The Experience of Migration: From Metaphor to Metamorphosis

  • Thanos Zartaloudis
Keywords: Agamben, Aristotle, Deleuze, Guattari, Metamorphosis, Metaphor, Migration, Paul, Pneuma, Supplication, Threshold


In media, political and lay representations of migrants it remains frequently the case that metaphors are systematically used in racist and demeaning manners, though also, occasionally, in positive ways empathizing with the plight of refugees, migrant communities and the sans papiers. In this piece, however, I wish to note the wider, more personal and speculative reasons as to why metaphors are so frequently used and are, it seems, so widely effective in shaping social perceptions. In late modernity, in the affluent north-west some name the migrant through demeaning metaphors in an attempt to deny their anxiety over their inessence and instability, a pushing away of the common and constant transferal in our species’ shapeshifting linguistic being of the non-linguistic. I think this with and against the use of metaphors towards a sense of metamorphosis, including through a reading of the pneumatic body in Paul.