Wir weigern uns, Zoombies zu bilden! // We refuse to form zoombies!
Radical critical educational work with migrated and refugee women*
Online talk – the collective and maiz
Online via Zoom:
Based on their experiences maiz and the collective speak, about educational work with migrated and refugee women*, knowledge production, neoliberal subjectivity, zoombies, human capital, exploitation and exclusion, utopian imagination, poetic and resistant practices of world appropriation and world change in times of technocratic neoliberal educational policies.
The neologism ›zombies‹ in the title results from the conflation between the plural form of the noun ›zombie‹ and the brand name ›zoom,‹ a U.S. software company.
›Zombie‹ usually stands for the depiction of an undead human being moving as if remotely controlled. In the context of current social analyses, the term is used as a metaphor for non-subjects who lose sovereignty over their bodies and thus their agency, as a result of the dominant, neoliberal system that operates through, builds upon, and profits from death (Giroux, 2010).
Another application of the term points to the inability of zombies, as anesthetized subjectivities, to perceive living Others. ›Zombies‹ would thus be flexible subjectivities in the service of neoliberal interests. (Rolnik, 2018)
»By conflating this with the corporate name ›zoom,‹ whose communication platform is experiencing a real proliferation boom at the time of the Corona pandemic in education and elsewhere, we turn our gaze to the critiques and warnings exemplified by the metaphor zombie here. The conversation reflects our search movements for the actualization and translation of this critique in terms of an educational work that refuses the suffocation of the imagination that is taking place (Giroux, 2010). An educational work that refuses to produce anesthetized, submissive, efficient, flexible, narcissistic subjects who pliantly fit into and adapt to the existing system.
The zombies thus become a counter-figure to conscious participation in collective political action, and thus to the approach we take that critical educational work can and should lead to change in current, murderous conditions. A counter-figure for our understanding of adult education as a predestined space for knowledge production in dissent, for the expansion of agency, and for practicing utopian imagination.«
maiz is an independent association by and for migrants with the goal of improving the living and working situation of migrants in Austria and promoting their political and cultural participation, as well as bringing about a change in the existing, unjust social conditions.
Like maiz, the collective is also an organization by and for migrants. It is a place for critical educational work, exchange, dissent and collaborative design: Among other things active in adult education with migrant and refugee women* who have the least privileges.
Literature: Giroux, Henry A. (2010): Zombie Politics and Culture in the Age of Casino Capitalism, Peter Lang. // Rolnik, Suely (2018): Zombie Anthropophagie. Zur neoliberalen Subjektivität, Turia + Kant.