Accepted paper:

The pursuit of well-being: tales of individuals with an African background in the Netherlands

Authors:

Amisah Zenabu Bakuri (University of Amsterdam)

Paper short abstract:

Using ethnographic data, my paper looks at how individuals of Ghanaian and Somali background in the Netherlands pursue their aspirations for a "good life" and well-being. This paper shows how individuals deal with the imbalances in pursuing good life by using novel and experimental ways.

Paper long abstract:

The notion of well-being is a relatively new concept but very synonymous to having a 'good life'. There seems to be opposing views on what migrants particularly from Africa count for a good life and how to achieve it. Using ethnographic data, my paper looks at how individuals of Ghanaian and Somali background in the Netherlands pursue their aspirations for a "good life" and well-being. I argue that for a better understanding of individual migrant's notions of well-being and their visions of a good life there is the need to understand the wider social expectations and norms that may influence the choices and decisions individuals make regarding their well-being and "good life".The notions of well-being and "good life" among most of my respondents centered on nonmaterial values such as social status, family reunion, dealing with stigmatization (example around issues of infertility, homosexuality and sex work), dignity and respect, education but also material values of wealth and social security. Findings from this paper suggest that migrants struggle to balance between their individual aspirations and opportunities to pursue their well-being and "good life". The imbalance and balance comes about as a result of different or similar values and morals adopted through their migration history or expected from friends, peers, families abroad and 'home", the Dutch state and their religious belongings. This paper shows how individuals deal with such imbalances by using novel and experimental ways such as secrecy and leaving/ joining/rejoining certain groups (church and societal organizations).

panel P084
Migration and the imaginaries of 'good life' [ANTHROMOB]