'Here we're poor, right?!' Crisis, life-course and migration between Portugal and Bangladesh
José Mapril (Center for Research in Anthropology (CRIA), Universidade Nova de Lisboa)
This paper will explore the relation between migration and crisis. The argument is twofold: on one hand, migration is frequently perceived as a way to overcome crisis related to economic, generational and life-course issues. On the other, though, it is in itself an experience fraught with ambiguities, where subjects have to deal with several vulnerabilities and dangers. Based on an ethnography carried out between 2003 and 2008, it will be shown how young middle class, urbanized, Bangladeshi adults, face migration to bidesh (the Bengali word for foreign country), namely continental Europe, as a way to overcome unemployment and proceed in their life-course. However, migration is an ambiguous experience. Not only they have to follow unsafe migratory routes but also, once in Schengen, their status is frequently marked by "illegality", "undocumentation" and "informality". Some are able to overcome such a predicament and become "successful", exemplary figures, but others continually perceive their migration experience as a crisis.
Young Scholars Forum