Palma (Mallorca) from 27 to 29 June 2016
I International Conference:
The (politics of) translation (of politics)

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General programme, activity sheet

Tuesday 28 June, 2016 16:55 to 17:15 Oral Communication
Markets, Power and the Political Economy of Translation
Speaker: Stefan Baumgarten, Bangor University

Authors: Stefan Baumgarten

This paper aims to situate translation in today’s commercially globalised world. More specifically, this paper will elaborate the notion of a ‘political economy of translation’ by envisaging translation as a commodity in an increasingly unequal playing field dominated by international market forces (cf. Apter 2014, Cronin 2003, Tymoczko and Gentzler 2003). In doing so, I will discuss the ways in which economic and political discourses are firmly tied to hegemonic – in other words ‘institutionalised’ and thus largely invisible – structures of power in our current era of globalised capitalism. My argument will be based on a “critical ethnography” that problematises “the dynamics of power and exploitation” within the framework of 21st century capitalism (Morrow 1994: 257). The main thrust of my talk, which advances the contours of a new ‘critical analytics of power for translation studies’, centres around David Harvey’s (2001) work in cultural geography and his assessment of the logic of post-industrial capitalism. Harvey differentiates between three major sources of power prevalent in today’s advanced capitalist world order: the continuing relevance of state power in a world divided along national and territorial lines, the increasing dominance of corporate power due to the rampant financialization of national economies especially since the 1980s, and alienated labour power which is sold and bought as a commodity on the labour market. Harvey’s theory of power will be linked to a critical investigation of theoretical discourses on translation, in an attempt to distil an ‘ideological remainder’ (cf. Žižek 1989) that appears to permeate this type of research when viewed against the backdrop of global power asymmetries in the current neoliberal world order. Ultimately, I would like to argue for more analytical space accorded to socioeconomic factors in translation research, factors which are too often ignored or sidelined in mainstream research in the field of translation studies. References Apter, Emily (2014) Against World Literature – On the Politics of Untranslatability, London & New York: Verso. Cronin, Michael (2003) Translation and Globalization, London & New York: Routledge. Harvey, David (2001) Spaces of Capital: Towards a Critical Geography, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Morrow, Raymond A. (1994) Critical Theory and Methodology, Thousand Oaks: Sage. Tymoczko, Maria and Edwin Gentzler (eds) (2002) Translation and Power, Amherst & Boston: University of Massachusetts Press. Žižek, Slavoj (1989) The Sublime Object of Ideology, London & New York: Verso.

Stefan Baumgarten: I am currently employed as a lecturer in German and Translation Studies at Bangor University. I am particularly interested in (critical) translation theories and the role of translation as an ideological practice, specifically in its impact on political and philosophical discourse and underground literature. My research interests mainly concern questions of globalised political discourse as expressed in the rise of activist, post-anarchist and pro-democratic movements that challenge the dominant and hegemonic orthodoxy of neoliberal regimes.
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Session G2
Place: Room 4

Other activities in Session G2
16:15 h. to 16:35 h.Oral Communication

Translation, Universalism, and Postcolonialism: translation as a counter-imperialist tool in the writings of Étienne Balibar, Judith Butler, and Ngugi wa Thiong'o

Speaker: Gabriel Dols Gallardo, Universitat de les Illes Balears
16:35 h. to 16:55 h.Oral Communication

Traducción de la ideología: el caso de la retórica del discurso político en la traducción oral

Speaker: Elisabet García Oya, Universidade de Vigo
17:15 h. to 17:30 h.Discussion


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