Th is contribution introduces the collection of texts in this special section of Migration and Society exploring contemporary patterns of im/mobility between Africa and Europe. It proposes an ontological-epistemological framework for investigating present-day movements via three core dimensions: (1) a focus on im/mobility explores the intertwinement of mobility and stasis in the context of biographical and migratory pathways and thus goes beyond a binary approach to migration; (2) an existential and dialogical-ethnographic approach zooms in on individual experiences of im/mobility and shows that the personal-experiential is not apolitical, but represents a realm of everyday struggles and quests for a good life; and (3) a genealogical-historical dimension explores present-day migratory quests through their embeddedness within legacies of (post)colonial power relations and interconnections and thus counteracts the hegemonic image of immigration from Africa as having no history and legitimacy.
Jelena Tošić and Annika Lems
Withheld Stories and the Limits of Ethnographic Knowability
How to write about survival? How to tell survival? By exploring manifold reasons to withhold a story, I shed light on the limits of ethnographic knowledge production and the politics of storytelling that mobilize one story and silence another. Through engaging with the fragmented narrative of a Moroccan survivor of a shipwreck in Spanish waters in 2003, I reconceptualize the movement called “migration as survival” by theorizing it as an ethnographic concept. I explore the different temporalities of survival as living through a life-threatening event and as living on in an unjust world. These interrelated temporalities of survival are embedded in the afterlife of the historical time of al-Andalus and the resurgent fear of the Muslim “Other.” By suggesting an existentially informed political understanding of the survival story, I show how the singularity of the survivor is inscribed in a regime of mobility that constrains people and their stories.
Trapped Mobilities and Adventure in Morocco
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 examinationof 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.
Infrastructures of Certainty and Doubt
Matthew Carey and Morten Axel Pedersen
Infrastructure: Architecture and Soviet Imagination ’. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute 11 ( 1 ): 39 – 58 . Jackson , M. and A. Piette (eds). 2015 . What Is Existential Anthropology? New York : Berghahn Books . James , W. 1995
incisive investigations from Existential Anthropology stand on firm grounds, within the family of existential inquiry, concentrated as they are on themes of lived experience, tensions between individuality and community, cultural mutability, and
(Dis) Uniting the Kingdom on Holiday
cases of Magaluf and Palmanova, where the informants of this article represent mixed age groups from different parts of the UK, I use ideas drawn from existential anthropology and Bourdieu’s concept of habitus to elucidate the expression of effervescent
Housing Brokers and the Mediation of Risk in Migrant Moscow
Station Hustle: Ghanaian Migration Brokerage in a Disjointed World . In What Is Existential Anthropology? (eds) M. Jackson & A. Piette , 104 – 124 . Oxford : Berghahn . Malakhov , V. 2014 . Russia as a New Immigration Country: Policy
Films and Stories from a Tundra Village
Intersubjectivity . Copenhagen : Museum Tusculanum Press . Jackson , Michael . 2013 . Lifeworlds: Essays in Existential Anthropology . Chicago : University of Chicago Press . Kapferer , Bruce . 2013 . “ How Anthropologists Think: Configurations of the