Article | Culture Unbound: Journal of Current Cultural Research | On the Edge of Existence: Malian Migrants in the Maghreb

Title:
On the Edge of Existence: Malian Migrants in the Maghreb
Author:
Line Richter: Department of An-thropology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.168174
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Full article (pdf)
Year:
2016
Volume:
8
Issue:
1
Pages:
74-87
No. of pages:
14
Publication type:
Article
Published:
2016-04-27


Based on ethnographic fieldwork among Malian migrants and migration brokers in Mali, Algeria, Morocco, and France, this article investigates life in exile on the edge of Europe. Zooming in on the experiences of interlocutors in Morocco and Algeria, the article will explore the experiential dimensions of living in an extended liminality. Anthropologically, life in so-called places of transit, such as the Maghreb countries, has often been dealt with through the lens of liminality. In this article my aim is to build on the insights from such endeavors, and re-orient the focus by illuminating what this specific type of permanent liminality entails. I posit that a more suitable term to call this is ‘limbo’. This, I argue, consists of three main features. First, the motivation for leaving Mali is for most migrants embedded in the lack of opportunities for social mobility: the Malian youth who end up leaving, are in Honwana’s words, stuck in ‘waithood’ at home, in what many argue is a liminal social position. Second, social and political structures are not absent in the Maghreb, rather they are quite discernable and can be seen as continuations and mimicking of existing structures. Third, experiences of dramatic ruptures with humanity and morality are key characteristics of life on the edge of Europe.

Keywords: Migrants; Maghreb; Mali; Liminality; Limbo

Volume 8, Issue: 1, Article 7, 2016

Author:
Line Richter
Title:
On the Edge of Existence: Malian Migrants in the Maghreb:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.168174
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Volume 8, Issue: 1, Article 7, 2016

Author:
Line Richter
Title:
On the Edge of Existence: Malian Migrants in the Maghreb:
DOI:
10.3384/cu.2000.1525.168174
Note: the following are taken directly from CrossRef
Citations:
  • Jørgen Carlin & Francis Collins (2017). Aspiration, desire and drivers of migration. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, : 1. DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2017.1384134
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