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Affective CircuitsAfrican Migrations to Europe and the Pursuit of Social Regeneration$
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Jennifer Cole and Christian Groes

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226405018

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226405292.001.0001

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Introduction: Affective Circuits and Social Regeneration in African Migration

Introduction: Affective Circuits and Social Regeneration in African Migration

(p.1) Introduction: Affective Circuits and Social Regeneration in African Migration
Affective Circuits

Jennifer Cole

Christian Groes

University of Chicago Press

Moving beyond the narrative of crisis/disaster dominating discussions of African migration to Europe, this chapter argues for the importance of attending to intimate relations and processes of regeneration in African migration. When European migration regimes rely on marriage or family reunification as a way to grant entry and citizenship, intimate relations have become extraordinarily important: They often provide not only a motivation for migrating abroad but also a means to do so. In turn, migrants often engage in complex exchanges with their kin back home as they seek to make, rework and break intimate relationships with kin, lovers and friends. We conceptualize these exchanges as affective circuits in order to capture their material and affective dimensions, as well as their social dynamics. The chapter makes three arguments regarding affective circuits in African migration 1) Africans quest for valued forms of personhood and the desire to reposition themselves in exchange networks often prompts migrants’ efforts to build and maintain these circuits 2) notions of marriage and family, both those embodied in European state policies and the practices migrants bring along, shape how these circuits unfold 3) and that these circuits are gendered, with different participatory opportunities for men and women.

Keywords:   African migration, affective circuits, social regeneration, family reunification, intimacy, exchange, gender, personhood

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