Accepted Paper:

Framing and assembling borders  


Selenia Marabello (University of Bologna)

Paper short abstract:

Exploring the biographies, trajectories and narrations of Ghanaian migrants to Italy, this paper focuses on representations of borders within Italy and Europe. It aims to analyse how borders are experienced by examining obstacles to mobility, contextual opportunities and power disparities.

Paper long abstract:

This paper is based on ongoing ethnographic research on internal migrations within and to Italy comparing the perspectives and trajectories of Ghanaian migrants, Italians and so-called new Italian citizens. This presentation, however, concentrates exclusively on Ghanaian research participants to analyse how the borders between Italian regions and European countries are imagined and experienced.

Although in reality Italian regions, cities and local places have very different social histories and degrees of economic development, the country is commonly represented as being divided in two parts, the North and the South. Historical and structural factors have shaped this internal border and in various moments of Italian history have triggered internal migration (commonly from south to north) as well as international migration toward different destinations around the world.

How do Ghanaian migrants represent and/or reproduce this internal Italian border? Do they navigate the present-day economic crisis by strategically exploiting economic and legal disparities between Italy's north and south? How do individuals living in Italy perceive mobility to other European countries? Does their postcolonial legacy figure in their representations of European internal borders? How do they map social and geographical mobility within Europe by imagining a future for themselves or their sons and daughters? Empirical data describing mobility regimes (Glick Schiller, Salazar 2013) allow us to address these questions by observing how borders are fashioned and re-framed in migrants' life experiences and representations.

Panel P030
Mobilities, ethnographically connected: beyond the 'gap' between internal and transnational migration [ANTHROMOB]