New Women's Migrations in Africa

Determinants and Dynamics
22 November, 2021

As part of its Doctoral Theses series, the ACRPS has published New Women's Migrations in Africa: Determinants and Dynamics by Rachid Benbih. The 440 page book argues that most of the new theoretical approaches to immigration have been developed by Western researchers based on an undeclared epistemological view based on the Western experience of the growing phenomenon of immigration. For these researchers, the challenges of immigration to these countries constituted a motive to study this phenomenon, but without much attention to the repercussions of liberal adaptations on the expansion of migration in Africa; responsibility for which lies with Western countries and their policies in Africa. The researcher has thus made an epistemological change for looking at contemporary migrations in Africa possible, by invoking the contemporary historical experience of African countries to analyze the complex relationships between the processes of economic liberalization and women’s migration, and to understand their various dynamics in the countries of stability, based on sociological, cultural and anthropological determinants. According to the researcher, the repercussions of the liberal policies that African countries have applied or found themselves forced to implement since the 1980s, have resulted in new and unique women’s migrations.

The book is organized into three sections. The first section presents the dynamics of the influx from the countries of the Sahel and sub-Saharan Africa to Morocco and looks at the determinants that drive these migrations. Benbih begins at the local levels in the country of settlement, especially the microstructural determinants. This section has been divided into three chapters: the first explores socio-ethnographic places and immigrant women's groups; the second discusses the structural and anthropological determinants of women's migration, and the third investigates the memory of immigrant women and their migratory paths.

The second section of this book analyses the dynamics of immigrant women in Moroccan society in terms of their social relations, the narratives formed around them, the forms of cultural transmission resulting from their social activity, and the quality of the cultural heritage that this presence embodies in the research localities. These dynamics are presented in three chapters, which in turn explore socio-professional situations and social worlds of migrant women, immigrant women in the context of social interaction; and the culture and social lives of immigrant women.

The third and final section analyzes the dynamics of the organized social action of women arriving in Morocco, and demonstrates their ability to influence Moroccan society and reposition themselves in the social space; investing in religion, group organisations, and institutional relations. It is a matter of outstanding dynamics, albeit evolving with a slow rhythm. These dynamics are represented by the dynamics of religiosity in chapter 7; the dynamism of organized civil action in chapter 8; and the dynamics of self-employment and employment relations in the chapter 9.

Rachid Benbih does not claim that this book has covered the subject comprehensively, and arguing that members of these two immigrant groups should not only be studied in Morocco, but that the matter also requires study of the environments from which these women emigrated in their countries of origin. The author aspired to arrive at new research questions, in order to integrate them into a future research project and the conclusions of the research fall outside the circle of hypotheses previously defined for this book. Perhaps the importance of any research in the eyes of the researcher lies in their ability to ask interesting questions.

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