'Men do not get scared! (rjjala mā tāy-khāfūsh)': luck, destiny, and the gendered vocabulary of clandestine migration in Central Morocco
(University of Milano Bicocca)
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the vocabularies of clandestine migration in Central Morocco. Focusing on Kamel’s story, I show how he mobilises notions of luck and destiny to reflect on constraints and possibilities in his migratory experience and explores the limits of his action in the face of broader powers
Paper long abstract:
This paper explores the social worlds and vocabularies that surround clandestine migration in a rural region of Central Morocco with transnational connections to Italy and Spain. Focusing on Kamel's narrative, I show how he creatively mobilizes ideas of 'risk', 'gambling', 'adventure', 'luck' and 'destiny' to tell his experience of border-crossing and to reflect on constraints and possibilities in life. Whereas the Islamic notion of 'destiny' (maktūb, qadar) evokes events that go beyond personal control and understanding, folk ideas of 'luck' (zahr, l-ḥḍ) propel the individual search for money and adventure in the 'outside world', a foreign land of socioeconomic possibilities and moral threats. Navigating the tensions between 'luck' and 'destiny', he explores the limits of his action and his actual power to change his situation in the face of broader social and transcendental forces. Tracing how Kamel interweaves different vocabularies and cosmologies in his narrative, the paper hopes to capture young men's gendered and existential anxieties about the future vis-à-vis the combined effects of neo-liberal restructuring, raising unemployment, and the increasing 'illegalization' of migration.
Mobility, power and possibility: the search for liveable lives [ANTHROMOB]