Research seminar in Cultural Anthropology with Almamy Sylla and Marie Deridder. Racialized impact of migration governance in Mali
- Date: –12:00
- Location: Zoom: https://uu-se.zoom.us/j/63371447159
- Lecturer: Almamy Sylla, social anthropologist, Maître Assistant at the Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB), Mali. Marie Deridder, social anthropologist, Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow and a Postdoc researcher at the Forum for Africa Studies and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University.
- Organiser: Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology
- Contact person: Mats Utas
Racialized impact of migration governance in Mali
Since decades, the EU is implementing a policy framework attempting to strengthen borders with Africa and Sahelian countries. Moreover, after the Boko Haram insurrection, the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the fall of the North-Mali in 2012 and the escalation of so-called ‘terrorist’ attacks in the region, the US-European agenda has integrated the Sahelian region in the ‘Global War on Terror’. This process has produced a ‘migration-development-security’ nexus resulting in public policies, as well as political and media discourses focusing on ‘crisis’. These narratives convey the idea that security needs to be achieved by more territorial control and the ‘fixing’ of populations in contexts, in which mobility is a key element of livelihood strategies. A major issue to explore is how this nexus is perceived, confronted, contested, experienced and performed once it takes roots in the daily realities of West African actors. To answer this question, in this presentation, we will focus on Mali.
Besides the actual sociopolitical and security turmoil in Mali the country has taken the unusual path of contestations and opposition against France, the former colonizer, and subsequently the EU, with regards to EU-driven migration governance. Non-state actors such as the Malian diaspora and civil society have succeeded in politicizing national public debates about migration issues. At the same time, Mali is one of the first African countries to adopt a national migration policy (in 2015). One of its intentions is to better support Mali’s repatriated migrants by offering them more protection and better conditions at return. Humanitarian and emergency assistance for Malian citizens abroad is also a key element of this policy. However, during the last decade, dissatisfaction among Malian ‘black deportees’ sent back from Libya and ‘assisted’ by the Malian state has increased. They denounce an unequal treatment compared to the attention given to Tuareg groups often associated with terrorists or rebels in the actual Malian open-conflict setting. These contestations take the path of racial discriminations drawing a color line between, on one hand, ‘black deportees’ who occupied subaltern positions in Libya and feel abandoned by the Malian state and, on the other hand, Tuareg perceived as former fighters with a high social status in Gaddafi’s military. According to us, this is an problematic yet unintended effect of this ‘migration-development-security’ nexus. This presentation will explore these narratives and argue that this nexus is actualizing a racial grammar historically present in Mali with deadly consequences in the actual conflict.
Almamy Sylla is a social anthropologist, who earned his PhD from the Institut de Pédagogie Universitaire de Bamako (Mali, 2019). His doctoral research explored the experiences of Malian deportees sent back from Libya and Ivory Coast. Currently, Sylla is Maître Assistant at the Université des Lettres et des Sciences Humaines de Bamako (ULSHB), Mali. His ongoing research in Mali is on forced migration, return migration, migration soft infrastructures in Mali, as well as gender and social innovations. Sylla as published several articles in Anthropology and development, Geopolitics, Peripherie, and Comparative Migration Studies.
Marie Deridder is a social anthropologist, who earned her PhD from UCLouvain (Belgium, 2014). Her doctoral research explored local governance, elites and political transformations in a rural municipality in Central Mali. Currently, Deridder is a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellow and a Postdoc researcher at the Forum for Africa Studies and the Department of Cultural Anthropology and Ethnology, Uppsala University. Her ongoing field research in both Mali and Burkina Faso interrogates the making of the Euro-African ‘migration-development-security’ nexus, and its practical negotiations and impacts on West-African mobility in a postcolonial setting. Deridder has published several book chapters and articles. Her monograph, Elites, élections et transformations du politique au Mali. « Ceux qui cherchent le pouvoir sont parmi nous », was published with Karthala in January 2021.