Displaced Utopia: on marginalisation, migration and emplacement in Bissau

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This article looks at the subjectivities of disenfranchised urban men in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau. Taking its point of departure in an illumination of the ‘thrown’ character of subjectivity, it clarifies the social positions and futures that life in the city is seen to afford. As the city has been caught in a prolonged period of conflict and decline, the retrenchment of the state, economy and social networks has created a setting where people struggle to achieve positive social presence and brighter prospects. The article shows how subjectivities in such situations can become tied to a sense of depreciation and downward mobility. In doing so, it illuminates some of the more common features of social exclusion that affect the urban poor and shows how the processes of decay and deterioration that peoples’ lives are caught in may create a longing for better futures and worthy social emplacement. They spur a striving for socially appreciated being that is imagined as elusively attainable through migration.
Original languageEnglish
JournalIdentities - Global Studies in Culture and Power
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)192-209
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018

ID: 195257789