras en el Chaco aparecen en distintos momentos figuras no humanas que remiten a su posterior experiencia en Buenos Aires. Buenos Aires ya y de antemano había determinado su experiencia en el Chaco, incluso antes de haber siquiera imaginado ir para allá.

A los 11 años se le aparece un ser con la capacidad de mutar, que lo sigue y le ronda en distintos momentos de su vida. En este caso toma la forma de tigre. Lo ve primero caminando, cerca de un laguna. Esta vestido de azul y pasa fumando. Deja el cigarrillo se aleja y desaparece entre los pastos para aparecer de nuevo con forma de tigre, rayado. Le pregunto si cuando es humano esta vestido como  gaucho y me dice que no que es el trajecito de trabajador como el que usaba después en el puerto, pero bien limpito.

Otra vez es joven de unos 20 años y esta pescando y ve algo raro, como una lancha pero que no es lancha de verda. No le dice a los compañeros pero esa noche vuelve solo y se encuentra con un puente, igual al punte que años después construyen entre La Boca y Dock Sud.

Estaba mas bien concentrada en los otros desplazamientos, del Chaco a Buenos Aires, o los posteriores de Buenos Aires de vuelta a Chaco pero que son en forma de mercancías, mensajes, noticias. No había considerado como llega Buenos Aires al Chaco antes de que ellos lleguen, y menos aun los desplazamientos no-humanos en los que Buenos Aires de extiende al Chaco.