Document Type

Honors Project

Abstract

This study centers the voices, stories, and experiences of a sample of Senegalese individuals whose lives intersect with transnational migration. It draws upon ethnographic fieldwork, conducted in Dakar, Senegal between 2016 and 2017, comprising primarily of interviews and participant observation with Senegalese migrants who returned home after sojourns in European and West African countries and the United States, as well as staff working at a migration-related non-governmental organization that facilitates the voluntary repatriation of Senegalese nationals. In this study, I describe and analyze Senegalese migrants’ transnational paths and journeys using a multi-actor and intersectional lens that attends to questions of gender, class, age, race, religion, and nationality. This analysis specifically engages the images and experiences migrants construct of particular places, their departures from home, their lives abroad and the connections that they maintain with their home country, as well as their experiences with return, reintegration, and re-emigration. I argue that Senegalese migrants’ paths and journeys elucidate the collective and intergenerational strategies migrants utilize and rely on in order to pursue individual ambitions and desires; materially and affectively regenerate and redefine kinship and friendship-based networks within and outside Senegalese society; and circumnavigate political, economic, and social systems and structures.

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