Author:Simon Mastrangelo (University of Neuchâtel)
Paper short abstract:
Many young Tunisians think about Europe and search for a liveable life abroad. Their intangible desire of migrating often faces the very tangible limitations of migration policies. Faith in God and the belief in the power of His will can be an empowerment tool for undocumented migrants.
Paper long abstract:
Most of the Tunisian undocumented migrants (harragas) I met during my fieldwork have grown up in a sort of immobility situated in a specific place which is their neighborhood (al houma). They spent most of the time in this specific neighborhood. Such a life may look very static from the outside but the harragas are often already mobile in their minds. This mobility is made possible thanks to different factors, mainly via the returning migrants and the social media, which lead to the development of mental representations. The harragas constantly think about Europe and search for a liveable life. However, their intangible desire of migrating often faces the very tangible limitations of migration policies. How do they manage to reach their goal when facing such mobility restrictions? Faith in God and the belief in the intangible power of His will can be a an empowerment tool . The belief in divine justice and in destiny (maktoub) is often mobilised by my interlocutors and it influences their representations of mobility. This sometimes leads prospective migrants to take risk to reach their goals, because they believe that their future is linked to God's will and that divine laws are above human laws. Every obstacle looks surmountable in this perspective and future looks brighter.
Navigating migration and asylum regimes