Kinship ties and networks on the move: strategies for mobility

Francesca Declich (Università di Urbino 'Carlo Bo'/Stanford University)
Social Anthropology
Appleton Tower, Seminar Room 2.04
Friday 14 June, 8:45-10:30
Friday 14 June, 10:45-12:30

Short abstract:

Through ethnographic studies the panel aims at elaborating on the role played by kinship ties in different contexts of migrations across and from Africa, thus helping reanalysing the categories we use in the studies of mobility and migrations

Long abstract:

The aim of this panel is to elaborate on the role played by kinship ties and domestic arrangements in different contexts of migrations within and from Africa and also try to assess the epistemological implications entailed by the concepts used in data collection in mobility studies. It has been mostly social sciences and especially anthropologists that have highlighted the importance of kinship in forging adaptive strategies of migrants. The role kinship ties play in mobility paths are aspects that need more social and historical research in a wide range of geographical areas. In an attempt to find a comprehensive concept to assess the contemporary migratory phenomena in a context of globalization some scholars interestingly started studying distance family relationships. As in real life domestic arrangements take different shapes in different historical socio-cultural and economic conditions, an understanding of the different characteristics of kinship idioms must instead be considered. Although there is no consensus on the concept of family, such concept keeps being largely used in migration studies whereas it could be crucial not to miss the particularities that characterize the adaptive differences to mobility of each kinship arrangement. The nuclear family's category seen as a universal form of domestic arrangement has been highlighted as a pitfall by anthropologists many years ago. With this panel we would like to explore the way in which ethnography on migratory processes helps to deconstruct the way the concept of family is used and to highlight different forms of relatedness that arise from the processes of geographical mobility.