Mobile Horizons – Immobile Everyday Life. Discourses, Practices and Imaginations of (Im-)Mobility and Migration in Madagascar

DFG funded project: Migrationsentwürfe immobiler Akteure. Erwartungen und Praktiken männlicher Jugendlicher in der Hafenstadt Mahajanga/Madagaskar (August 2012 - July 2015)

Project Leader: Dr. Patrick Desplat

The research project examines practices, discourses and imaginations of migration and (im-)mobility among dock workers in Mahajanga, a historical port city in West Madagascar. Possibilities, boundaries and constrains of global interdependence since decolonization in 1960 play an significant role to understand the spatial extension of local horizons by modern transportation, communication technologies on the one hand and on the other hand the simultaneous restriction of movement by national state formation. Actor-centered expectations of migration, historical experience of migration, visual media products and social values, norms and institutions which shape mobility are central dimensions in this research project. Three generations of dock workers and the families are analyzed, a group whose environment is affected by small income and mobility of others. The focus on (im-)mobility against the background of historic migration provide an innovative contribution to urban and migration anthropology in Africa and the Indian Ocean.

Longing to Become - On Gendered Identities and Mobilities between Senegal, Gambia and China

Project Leader: Manon Diederich M.A.


The project explores the translocal implications of Senegalese activities in Guangzhou and Senegal. Since the 1990s, in the wake of the intensification of Sino-African political and economic relations, African businessmen and -women have started to set up business entreprises and homesteads in the city of Guangzhou, mainland China. The resulting emergence African diasporic communities in the area has become the subject of a growing number of academic publications from various disciplines. The project sees to complement the preoccupation of these studies with male migrants by taking Senegalese women, their experiences and activities as a starting point and thus opting for a gender-sensitive approach. Inspired by Pessar’s and Mahler’s concept of „gendered geographies of power“, the project addresses how categories such as class, gender, age, nationality, ethnicity, and religious affiliation intersect to generate the different actors’ respective positions in the translocal communities to whom they belong and which they help reproduce. By addressing the translocal dimensions of the activities and considerations of - male and female - migrants, the project accounts for their respective space of maneuver, both in the local context of migration in China and in their place of origin.