The topic of exile has occupied human sciences from several perspectives and angles in the last decades. Different theoretical approaches try to respond to the reality of exile as a central phenomenon in the age of globalisation. Thus exile seems to have become the “destiny” of our world. However, more than a contemporary phenomenon, exile can be considered a human “condition”, at least when we consider the meaning of (human) existence inherited from Greek, Jewish and Christian traditions, that have laid grounds to Western tradition. In these assumptions, exile has been mainly understood and conceptualised from the “ex”, that is, from the interruption of the origin, the home-world, the common-ground. The main figure of thought in different approaches is a certain idea of movement, oriented by a teleological point of view. My question is if it is not precisely this teleological understanding of movement that is being challenged in the age of globalisation. If we accept this challenge, then another view of exile is demanded. My claim is that the meaning of exile should be seized from a more existential departing point. To develop the meaning of exilic existence, I am proposing to reconsider some categories of existential philosophy following some central thoughts by Jan Patočka.
This is the keynote lecture of the international conference “Human Existence as Movement. Patočka’s Existential Phenomenology and Its Political Dimension”. Detailed information about the conference can be found here.
Marcia Sá Cavalcante Schuback is Full Professor of Philosophy at Södertörn University, Sweden, and a Visiting Fellow at the IWM.