|Staging Migration: Museographic Representations and Political Discourses in Luxembourg|
|Among all European countries, Luxembourg has the highest proportion of non-nationals: 40 per cents of its inhabitants do not have citizen rights. Moreover, crossborder commuters from neighbouring Belgium, France and Germany contribute to 39 per cent of the GNP.
"Migration" is thus central to all domains of Luxembourg politics: economic, social, education and cultural politics. It is not only a economic and social fact, but also a semiotic and media-based phenomenon, that gets confronted with slogans of "social cohesion" and "national identity".
The proposed conference aims to show, on the one hand, how the staging of historical emigration and immigration reflect contemporary political agendas and, on the other hand, how cultural actors may (seek to) influence migration politics.
The analysis is based on empirical research of three exhibitions dealing with "migration" – one of the key topics of 2007, when Luxembourg was the European Capital of Culture – in association with the Great Region (i.e. neighbouring regions of Germany, France and Belgium) and the town of Sibiu (Romania). The exhibitions in question are:
• Retour de Babel : a presentation of individual stories of migration by CLAE (Committee for Mutual Help and Action of Foreigners) on display in disused steelworks
• TRIMIG : an itinerary exhibition dealing with rural exodus and emigration from the Great Region to Transylvania and the U.S.A. by the SSMN (Office for National Sites and Monuments) and the Museum of Bitburg-Prüm
• Beware Gypsies! The History of a Misunderstanding : an exhibition on cultural stereotypes and "othering" by the History Museum of the City of Luxembourg.
The proposed conference seeks to analyse various strategies to integrate “migration” into the national master narrative. The past being inaccessible in itself, it is the enunciation of the past by historians and its appropriation by cultural actors and political decision makers that is the focus of this contribution. The past as a social construct plays a crucial role with regard to discursive identity formation. In order to allow for alterity, “fragmentation” of the past may even be considered an important step towards the creation of a civic European platform. In order to avoid segregation, distrust and identity clashes, tales of the past need to allow for the hybridity and multiplicity (or incommensurability) of identities.