This volume examines the relationship between hope, mobility, and immobility in African migration. Through case studies set within and beyond the continent, it demonstrates that hope offers a unique prism for analyzing the social imaginaries and aspirations which underpin migration in situations of uncertainty, deepening inequality, and delimited access to global circuits of legal mobility.

The volume takes departure in a mobility paradox that characterizes contemporary migration. Whereas people all over the world are exposed to widening sets of meaning of the good life elsewhere, an increasing number of people in the Global South have little or no access to authorized modes of international migration. This book examines how African migrants respond to this situation. Focusing on hope, it explores migrants’ temporal and spatial horizons of expectation and possibility and how these horizons link to mobility practices. Such analysis is pertinent as precarious life conditions and increasingly restrictive regimes of mobility characterize the lives of many Africans, while migration continues to constitute important livelihood strategies and to be seen as pathways of improvement. Whereas involuntary immobility is one consequence, another is the emergence and consolidation of new destinations emerging in the Global South. The volume examines this development through empirically grounded and theoretically rich case studies in migrants’ countries of origin, zones of transit, and in new and established destinations in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Latin America and China. It thereby offers an original perspective on linkages between migration, hope, and immobility, ranging from migration aspirations to return.

chapter 1|20 pages


Studying Hope and Uncertainty in African Migration
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chapter 2|19 pages

How to Extract Hope from Papers?

Classificatory Performances and Social Networking in Cape Verdean Visa Applications
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chapter 3|18 pages

Sticking to God

Brokers of Hope in Senegalese Migration to Argentina
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chapter 4|18 pages

Zouglou Music and Youth in Urban Burkina Faso

Displacement and the Social Performance of Hope
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chapter 5|18 pages

The Lack of Liberty Drove Us There

Spatialized Instantiations of Hope and Contested Diasporan Identity in the Liberian–American Transnational Field (1810–2010)
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chapter 6|19 pages

Prospective Moments, Eternal Salvation

The Production of Hope in Nigerian Pentecostal Churches in China
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chapter 7|21 pages

Hope and Uncertainty in Senegalese Migration to Spain

Taking Chances on Emigration but not Upon Return
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chapter 9|19 pages

Death of a Gin Salesman

Hope and Despair among Ghanaian Migrants and Deportees Stranded in Niger
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chapter 10|20 pages

Returning with Nothing but an Empty Bag

Topographies of Social Hope after Deportation to Ghana
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