The patron and the madman

Migration, success and the (in)visibility of failure among Bangladeshis in Portugal

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
Author:
José Manuel Fraga MaprilCRIA‐IUL
Anthropolog
Lisbon
Protugal
 jmapril@gmail.com

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Based on research about Bangladeshi migration in Portugal, carried out between 2003 and 2008, the main objective of this article is to explore ethnographically the ambiguity of the migratory imagination. This ambiguity is expressed in two figures – the patron (the in Portuguese) and the madman (the in Bengali). The first is the exemplary migrant, economically successful and morally responsible while the second is an extreme case of failure and a source of a difficult knowledge. Both are constant reminders of the possible (and opposite) fates of all those that are now arriving in Portugal, therefore producing a strong normative ideal about success and failure.

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