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Argonauts of West Africa

Unauthorized Migration and Kinship Dynamics in a Changing Europe

Argonauts of West Africa

Unauthorized Migration and Kinship Dynamics in a Changing Europe

Examines the paradoxes of kinship in the lives of unauthorized African migrants as they struggle for mobility, employment, and citizenship in Europe.
 
In a rapidly changing and highly precarious context, unauthorized African migrants turn to kinship in search of security, stability, and predictability. Through the exchange of identity documents between “siblings," assistance in obtaining such documentation through kinship networks, and marriages that provide access to citizenship, new assemblages of kinship are continually made and remade to navigate the shifting demands of European states. These new kinship relations, however, often prove unreliable, taking on new, unexpected dynamics in the face of codependency; they become more difficult to control than those who entered into such relations could have imagined. Through unusually close ethnographic work in West African migrant communities in Amsterdam, Apostolos Andrikopoulos reveals unseen dynamics of kinship through shared papers, the tensions of race and gender that develop in mutually beneficial marriages, and the vast, informal networks of people, information, and documentation on which migrants rely. Throughout Argonauts of West Africa, Andrikopoulos demonstrates how inequality, exclusionary practices, and the changing policies of an often-violent state demand innovative ways of doing kinship to successfully navigate complex migration routes.

208 pages | 9 halftones, 4 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2023

Anthropology: Cultural and Social Anthropology

Table of Contents

1 Navigating Kinship
2 Unauthorized Identity Craft
3 “Working with My Sister’s Papers”
4 Dying Relations?
5 Marriage, Love, and Inequality
Conclusion      Unpredictable Dynamics of Kinship
Acknowledgments
Appendix: Trust and Ethics
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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