Nowadays the Migration and Development relation is becoming a kind of “mantra” (Faist 2008) a real “discourse of development” (Grillo, Stirrat 1997) connected, as it is, with other discourses stressing community, civil society, self reliance, and, sometimes problematically, profitable investment. However, from the perspective of African hometown associations, especially those developed in France, such a connection displays a longer story. Already at the beginning of the 80’s Malian and Senegalese organisations embarked on micro-development projects aimed at their country of origin in sub-Saharan Africa (Daum 1998). Codevelopment projects, it was argued, should be ‘decentralised’, their primary movers, and the locus of their activities, are not states, but localities: local states and places, the people who inhabit them, and the institutions of civil society (NGOs, associations etc) they have created. Codevelopment circles also stress the importance of dialogue with migrants and their organisations. Their legitimate interests in the development process, it is argued, should be recognised and they should be encouraged to become ‘development actors’, dissolving the developer/developed distinction (Lavigne-Delville, 1991: 196; Quiminal 1991). What distinguishes codeveloppement from the transnational activities of migrant hometown associations is the involvement of a variety of local institutions and actors ‘here’ (regional and municipal authorities, NGOs, and associations, based locally in Europe but representing particular villages or clusters of villages where migrants originate, with funding from the state, or the EU), and counterparts (local authorities, NGOs, village associations etc) ‘there’, in the South. These activities may represent an original strategy signalling a refusal to break with countries of origin while seeking integration. However, Do these reflect the real demands of migrants or the logic of European planners, politicians, and social practitioners involved in the implementation of migration policies? This is an aspect that applied as much as academic research should always explore, moved from a healthy skepticism (Grillo, Riccio 2004). However, although one should be cautious towards a celebratory as much as pessimistic views towards co-development, a methodological opportunity needs to be recognized: by involving so many social actors, this field of research represents a laboratory for the study of such a complex and ambivalent social process, as is transnational migration. Ideally the student of migration should be working simultaneously on three fronts: with the institutions of the receiving society, among migrants themselves, and in the sending society (Grillo 1985). Therefore, it is important to combine a transnational approach with the need to bridge a divide in the studies of migration, which have tended to consider either the characteristics of an immigrant community or the characteristics of the society incorporating it. With this aim, the study of migrants’ translocal codevelopment projects represents a methodological solution to study social change (De Sardan 1995) by focussing on the interaction between the institutions of the receiving contexts, migrants’ transnational practices and the economic and socio-cultural transformations of the sending context (Riccio 2007).

Migration and Development. Reflections on an Ambivalent Relationship

MARABELLO, SELENIA;RICCIO, BRUNO
2011

Abstract

Nowadays the Migration and Development relation is becoming a kind of “mantra” (Faist 2008) a real “discourse of development” (Grillo, Stirrat 1997) connected, as it is, with other discourses stressing community, civil society, self reliance, and, sometimes problematically, profitable investment. However, from the perspective of African hometown associations, especially those developed in France, such a connection displays a longer story. Already at the beginning of the 80’s Malian and Senegalese organisations embarked on micro-development projects aimed at their country of origin in sub-Saharan Africa (Daum 1998). Codevelopment projects, it was argued, should be ‘decentralised’, their primary movers, and the locus of their activities, are not states, but localities: local states and places, the people who inhabit them, and the institutions of civil society (NGOs, associations etc) they have created. Codevelopment circles also stress the importance of dialogue with migrants and their organisations. Their legitimate interests in the development process, it is argued, should be recognised and they should be encouraged to become ‘development actors’, dissolving the developer/developed distinction (Lavigne-Delville, 1991: 196; Quiminal 1991). What distinguishes codeveloppement from the transnational activities of migrant hometown associations is the involvement of a variety of local institutions and actors ‘here’ (regional and municipal authorities, NGOs, and associations, based locally in Europe but representing particular villages or clusters of villages where migrants originate, with funding from the state, or the EU), and counterparts (local authorities, NGOs, village associations etc) ‘there’, in the South. These activities may represent an original strategy signalling a refusal to break with countries of origin while seeking integration. However, Do these reflect the real demands of migrants or the logic of European planners, politicians, and social practitioners involved in the implementation of migration policies? This is an aspect that applied as much as academic research should always explore, moved from a healthy skepticism (Grillo, Riccio 2004). However, although one should be cautious towards a celebratory as much as pessimistic views towards co-development, a methodological opportunity needs to be recognized: by involving so many social actors, this field of research represents a laboratory for the study of such a complex and ambivalent social process, as is transnational migration. Ideally the student of migration should be working simultaneously on three fronts: with the institutions of the receiving society, among migrants themselves, and in the sending society (Grillo 1985). Therefore, it is important to combine a transnational approach with the need to bridge a divide in the studies of migration, which have tended to consider either the characteristics of an immigrant community or the characteristics of the society incorporating it. With this aim, the study of migrants’ translocal codevelopment projects represents a methodological solution to study social change (De Sardan 1995) by focussing on the interaction between the institutions of the receiving contexts, migrants’ transnational practices and the economic and socio-cultural transformations of the sending context (Riccio 2007).
Disasters, Development and Humanitarian Aid. New Challenges for Anthropology
183
201
Marabello S.; Riccio B.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11585/106531
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