Abstracts – Africa e Mediterraneo n. 86/2017

Elena Liberati, Pierluigi Musarò, Paola Parmiggiani, The Assisted Voluntary Repatriation of Asylum Seekers and Reception Workers

The Voluntary Assisted Return (VAR) stands out as one of the most important tools among the measures developed by Eu- ropean countries to cope with the recent increase in migration inflows. However, in Italy, the implementation of this measure registers one of the poorest results. The main purpose of this paper is to understand the factors undermining the knowledge and the application of this tool in the Italian context, through results gathered from an explorative research carried out in the host structures for refugees and asylum seekers in the metropolitan area of Bologna, analysing the perception of VAR in the experience of cultural mediators, operators and asylum seekers living in those structures.

Annalisa Maitilasso, “Everything is Planned to Come Here, Nothing is Planned to Go Back”: the Challenge of Returning in the Case of Malian Migrants in France and Spain

Based on two ethnographic researches carried out between 2009 and 2015 in Mali, France and Spain, this article compares two types of itineraries: on the one hand, the experience of voluntary return in Mali taking into account the difficulties of the reintegration process which exposes migrants to the pressure and the judgement of their communities of origin and, on the other hand, trajectories of “non-return” subjects: a project of return never accomplished or repeatedly postponed.

Meryem Lakhouite, Migration and Development: Can the Returning Migrant Be Seen as an Agent of Development in the Country of Origin?

Returning migrants are often considered as the main agents in the economic and social change of their native communities. Thanks to their skills and to the experience gained abroad, they are given an active role in promoting the economic development of their own country. Nevertheless, not every returning migrant can be considered as having economic potential: a great variety of conditions de- pend on many factors including the national policies of the country of origin.

Kosta Barjaba, Joniada Barjaba, From Failure to Success: Return Migration in Albania

Among the countries with the highest international migration flow in Europe, Albania in recent years has seen a significant rise of return migration, sustained by some specific, but not always effective, national policies. Return migration requires more support for returnees’ economic and social integration as well as legal and fiscal incentives to invest their financial, social, and human capital in Albania’s development. Recently, there is a tendency for government policies to shift towards creating a synergy between migration and development and enhancing the return of successful migrants. Nevertheless, there is room for improvement on the legal, regulatory, and institutional frameworks for a better management of return migration, and better use of the financial, social, human, and symbolic migration capitals as a source of development.

Sophie Mathieu, Aid for Return in Social Support in France: Symptom of a Policy of Traffic Injunction

Return assistance is a device used by foreigners in France to return to their country of origin in exchange for money and possible support for the development of a professional project. But it never had the expected success or impact. Aid for return is established between the rejection of foreigners and humanitarian aid. This device is also part of an injunction to traffic which encourages displacement rather than installation.

Valentina Fusari, An Opportunity for Whom? Peculiarities and Ambiguities of Return Migrations to Eritrea

The article provides an overview about both voluntary return programs and personal initiatives in Eritrea, where the literature mainly focuses on forced migration. By deepening the historical analysis, the quantitatively and qualitatively importance of the return flows characterizing the first post-independent phase is highlighted. The theoretical and challenging reflection is aimed at illustrating the return and circular mobility in contrast with the rigidity and scarcity of programs designed to encourage the return of Eritrean diaspora.

Sana F.K. Jatta, Migrants’ Remittances: a Critical Lifeline for Millions of Families in Africa and a Security-net for the Ones Willing to Return

Despite the huge contribution of migrants to the development of their countries of origin, the international community has only recently recognised the importance of remittances and started to support them with investments and initiatives. This unique source of income allows receiving households in Africa and worldwide to face unpredictable problems, to save residually from amounts received in good months, to effect monthly loan repayments, or to support investment in productive assets. Through a better understanding of the needs of migrants and their families back home, programmes and policy changes can be undertaken so that individuals, both in origin and destination countries, can be brought into the financial system to achieve their personal economic goals while also contributing to the overall development of their countries of origin—and possibly laying the foundations for return.

Luca Santini, The Protection of Senegalese Migrants in the Moment of their “Return”. What Governance for a Transnational Community?

The website ritornoinsenegal.org collects a number of life stories of Senegalese migrants who returned to their country of origin. Various initiatives of support and protection have already been undertaken by both Senegal and Italy, but other policies, inspired by an ambitious and innovate view, could still be adopted in order to strengthen the Italo-Senegalese transnational community.

Giuseppe Grimaldi, “Structures of Return” Between Italy and Ethiopia: Mobility of the Second Generations to the Ancestral Land as a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

The mobility of second generations is a subject of increasing interest in the scientific community. The article tells the story of Marta, an Italian woman of Ethiopian origin, who moved to her ancestral land to work in an NGO. Tracing back the significant steps that allowed her to work for an Italian NGO in Addis Ababa, it underline how her “voluntary return” was based on a proper status transition: to enhance her career path, Marta – an Italian looking for a job position in international development – became an Ethiopian working for an Italian NGO. The analysis is intended to highlight what the author defines as “structures of return”: a set of structural processes of “othering”, from everyday practices of differentiation to institutional classifications in both the homeland and the ancestral land, influencing second generations’ orientation to return.

