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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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The Paradox of Parallel Lives: Immigration Policy and Transnational Polygyny between Senegal and France

The Paradox of Parallel Lives: Immigration Policy and Transnational Polygyny between Senegal and France

Chapter:
(p.146) Six The Paradox of Parallel Lives: Immigration Policy and Transnational Polygyny between Senegal and France
Source:
Affective Circuits
Author(s):

Hélène Neveu Kringelbach

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226405292.003.0007

Many Senegalese men migrate to France and other European destinations in order to accumulate enough resources to establish a family or to provide for an existing one. Given the increasing restrictiveness of European immigration policies however, many of these migrants spend more years undocumented than initially expected. During this time, they may end up marrying European citizens or residents, even when they have a spouse at home. In France, these parallel family arrangements, which may be called transnational polygyny, are usually condemned in public discourse as the remains of age-old, oppressive African practices, or as an instrumental ways of bypassing immigration laws. This chapter presents an alternative interpretation of these marriages. Whereas some polygynous marriages reflect transnational extensions of longstanding practices of West African forms of polygamy, other marriages are a response to the migrants protracted experience of legal precarity. Paradoxically, migrant men often find themselves having to establish a new family abroad in order to continue caring for their family and wife back home.

Keywords:   transnational polygyny, Senegalese migrants, marriage, undocumented migrants, immigration policies, family practices, France

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