"Deferred return" and migration as time management: the case of Egyptian parents in Paris
(Radboud University Nijmegen )
Paper short abstract:
This paper explores the idea of "deferred return" for Egyptian parents living in Paris from the perspective of migration as a process of navigation of time.
Paper long abstract:
This paper proposes an understanding of migration as time navigation based on the emerging literature on temporality (Bear: 2014, Ringel: 2013), and ethnographic examinations of time narratives for Egyptian parents living in Paris, with whom I have conducted fourteen months of fieldwork. The paper posits the idea of 'deferred return' as the spatio-temporal structure of the management family life for Egyptian parents in Paris. The dream of return is always deferred because of the barring problems of obtaining the right papers for some parents. Engaging in various practices of hope, waiting, and hesitating, Egyptian parents view their stay in Paris as a temporal, provisional and transitory. Therefore, their migratory experience is not necessarily a navigation of space, but a navigation of time that is characterised by various attempts to manage it, fill it, plan it and dream about it. Instead of viewing migration as a movement in space/place, this paper proposes an idea of migration as a future-driven movement of people, animated by the prospect of a "better future" and sustained by the double promise of securing access to Europe and returning to Egypt. For most of the Egyptian parents I have worked with, they see their current places of residence through temporal lenses: they are ephemeral, temporary; they are the site of the preparation for a certain future to come.
Trapped in space, stuck in time? Exploring irregular migration, time and im/mobility