Moving-with-Others

Restoring Viable Relations in Emigrant Gambia

in Migration and Society
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Abstract

The article argues for an intersubjective understanding of mobility among aspirant migrants in the Gambia. Among other factors, Gambian young men's desire to reach Europe and other destinations may stem from an experience of dispersal and abandonment in migrant households. Emigration becomes a way of restoring the viability of relationships, in a socioeconomic sense of regenerating ties and flows between migrants and nonmigrants, as well as in an existential-kinetic sense of experiencing others as moving closer to oneself. By highlighting intersubjective mobility, the article contributes to widening the scope of an existential take on movement and stasis. It further revises popular and scholarly views on the role of families and migrants in shaping aspirations to emigrate.

Contributor Notes

PAOLO GAIBAZZI is a social anthropologist and a scholar of migration. Prior to joining ZMO in 2012, he taught anthropology at the University of Latvia. He has held teaching positions and vising fellowships in Angola, Germany, Italy, and Portugal. His monograph Bush Bound: Young Men and Rural Permanence in Migrant West Africa (Berghahn Books, 2015) is an ethnographic exploration of immobility and social reproduction in rural Gambia. He has also published on, among others, postslavery in West Africa, fate and fortune, visa regimes, and the externalization of Europe's borders to Africa. His current research work is on West African traders in Angola.

Migration and Society

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