Hes-so Valais

Book on clandestine migration

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Book on clandestine migration
Book on clandestine migration

Simon Mastrangelo, Academic Associate at the School of Social Work of the HES-SO Valais-Wallis, has published an adaptation of his doctoral thesis on non-documented (or so-called clandestine) migration of Tunisians. His book Emigrer en quête de dignité - Tunisiens entre désillusions et espoirs (Emigrating in search of dignity – Tunisians between disillusionment and hope) follows undocumented Tunisians living in Europe. Looking further than the situation in Tunisia, he combines ethnographic field observations and analyses of social media to reflect on the underlying dynamics: the sense of exclusion of young people with a working-class background and the radicalisation of their world views to express their frustration.

Mastrangelo goes beyond a purely factual approach of non-documented migration. Through the analysis of the imaginary world on Facebook and in-depth interviews based on a gradual build-up of confidence, he is able to take into account the representations of the world and the subjectivity of individuals.

He captures decisive moments of the migration process, the eve of a departure, on the streets of a European city or the return home after deportation. He shows that individuals are not passive, but play an active role in the planning and the development of their migration project. The book focuses on two main aspects. It shows how migrants give meaning to their (sometimes traumatic) journey, giving it a heroic or religious meaning (maktoub), and how they keep up their hope. It also illustrates how they claim their right to emigrate to Europe, regardless of migration policies.