Of birds and trees: Rethinking decoloniality through unsettlement as a pluriversal human condition

Madina Tlostanova


Unsettlement is our current shared pluriversal human condition which is experienced differently depending on our trajectories, privileges and disadvantages. The negative phase of globalization epitmoized in the Covid-19 crisis, threatens to  fold the world into a digital slavery where coloniality would finally stop to be seen as a  ‘problem’ of refugees, migrants and indigenous people or a fashionable term of the academic elite, to be faced directly by each and every. Previously decoloniality has focused mainly on the critique of the intersections of race and capitalism in the production of knowledge and subjectivities. It has seldom addressed the future or ventured outside the position of the colonial difference (exteriority). In the face of the global challenges including the defunct politics and the ultra-right populist turn, as well as the Anthropocene and technological colonization, fragmenting the human species, coloniality needs to be complemented with additional dimensions that would allow overcoming its stand-pointism and refusal to dialogue across the imperial difference with other critical positions. One of such dimensions is unsettlement which is discussed in the article as a promising concept in the agenda for refuturing. Can unsettlement generate new transversal relational solidarity beyond the bankrupt institutions and power structures? Can it launch new communities of change which would inevitably also change ourselves as humans? How would art and fiction react to these tectonic shifts and advance the shaping of the agendas of these communities of change?  The article briefly addresses two possible paths for artistic representations of the unsettlement   - the introspective one struggling with multiple identifications and re-weaving oneself and one’s world anew and a less realized promising way of the positive ontological design fictions and utopias/dystopias transcending modernity/coloniality to imagine an alternative other world. The unsettled ‘birds’ rather than rooted ‘trees’ are likely to be the main protagonists of these fictions helping us to learn that unsettlement can eventually bring a positive sense of the self and/in the world and a new political imagination to refuturing.

Parole chiave

unsettlement; pluriversality; defuturing; decoloniality; coalitions; disinsediamento; pluriversalità; defuturizzazione; decolonializzazione; coalizioni

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.15162/2704-8659/1205


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