Returns, reverse returns, and religion: the education of Senegalese migrants' children between the US and Senegal
Hannah Hoechner (University of East Anglia)
Paper short abstract:
Drawing on research with migrant families in the US and young 'returnees' in Senegal, this paper explores how educational stints in the 'homeland' simultaneously equip young people with resources to deal with the challenges of US life and produce new vulnerabilities.
Paper long abstract:
A growing body of literature explores today how transnational migration from Africa to Western countries affects both family life and childrearing practices. Several authors document parents' decisions to send children 'back' to the homeland, be it to cut costs, to protect children from the perceived harmful influences of Western society, or to inculcate specific forms of cultural and religious 'capital'. While the constraints underpinning parents' decisions to send children 'back' are fairly well documented, much less is known about how such 'returns' - and the 'reverse returns' following them - actually work out and how they are experienced by the young people in question. Drawing on data collected over a total of 14 months both among Senegalese migrant communities in New York and New Jersey, and in Islamic schools receiving migrants' children in Dakar, Senegal, this paper explores how educational stints in the 'homeland', including for religious education, are a 'contradictory resource'. To some extent, they equip young people with cultural and religious resources to deal with the challenges of living in the US as part of a triple minority as blacks, immigrants, and Muslims. At the same time, homeland stays produce a series of new vulnerabilities, as young people struggle to adjust to an unfamiliar language and disciplinary regime when 're-returning' to the US.
Education and African youth's 'return' mobilities