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Lived experiences of coloniality in third space: from colonial to contemporary lusophone migration into Luxembourg

  • Tavares, Bernardino
  • Tavares Vieira, Aleida Evandra
Publication Date
Jul 27, 2023
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Colonialism and postcolonial encounters have been widely studied within the frame of research on colonizing and colonized countries. However, few research have examined coloniality in ‘third space’ (Bhabha, 1994), that is, in places where ex-colonizers and ex-colonized meet, with sometimes both groups finding themselves in subaltern positions of migrants. This paper focuses on one such group: so-called lusophone migrants and is interested in how their relations unfold outside the Portuguese geographical colonial matrix. Part of a larger project interested in studying whether new solidarities or old hierarchies replay when all lusophones meet and struggle to integrate a new context, the research presented here focuses on one take in particular – and asks whether we see traces in their interaction of what Mignolo has termed ‘coloniality of being’(Mignolo, 2005) - or the everyday remnants of colonial modes and hierarchies, even though individuals share to some extent a language (Portuguese) and lived marginalizing experiences in the new country. Located within an interdisciplinary frame that draws from postcolonial theory and sociolinguistic ethnography to examine how coloniality perdures in intersubjective relations among lusophones, the paper examines the narrative of two Cape Verdean retirees who (re)migrated to Luxembourg in 1971 and 1981, some years before and after the independence of Cape Verde from Portugal (1975), respectively. Collected within a larger ethnographic project, the narratives were chosen because they capture some of these Cape Verdeans and their compatriots’ experiences of everyday struggles in the workplace and social encounters. The paper uses narrative analysis to examine how they report the coloniality of being in lusophone interactions being challenged or perpetuated. Three modes, in particular, are pointed out: jokes and stereotyping, naming, and language use. The paper fosters a critical understanding of lusophone subjects’ interactions beyond Portuguese-speaking states, hence in a third space.

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