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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Friendship Ties Among Young Artisanal Gold Miners in Northern Benin
Author:Gratz, Tilo
Periodical:Afrika Spectrum
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:social integration
Labor and Employment
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Urbanization and Migration
Ethnic and Race Relations
Abstract:The article addresses friendship relations among male artisanal gold miners in West Africa, exemplified by case studies from northern Benin. The author argues that friendship is an important element in understanding the fluid social configurations in the gold mining region. In the new social environment, immigrants develop new ties among themselves and with local communities. The author explores the general logic of friendship bonds in this area and discusses their integrative strength as well as their limits. In the context of gold mining, strategies of economic as well as social risk minimization incline many migrants to create friendship bonds. Parity in income sharing is more likely to be established among friends than among kinsmen. Friendship is specifically relevant for the social integration of people with very different regional, ethnic and social backgrounds. Despite the many divergent interests between different economic actors, locals and immigrants, there are multiple bonds which give rise to different levels of social integration. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English, French and German. [Journal abstract]