Constance De Gourcy, Return Situations and Discrete Transformations of the France-Algeria Migratory Field. Student Mobility in Question

Although France is the preferred destination for Algerian students, it is not easy for them to stay there after completing their studies. The analysis of the situation is based on interviews with students experiencing an “intermediary return” between their departure from France and their long- term future. These returns offered an excellent opportunity to understand post-study transition in France – which requires a change of status and visa – and subtle changes in migratory projects towards North America.

Maria Elisa Dainelli, Return Home. Village Associations and the Organization of Funeral Wakes in the City of Paris

This article focuses on some aspects of Ivorian immigration and hometown associations in Paris. The most evident example of the relationship between these groups and the homeland is a ritual, that can be defined as a “returning home ritual”: the funeral wake. With the social elaboration of grief, the burial in the land of the ancestors, the extreme return home is the ideal conclusion to every community member’s life.

Francesca Romana Paci, Aimé Césaire, the Return and the Construction of the Future

The life and work of Aimé Césaire, a poet of Martinican origin, advocate the idea that poetry is a political struggle and human engagement. Among the founders of the negritude movement, he fought against an exploitative concept of power. His sense of retour (“returning”) is a complex concept encompassing several meanings: regaining pride and courage, overcoming past and future obstacles, and above all, conquering trust in oneself and passion for action.

Barbara Cassioli, The “Ermes 2” Project

Co-funded by the Italian Ministry of Domestic Affairs and the EU, the “Ermes 2” project deals with the selection of migrants interested in Assisted Voluntary Returns (AVR). It offers support to them during their return trip and in starting an economic activity in their country of origin. The project, which took place from 2016 to 2018, is run by the cooperatives Open Group, CIES and Virtus Italia, helped by CIES in Albania, CISV in Senegal and CEFA in Morocco and Tunisia. From its start to June 2017, it accomplished 49 AVRs, with a satisfaction rate of 77%.

Marcella Pasotti e Silvia Lami, Go and Come Back: The Senegalese Return Migration Through a Web Documentary

Born from ethnographic research carried out by the Italian NGO workers in Senegal, Marcella Pasotti and Silvia Lami, “Demal Te Niew” (“Go and come back” in Wolof language) is a documentary which follows three returning migrants from Italy. It explores their day-to-day life and social environment, the negative and positive aspects of their return and their ambitions for the future. The documentary also includes infographics and an in-depth analysis about return migrations. It is available to view for free on L’Espresso Online, where it was published on the 16th December 2016.

Cleophas Adrien Dioma, Italia–Africa Business Week / National Diasporas Summit and The International Cooperation

The first National Summit of the Diasporas, organised by “Migrazione e Sviluppo”, has been the moment for the migrants’ association, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Embassies, and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, as well as local institutions, to debate the objectives of cooperation in order to kickstart new collaborations for a sustainable development. Along with the Italia–Africa Business Week, an annual meeting to boost and implement trade and exchange between African and Italian enterprises, the Summit is one of the first attempts to include African Diaspora in international trade and economy.

Francesco Tamburini, The Issue of the Death Penalty in the Kingdom of Morocco: between Tradition and Abolishment

The Kingdom of Morocco is one of the countries where the abolition of the death penalty has been most strongly debated. This paper looks back at the historical stages of the death penalty in Morocco which, interestingly, is not currently being practiced, due to an international moratorium. The paper analyses the strongly interconnected political and religious factors that define this symbolic tool of punishment and repression.

Itala Vivan, In Memoriam: Peter Abrahams 1919 – 2017. Writer of The Black Atlantic from Johannesburg to Jamaica

This paper offers an insight into, and pays tribute to, Peter Abrahams, an author from South Africa who addressed social and political issues using innovative language. Writer, journalist and intellectual of international stature, he reflects on his times in a realistic but original way, denouncing discrimination and maintaining an independence from any condition of subalternity.

Simona Cella, African Reserves. Contemporary Art from a Continent between White Hunters and Anxieties of Definition

“The White Hunter” and “Africa. Telling a World” are two exhibitions of African contemporary art currently on show in Milan. The quality of the works exhibited is unquestionable, but the forced construction of the exhibition simplifies and compresses the individuality of every single piece of work. Furthermore, a number of these artists required their own space for reflection as they get lost when the collection is too general.

Mary Angela Schroth, Art, Displacement and Social Context in the 57th Venice Biennale 2017

The author’s view on the 57th Venice Biennale highlights how once again African artists are underrepresented due to the high participation costs. Nonetheless, the exhibition is moving towards an increasingly diverse participation. Another ongoing trend is the tendency of national stands to address contemporary issues such as history, colonialism, immigration and displacement.

Kaha Mohamed Aden, Dress Change

The traditional brightly coloured dress of Somali women, the guntiino, has disappeared, giving way to the dark jilbab that covers the entire body. In this text the political, religious and social context which has given rise to this “dress change” is analysed in an attempt to discover the deep-rooted reasons for such a symbolic gesture. Somali women may well have found both a form of protection from violence in the jilbab and in a religious context, as well as a common identity.