Contingency and Plasticity: The Dialectical Re-construction of the Concept of Home in Forced Displacement
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The loss of home as a consequence of war, conflict and displacement urges us to question the concept’s very construction. Although existing spatial and cultural studies on the subject have explored the immaterial characteristics of the construct, they have overlooked its connection to the consciousness and agency of the displaced, which are quintessentially contingent. This article presents a theoretical inquiry into the influence of the processual ambiguity of our cognitive system on the positioning of the concept of home between the temporality of its construct and the plasticity of its agency. Using connections between cognitive plasticity (based on Catherine Malabou’s concept of the freedom of the brain) and spatial plasticity (influenced by Vilém Flusser’s notion of the freedom of the migrant and the construction of the concepts of home), it establishes that the plasticity of migrants’ agency in displacement is an instrumental process in encoding new spatial practices of home-making.
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