Affective Circuits: African Migrations to Europe and the Pursuit of Social Regeneration

University of Chicago Press
Free sample

The influx of African migrants into Europe in recent years has raised important issues about changing labor economies, new technologies of border control, and the effects of armed conflict. But attention to such broad questions often obscures a fundamental fact of migration: its effects on ordinary life. Affective Circuits brings together essays by an international group of well-known anthropologists to place the migrant family front and center. Moving between Africa and Europe, the book explores the many ways migrants sustain and rework family ties and intimate relationships at home and abroad. It demonstrates how their quotidian efforts—on such a mass scale—contribute to a broader process of social regeneration.

The contributors point to the intersecting streams of goods, people, ideas, and money as they circulate between African migrants and their kin who remain back home. They also show the complex ways that emotions become entangled in these exchanges. Examining how these circuits operate in domains of social life ranging from child fosterage to binational marriages, from coming-of-age to healing and religious rituals, the book also registers the tremendous impact of state officials, laws, and policies on migrant experience. Together these essays paint an especially vivid portrait of new forms of kinship at a time of both intense mobility and ever-tightening borders.
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About the author

Jennifer Cole is an anthropologist and professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at the University of Chicago. She is the author of Forget Colonialism and Sex and Salvation and coeditor of Love in Africa, the latter two published by the University of Chicago Press. Christian Groes is an anthropologist and associate professor in the Department of Culture and Identity at Roskilde University in Denmark. He is the author of Transgressive Sexualities and co-editor of Studying Intimate Matters.
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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Chicago Press
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Published on
Nov 25, 2016
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Pages
352
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ISBN
9780226405292
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Africa / General
Social Science / Anthropology / Cultural & Social
Social Science / Emigration & Immigration
Social Science / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Africa in Europe, in two volumes, meticulously documents Europe's African presence from antiquity to the present. It incorporates findings from areas of study as diverse as physical anthropology, linguistics, social history, social theory, international relations, migrational studies, and globalization. In contrast to most other works focusing on Eurafrican relationships that largely revolve around Atlantic and trans-Atlantic developments since the Age of Global Exploration, this work has a much broader perspective which takes account of human evolution, the history of religion, Judaic studies, Byzantine studies, the history of Islam, and Western intellectual history including social theory. While the issue of racism in its variant manifestations receives thorough treatment, African in Europe is also about human connections across fluid boundaries that are ancient as well as those that date to the Age of Exploration, the Age of Revolution, and continue until the present. Hence, it brings new clarity to our understanding of such processes as acculturation and assimilation while deepening our understanding of interrelationships among racism, violence, and social identities. This work is full of new insights, fresh interpretations, and highly nuanced analyses relevant to our thinking about territoriality, citizenship, migration, and frontiers in a world that is increasingly globalized. The author moves across boundaries of time and space in ways that result in an encyclopedic work that is an integrated and programmatic whole as well as one in which each chapter is a complete module of scholarship that is self-contained.
The book is meant to shed new light on migratory processes pertinent to Sub-Saharan Africa. It starts out from the position that contemporary migratory movements can only be assessed by employing an appropriate theoretical framework which helps with conceptualising both localised strategies of migrants, i.e. their modes of adaptation, economic and social integration into host societies and the way they maintain relationships back home, across places and nations, i.e. translocal aspects of their mobility in terms of networking, communication or economic as well as cultural transfers. It this respect, the book contributes to the current debate on processes and effects of worldwide mobility, addressing causes and effects and the various aspects of a “culture of migration” relevant for the African continent. Additionally, the book tries to go beyond the usual structural discussions and reflections on mobility and migration by looking at actual migrant practices, their social creativity, the employment of flexible responses to often restrictive governmental policies. Finally, the volume also discusses the often neglected issue of (involuntary) immobility, as well as the significance of borders, in both limiting mobility and in creating new “borderline” strategies, to employ a notion by Ines Kohl with regard to migrants’ transnational strategies. The book addresses a wide readership in Human Sciences; especially from African Studies, Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, and Political Sciences.

Four overarching themes underscore the essays in this book. These are the creation of African diaspora community and institutional structures; the structured and shared relationships among African immigrants, host, and homeland societies; the construction and negotiation of diaspora spaces, and domains (racial, ethnic, class consciousness, including identity politics; and finally African migrant economic integration, occupational, and labor force roles and statuses and impact on host societies. Each of the thematic themes has been chosen with one specific goal in mind: to depict and represent the critical components in the reconstitution of the African diaspora in international migration. We contextualized the themes in the African diaspora as a dynamic process involving what Paul Zeleza called the “diasporization” of African immigrant settlement communities in global transnational spaces. These themes also reflect the diversities inherent in the diaspora communities and call attention to the fluid and dynamic boundaries within which Africans create, diffuse, and engage host and home societies. In this context, the themes outlined in this book embody the diaspora tapestries woven by the immigrants to center African social and cultural forms in their host societies and communities. Collectively, the themes represent pathways for the elucidation of understanding African immigrant territorialization. Our purpose is to map out and identify the sources and sites for the contestations of the myriad of cultural manifestations of the new African diaspora and its depictions within the totality of the shared meanings and appropriations of the essences of African-ness or African blackness. The vulnerabilities, struggles, threats (internal or external to the immigrant community), and opportunities emanating from the diasporic relationships that these immigrants create are accentuated within the nexus of African global migrations. We view the African diaspora in terms of spatial and geographic constructions and propagations of African cultural identities and institutional forms in global domains whose boundaries are not static but rather dynamic, complex, and multidimensional. Simply stated, we approach the African diaspora from a perspective that incorporates the historical, as well as contemporary postmodern constructions of the Africa’s dispersed communities and their associated transnational identity forms.
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