Those Who Stay: how out-migration affects West African societies

Place
Halle / Saale
Venue
Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung Halle/Saale
Host/Organizer
Jacqueline Knörr and Agathe Menetrier, Research Group "Integration and Conflict along the Upper Guinea Coast", Abteilung 'Integration and Conflict', Max-Planck-Institut für ethnologische Forschung Halle/Saale
Date
12.04.2018 - 13.04.2018
By
Bettina Mann

Migration: little research on the home countries
Public discourse about international migration is dominated by a concern about what negative effects this may have for Europe. Consequently, researchers have devoted extensive attention to topics like the current state of affairs and the possibility of integration, or the effects of migration on the welfare state, the political system, and civil society. “However, we know comparatively little about the social, economic, political, cultural, and demographic consequences of large-scale out-migration on migrants’ countries of origin in the so-called Global South,” explains Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Knörr, head of the research group “Integration and Conflict along the Upper Guinea Coast” at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology. “Therefore, we have invited 22 specialists on West Africa to discuss migration-related research on countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone, and Liberia.”

Emigration of skilled workers and circulation of knowledge
It was long assumed that the effects of migration on African societies were primarily negative. For the migrants are often young adults in search of new opportunities in Europe and North America, but also other countries in Africa, young adults whose work power is assumed not to benefit their societies of origin in case of out-migration. “This is still an important observation,” says Knörr. “But anthropological field research in West African countries has shown that the situation is actually more complex: there’s more than just brain drain. On the contrary – we have learned that emigrants often give something back to their families and their country. Not just in the form of money, but also professional and political know-how.” It would be false to assume that migration severs all ties between the people who leave and those who stay. For example, a study about doctors and medical personnel who emigrated from Ghana has shown that many of these professionals regularly return to Ghana for a time in order to assist in providing medical services.

Uncharted territory: migration within Africa
It is also not true that most Africans migrate to countries outside Africa. Knörr explains: “Migration within Africa far exceeds migration to Europe or North America. Not all refugees or migrants have the resources necessary to travel to the so-called Global North.” Still, the fact remains: migration has left significant marks on most African countries. “Nearly every family has someone who has left or plans to leave,” says Knörr. There is no doubt that such large-scale movement has a tremendous effect on all areas of life. However, this does not mean that the effects are only negative. “At the workshop we want to start by focusing on the empirical facts and analysing the social, cultural, and material exchanges that develop as a result of migration,” says Knörr.

(https://idw-online.de/en/news691864)

Programm

Wednesday, April 11th: Arrival
19:00 Informal get-together of the workshop participants at “Café Nexus” Kohlschütter Straße 9

Thursday, April 12th
09:30 Jacqueline Knörr, Agathe Menetrier
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale
Welcome Address & Introduction

Section 1: Images and Narratives of Migration
10:00-11:00
Chair: William P. Murphy, Northwestern University, Evanston

Magdalena Brzezińska, University of Warsaw: In the Shadow of the European Fortress: the impact of out-migration on Africans in the Gambia and Guinea-Bissau

Luisa Enria, University of Bath: Temple Run: dreams of migration and the political imagination amongst Freetown youth

Agathe Menetrier, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale: Living in Transit: young homosexual asylum seekers in Dakar hoping for resettlement to the north

Maarten Bedert, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale: How Imagining ‘Abroad’ Influences Belonging ‘at Home’: discourse on migration, suffering and civilization in contemporary Liberia

11:00 Coffee break
11:30 Discussion

Section 2: Transnational Families
12:00-13:00
Chair: Anaïs Ménard, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale

Ernestina K. Dankyi, University of Ghana: Those Who Stay: voices of parents, spouses, and caregivers of migrants’ children

Friederike Mieth, Independent scholar and consultant, Berlin: The Long-Term Impact of (Out-)Migration: a family history

Benjamin Lawrance, University of Arizona, Tucson: The Dearly Departed: how “particular social group” refugees account for the family they left behind

Christoph Kohl, Georg Eckert Institute for International Text-Book Research, Braunschweig
Imaginations and Experiences of Searching a Life Abroad: out-migration through Bissau-Guinean eyes

13:00 Lunch break
14:00 Discussion

Section 3: Transnational Identities and Interactions
14:30-15:15
Chair: Sylvanus Spencer, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

Susan Shepler, American University, Washington DC,
Sierra Leonean Circuits: space, reciprocity, and identity

Justice Richard Kwabena Owusu Kyei, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi: Transnational Political Practices Contributing to Democratic Governance in Ghana

Dorothy Takyiakwaa, University of Cape Coast: ‘Home is Home’: internal migrants’ associations and development at origin communities

15:15 Coffee break
15:45 Discussion
16:15 Organisational issues

Section meetings (further information to follow at conference)
16:30

19:00 Dinner at the restaurant “Alchimistenklause”
Reilstraße 47, 06114 Halle/ Saale

20:00-21:00 Wrap-up day 1

Friday, April 13th
Section 4: Engendering and Categorizing (Im)Mobility
10:00-11:00
Chair: David O’Kane, University of Durham

Marion Fresia, University of Neuchâtel: Those Who Stay in ‘Camps’: how the entanglement between mobility and refugee aid affects dynamics of immobility and autochthony in West Africa

Paolo Gaibazzi, Leibnitz-Zentrum Moderner Orient, Berlin: Immobility and Sedentariness in Mobile West Africa

Andrea Behrends, Free University Berlin: Modalities of ‘Staying’

Andréa de Souza Lobo, University of Brasília: Lives at Wait? Family relations between emigrants and those who stay, Cape Verde

11:00 Discussion
11:30 Coffee break

Section 5: Out-Migration Through the Lens of the City
12:00-13:00
Chair: Agathe Menetrier, Max-Planck-Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale

Tony Yeboah, University of Cape Coast: Transporting an Alien Culture: out-migration, remittances and the architectural landscape of Kumase in the 20th century

Wilson Trajano Filho, University of Brasília: Migration as a Trigger of Cosmopolitanism: everyday life in a small Cape Verdean city

Papa Sow, Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), Dakar: ‘Magic’ Creams -Botchô-Bobaraba-Bazooka-, Body Transformations and Economics of Aesthetics in Abidjan (Côte d’Ivoire)

Jonas Klee, Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale: Talking About Good Migrants and Bad Migrants: perceptions of out-migration in Ziguinchor

13:00 Lunch break
14:00 Discussion

14:30-16:00 Wrap-up and concluding discussion
William P. Murphy, Northwestern University, Evanston
David O’Kane, University of Durham
Sylvanus Spencer, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone

16:00 Coffee break

Section meetings (further information to follow at conference)
16:30

19:00 Dinner at the restaurant “Mextreme”
Reilstraße 131, 06114 Halle/ Saale

20:00 – 21:00 Further procedures and publications

Kontakt

Prof. Dr. Jacqueline Knörr
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology
Department ‘Integration and Conflict’
Advokatenweg 36, 06114 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: 0345 2927-128
E-mail: knoerr@eth.mpg.de
http://www.eth.mpg.de/knoerr

Citation
Those Who Stay: how out-migration affects West African societies, 12.04.2018 – 13.04.2018 Halle / Saale, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 06.04.2018, <www.connections.clio-online.net/event/id/termine-36947>.
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06.04.2018
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