Accepted paper:

Navigating between hope and despair: West African migrants in Argentina


Ida Marie Vammen (Danish Institute for International Studies)

Paper short abstract:

Against the backdrop of the restricted European migration regime this paper explores how Senegalese migrants' maneuvers between different spaces of hope and despair in the metropolis of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Paper long abstract:

In recent years it has become exceedingly difficult for migrants to enter the European Union. The EU and its member states have made further restrictions on national asylum and migration policies and have de facto outsourced its border control, by collaboration with transit migration countries in Africa. This have together with the economic recession lead to a significant drop in irregular migrants seeking to cross the EU borders. At the same time the stock of West African migrants and asylum seekers in Argentina, especially from Senegal has risen since the middle of the 2000s. When the gates of Europe are closing to it seems that new 'routes of hope' appear. The paper shed light on this emerging transatlantic migration flow by examining Senegalese migrants' everyday life in Buenos Aires. It will analyze how different social and legal possibility structures and constraints influence the migrants' livelihood strategies and their notions of hope and despair. The paper takes the conceptual framework of 'spaces of hope and despair' as a focal point. By viewing international migration through this lens, it is argued that the imaginaries of hope and despair that affect the livelihood strategies and shape the notion of the future for migrants are brought to the foreground. It thus explores the relationship between individual agency and the structures of uneven distribution of power and resources that characterize both the local context and the global world order today.

panel MMM14
New geographies of hope and despair