Individual migration in West Africa

Michael Stasik


This project explores current dynamics of transnational migration in West Africa by considering trajectories of individual migration to urban Ghana. Its key question is how individual migrants from francophone West Africa master, or fail to master, the exigencies of immigrant life in the diverse and largely non-French speaking social environments of Ghanaian cities. As such, it does not introduce a new study subject, but rather seeks to rearrange descriptions and analyses of West African migrations in the face of changing empirical realities. Attending in particular to the relationship between migration-spurred dynamics of diversification, urbanization and individualization, it generates a new understanding of individual practices of transnational mobility, affiliation, and exchange. By reflecting on the anthropological entailments of individuality in relation to West African migration practices, the project contributes to comparative theory-building that achieves a better balance between the broader conditions of sociocultural realities, on the one hand, and on the other the distinct bearings of the socio-culturally situated, yet nevertheless discrete, autonomous and agentive individual.

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