Mobility, social inequality and the affirmation or erosion of solidarity in transnational Cape Verdean families

This anthropological post-doc project examined the design, the maintenance as well as discontinuities and ruptures of social relations in transnational Cape Verdean families. For many people, especially in the so-called Global South, mobility and the integration into transnational networks constitutes a crucial premise for material provision and a successful sociability. While, on the one hand, the dynamics of social relations in transnational social spaces underlie certain gendered and generation-specific role expectations and assignments, they are also determined considerably by factors lying beyond the actors’ control. State regulation of cross-border mobility, particularly in the context of family based migration, as well as the conditions of a successful economic integration in the country of destination are but two examples. The project focused on the normative, symbolic, economic and political factors that lead to processes of mutual integration or disintegration in transnational families.

On the grounds of 12-months of anthropological fieldwork on two Cape Verdean islands (Fogo and Brava) as well as shorter research periods in the Cape Verdean diaspora (Lisbon, Portugal and Boston, USA) the imagination and practice of transnational moral were examined. How are practices of family care and solidarity established and fostered in transnational social spaces? How are social roles adapted and transformed? Both, the potential and realization of intra-family solidarity as well as their limits and the confrontation with state measures of control were investigated. Not only the restrictions to cross-border mobility and the impact of ‘relative immobility’, but also the rising impact of the involuntary return of migrants due to the deportation of illegalized migrants, were seen as trends that questioned the ethos of transnational family life in Cape Verde.

Publications (selection)

--- 2016: How to Extract Hope from Papers? Classificatory performances and Social Networking in Cape Verdean Visa Applications. In: Kleist, Nauja and Dorte Thorsen (eds.) 2016: New Geographies of Hope and Despair. Mobility, immobility and uncertainty in contemporary African migration. London, NY: Routledge: 21-39.

--- 2015: Shifting Care among Families, Social Networks and State Institutions in Times of Crisis: A Transnational Cape Verdean Perspective. In: Alber, Erdmute and Heike Drotbohm (eds.) Anthropological Perspectives on Care: Work, Kinship, and the Life Course. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan: 93-116.

--- 2015: The reversal of migratory family lives. A Cape Verdean perspective on gender and sociality prior and post deportation. In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, Special Issue: Deportation, Anxiety, Justice. New Ethnographic Perspectives, edited by Heike Drotbohm und Ines Hasselberg, Vol 41 (4): 653 - 670.

--- 2014: Familie als zentrale Berechtigungskategorie der Migration: Von der Transnationalisierung der Sorge zur Verrechtlichung sozialer Bindungen. In: Nieswand, Boris and Heike Drotbohm (eds.) 2014: Kultur, Gesellschaft, Migration: Die reflexive Wende in der Migrationsforschung. Wiesbaden: VS Springer: 179-202.

--- 2013: The Promises of Co-mothering and the Perils of Detachment. A Comparison of Local and Transnational Cape Verdean Child Fosterage. In: Alber, Erdmute, Jeannett Martin and Catrien Notermans (Hg.) 2013: Child Fosterage in West Africa: New Perspectives on Theories and Practices. Leiden: Brill: 217-245.

--- 2012: (co-authored with Lisa Åkesson and Jørgen Carling): Mobility, moralities and motherhood. Navigating the contingencies of Cape Verdean lives. In: Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies. (Special Issue: Transnational Parenting): Vol. 38 (2): 237-260.

--- 2011: Kreolische Konfigurationen der Rückkehr zwischen Zwang und Zuflucht. Die Bedeutung von Heimatbesuchen in Kap Verde. In: Heike Drotbohm and Ingrid Kummels (eds.): Afroatlantische Allianzen. Thematic issue of Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, Vol. 136 (2): 87-106.

--- 2011: On the durability and the decomposition of citizenship: The social logics of forced return migration in Cape Verde. In: Julia Eckert (ed.) 2011: Citizenship Studies, (special issue: „Subjects of Citizenship“). Vol. 15 (3/4): 381-396.

--- 2010: Gossip and Social Control across the Seas: targeting gender, resource inequalities and support in Cape Verdean transnational families. In: African and Black Diaspora. An International Journal, (Special issue, ed. by Marina de Regt and Reinhilde König: „Family Dynamics in Transnational African Migration to Europe“). Vol. 3 (1): 51-68.

--- 2009: Horizons of long-distance intimacies. Reciprocity, contribution and disjuncture in Cape Verde. In: The History of the Family. An International Quarterly (Special Issue: “Families, Foreignness, Migration, Now and Then”). Vol. 14 (2): 132-149.