Accepted Paper:

has pdf download Here and there: presence and absence among Hausa migrants in Belgium and urban Niger  

Author:

Sébastien Lo Sardo (Brussels Free University)

Paper short abstract:

Niger witness intense population movements, at both transregional and transnational levels. Drawing on experiences of migration in urban Niger and Belgium, my aim is to analyze such dynamics through a multi-sited ethnography that tracks the ties connecting distant places, persons and communities.

Paper long abstract:

Due to economical migration, long distance trade and global Islam, Southern and Central Niger witness intense population movements, at both transregional and transnational levels. Besides human displacement, money, media and material goods circulate through the same channels. As a result, urban and rural spaces are not only deeply interconnected but also filled with material, visual and discursive fragments of distant 'elsewheres' - i.e. West African cities, North-America, Europe, Middle-East and Eastern Asia. Through appropriation in everyday life, these foreign artifacts orient local practices and perceptions of the world. Beyond the processes of local appropriation, my aim is to analyze such dynamics through a multi-sited ethnography that tracks the ties connecting distant places, persons and communities.

In Niger, researches have been conducted among Hausa migrants in urban centres and within the rural areas from which they originated. Fieldwork has also been carried out in Belgium within the Nigerien diaspora Drawing on experiences of migration, this paper explores how, despite distance and absence, migrants continue to be active in their homelands through flows of artifacts, money, information or the building of houses. Concurrently, it examines how, through similar mediations, past homelands pervade the daily life of migrants at collective, emotional and cognitive levels.

Panel W004
Mobility, transnational connections and sociocultural change in contemporary Africa