Accepted paper:

Conviviality as diasporic knowledge. Inspirations from mobile Casamance

Author:

Tilmann Heil (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro)

Paper short abstract:

Conviviality is an attempt to conceptualise the complexity of my West African interlocutors' local and diasporic tactics and views of living with difference. Inspired by them, I start from a decentred set of premises to challenge hegemonic politics of difference in the context of global migration.

Paper long abstract:

Around the globe, people have divergent tactics and views of engaging with existing difference in their societies and its further differentiation. If spatially mobile, people draw from experiences with multiple and differing configurations of the places they lived in and passed through. Based on ethnographic fieldwork since 2009, I propose conviviality as an attempt to conceptualise the complexity of my Casamançais/Senegalese interlocutors' local and diasporic tactics and views of living with difference. I take recurrent examples of simple everyday encounters such as greeting and dwelling in urban spaces into account to disentangle their various levels of reflection, habitual expectations and tactical action. I do not pretend to represent their knowledge, but I discuss the inspirations I received from trying to understand what they shared with me non/verbally regarding living with difference. Both their and my reflections are situated within the wider historical and contemporary frameworks of global entanglements and unequal knowledge exchanges. However, my attempt to start from, if not a different, at least a decentred set of premises challenges established Western/Northern politics of difference. Casamançais in Senegal and Spain had local to global references at their disposal, drawing from both hegemonic discourses and their personal experiences gathered throughout their im/mobile lives. Such a perspective on urban everyday sociality shows a distinct way of engaging multiple and overlapping ways of differentiating and homogenising practices. My argument ultimately raises awareness for the importance and feasibility of minimal socialities in diasporic configurations, transnational migrations and the respective local urban contexts.

panel Anth31
Decolonising Africanist migration research? [CRG AMMODI]