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African FuturesEssays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility$
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Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226402246

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226402413.001.0001

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Entangled Postcolonial Futures: Malagasy Marriage Migrants and Provincial Frenchmen

Entangled Postcolonial Futures: Malagasy Marriage Migrants and Provincial Frenchmen

(p.117) Nine Entangled Postcolonial Futures: Malagasy Marriage Migrants and Provincial Frenchmen
African Futures

Jennifer Cole

University of Chicago Press

This chapter examines the complex chain of social and historical practices by which Malagasy women fashion a future in France enabled by French family reunification laws. In particular, I focus on Malagasy women who seek to raise themselves out of poverty by marrying working-class and rural French men as a means to obtain French nationality and relative prosperity. Drawing upon ethnographic work in both Madagascar and southwestern France, I analyze how Malagasy women seek to build new futures through a combination of intermarriage, domestic labor in the family business, and, increasingly, as service workers who care for France’s aging population. I argue that even as they “whiten” their offspring by bearing métis children, and despite their contributions to hard-to-fill niches in French society and economic life, they also contribute to a new racialized class formation that traps them at the bottom of the French economic ladder.

Keywords:   Madagascar, migration, marriage, domestic labor, racialization

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