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Mediterranean mobilities: the moral geographies of encounters and daily life

Academia Europaea Wrocław Knowledge Hub and Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies University of Wrocław invite students, academic teachers and citizents of Wrocław on a lecture of Profesor Maria Paradiso (University of Sannio in Benevento)

Mediterranean mobilities: the moral geographies of encounters and daily life.

Short outline of the lecture:
The lecture engage in a critical discussion that explores the moral geographies of encounter with difference or sameness in a non-Western country and non-secularized society (Italians in Morocco) and in an European secularized society of North African in Italy. To examine geographies of encounters with difference, we need a ‘merging approach’ that is based both on moral geography and geography of encounters. Secondly, we need to consider not only geo-historical (Gawlewicz, 2016) and processual (Valentine and Sadgrove, 2012) approaches, but also critical perspectives about moral references, assumptions and the transformative nature of encounters vis- à-vis ‘otherness’. The first is an intricate positionality of looking at these issues in North African conditions and policies compared to those in Europe when dealing with a diversified society—that is, those Europeans migrating to and living in Morocco. The second perspective is experiencing life in a non-secular society and in a moderate Muslim country where the relevance of values (impeded, negotiated, struggled) concerning sexual identity and respect for ‘other’ co-exist alongside European snobbism and orientation towards the majority’s people. The third experience is experiencing encounter in Europe both in the perspective of migrants and refugees. In this regard we discuss about Lampedusa as a first station in a bordered controlled European frontier and in light of past political orientation to segregation (post Arab Spring Tunisians refugees in 2012) and current lived difference of migrants from North Africa in Southern Italy. Geography of encounters appears to be built, not only on a geo-historical or processual basis, but precisely on a Europe-Mediterranean cross-evaluation. This might be considered a third position between the usual categories of xenophobia/discrimination and an uncritical, unproblematic integration policy that stems from a purely European mindset. The findings suggest that a moral geography of lived differences need to be scrutinized in light of new contexts of encounters, beyond a Eurocentric mode of thinking, that encompass conditions of reciprocity, different adaptation acceptances and different moralities.

Maria Paradiso

Maria Paradiso, Professor of Political and Economic Geography (University of Sannio, Italy), is the founder and Chair of the International Geographical Union Commission ‘Mediterranean Basin’ and Primary Coordinator of EU FP7 Marie Curie IRSES ‘Euro-Mediterranean Changing Relationships’ (MEDCHANGe) grant n. 612639. She is a board member of the Social Sciences Committee in Academia Europaea (London). Most recent publications on the issue of Mediterranean mobilities in English:


December 14, 2016, 17:00


Willy Brandt Center for German and European Studies University of Wrocław, Strażnicza 1-3, 50-206 Wrocław