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West African Migrations to Italy: An Anthropological Analysis of Ghanaian and Senegalese Politics of Mobility in Emilia Romagna





In this article we combine a mobility perspective with a biographical approach to explore the Italian experience of Ghanaian and Senegalese migration emphasising expectations, obstacles and practices in contexts of uncertainty and precariousness. First, we provide readers with an historical background of West African migration to Italy, and Emilia Romagna in particular, from the end of the 1980s to the present. We highlight the link between migration laws and migratory trends. We then theoretically engage with the mobility paradigm and its impact on the socio-anthropological study of migration. Finally, we analyse biographical trajectories looking at the interplay between migrants’ life strategies and shifting normative and economic structures. We conclude by arguing that mobility seems to offer an effective research perspective for contemporary social anthropology by shedding light on plans, representations and tactics used by migrants in navigating economic and political constraints.

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