“Looking for One's Life”

Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco

in Migration and Society
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  • 1 University of Manchester
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Abstract

This article examines how “irregular” migrants from West and Central Africa make sense of their trapped mobility in Morocco: for many, crossing into Europe has become almost impossible, returning to home countries “empty-handed” a shameful option, and staying very difficult in the face of repeated infringement of their rights. I explore the limits of contemporary depictions of a “migration crisis” that portray migrants south of the Mediterranean Sea as simply en route to Europe and fail to engage with (post)colonial entanglements. The article recalibrates the examination of migrants’ lived experiences of stasis and mobility by exploring the emic notion of “adventure” among migrants “looking for their lives.” A focus on how migrants articulate their own (im)mobility further exposes and defies the pitfalls of abstract concepts such as “transit migration,” which is misleading in its implication of a fixed destination.

Contributor Notes

SÉBASTIEN BACHELET is Lecturer in Social Anthropology at the University of Manchester. His doctoral research examined issues of illegality, uncertainty, and (im)mobility amongst irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in a marginal neighbourhood of Rabat (Morocco). He is currently a co-investigator on the GCRF inter-disciplinary project MARAM (Mobilising Access to Rights for Artists in Morocco) which seeks to foster greater social and institutional recognition for marginal artists (specifically migrants from Africa and the Middle East and Moroccans from disadvantaged communities) in Morocco.

Migration and Society

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