Part of the Centre for Latin American and Caribbean Studies research seminar series 2020/21.
This event will be via Zoom. Here is the link: https://zoom.us/j/94462492930
I remember that I arrived that day … and I was very struck by the pullovers embracing the whole building, surrounding the whole building, um, and that image, that sensation is strange, that image, that feeling, the effect that it has, at least for me, because although, um, the pullover that embraces is something warm and it's giving the building a hug, which I think is the meaning, for me there is also something of, of a body that is not in those clothes and that can also represent the, let's say, all the kids that, that are not taken into account, let's say, those, that is, in the end that's it, it's a piece of clothing that, and there's a body missing there. It seems to me that it is the denied body of these boys and girls who go to this place. (Interview transcript 0007)
This is the story of research conducted through visual narrative inquiry in Buenos Aires where we used photographs as a “form of field text” (Bach 2007, p. 290), but the way emotions ruptured storytelling post-facto could not be ignored. School #70 Isauro Arancibia is an unofficial Argentine self-managed school for students of all ages who live in precarious situations whether due to housing or schooling conditions; homelessness; economic hardship; or cultural violence against their ways of acting, believing and perceiving. The affective forces triggered when using an innovated photo-elicitation technique to discuss the school’s 2016 re-inauguration event and what they revealed.
We situate the event, which marked and celebrated a momentary victory over the municipal authorities, as a critical incident because we found that more-than-memory of the event was reverberating on a subjective level. Individuals questioning “dominant modes of subjectivation” (Guattari & Rolnik 2007 p. 187) those produced by a capitalist system, and by beginning to observe how they reproduce or resist those modes, they initiate a validation of “molecular social practices” (p. 189). Because the practice of a micropolitics cannot ensure these molecular shifts will avoid “systems that coopt them, systems of neutralization, or processes of implosion or self-destruction” (p. 339), we refer to them as molecular insurrections.
In a situation as trying and soul-wrenching as that of the Isauro, it is challenging for community members to endure, turnover is high, but change is possible. Visual and embodied ways of researching helped us connect with individuals who work on breaking down divisions of inclusion and exclusion. Here we learn, through their stories, about how a marginalized community can bring novel social forces into view, especially when focusing on relationships and acknowledging the voices of those often treated as unimportant.