chapter  3
13 Pages

Criticism and Perspectives

WithAnne Ring Petersen, Moritz Schramm, Frauke Wiegand

This chapter engages with the criticism of the term postmigration and investigates the relationship between postmigration and other ‘post-’ terms circulating in academic debates. Three main areas of critique are identified and examined: the prefix ‘post-’ and its supposedly underlying normative status (Paul Mecheril); the critique that the concept assumes the crossing of a historical threshold that forgets or obscures earlier experiences with migration and its historical consequences (Nanna Heidenreich); and the critique that the term ‘postmigrant society’ suggests an overcoming of racialization and culturalization of individuals or groups in society (El-Tayeb). Subsequently, these areas of critique are compared to related debates about ‘post-race’, ‘post-black’ and ‘post-Other’ to sharpen the authors’ own understanding and usage of the term postmigration. Against this background, the concluding part of the chapter introduces the book’s overall working definition of the term, distinguishing between three different aspects of the term: a space-claiming, a space-clearing and a space-creating dimension. As the concept of ‘postmigration’ bypasses clear-cut binaries produced by identity categories (such as the ‘colonizer’ and the ‘colonized’, the ‘migrant’ and the ‘postmigrant’), the authors argue that it may help generate a more complex understanding of the manifold and messy processes of negotiation that give shape to society.