Unrecognisable Lives: Narrating the Right to Be

Angeliki Tsanikidou

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The research will track the migrants’ maritime crossings on unseaworthy vessels and it will attempt to explore the kind of performativity there might be in people laying claim to the right to be alive. Drawing on the continental philosophy of Judith Butler and the ethics of Emmanuel Levinas, my thesis will address the way in which masses of asylum seekers that reach the European shores are encountered as strange others and fall into a category of namelessness, in their attempt to flee atrocities and reach a safe land. It will examine the performative elements inherent in the process of leaving home and turning to the sea as a means of escape. I am interested in discovering why some populations are treated as invisible and how power sets the frame for lives that qualify as recognisable and lives that do not.
I will attempt to revisit the unique role of the theatre in reminding the audience of a common belonging to the world. Detention camp visits and interviews of both asylum seekers and arrival cities’ community members will be important in shedding light on new social realities regarding mass human displacement as well as voicing stories of hope and loss that have been unheard. The paper’s main objective will be to reveal how mimesis, signifying the coming together of Aristotelian poiesis, or action, and aisthesis, or affect, illuminates the unrecognisable, offering something that is largely lacking in social, political and media representation.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSeparated children
Subtitle of host publicationMinori, identità e pratiche dell'appartenenza
EditorsAurelio Angelini
Place of PublicationAriccia
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)978-88-548-9151-7
Publication statusPublished - 15 May 2016


  • Migration studies
  • Narrative analysis

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