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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Coercion, fetishes and suffering in the daily lives of young Nigerian women in Italy
Author:Taliani, Simona
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute (ISSN 0001-9720)
Geographic term:Italy
Subjects:undocumented migrants
Abstract:In the aftermath of social conflicts and urban violence between autochthons and migrants in Italy in recent years, the question of how to control the growing number of illegal immigrants is increasingly discussed in the language of zero-tolerance anti-crime campaigns. Traffic in women has been a 'structural' social reality in the Italian migration landscape over the last 15 years, and is a prominent aspect of illegal female migration. These women are qualified as 'victims of human trafficking' when they denounce their pimps. Most of their suffering - involving psychological or psychiatric symptoms and requiring psychosocial support - is expressed through an emic vocabulary that talks about fetishes, spirit possession, witchcraft, sacrifice, debts, and spiritual and moral deliverance. This study, based on field research in Turin at an Ethno-Psychiatric Service in which 50 Nigerian women participated, addresses the following anthropological issues: the relationship between emic vocabulary (so-called 'voodoo' or 'juju'), migration, and moral economies of violence; and the intersection between symbolic violence and coercion, as experienced through sexual abuse and/or ritual violence (occurring both in Nigeria and Italy, and also during the migration itself in different countries such as Benin, Mali and Libya). The conclusion underlines the limits of psychiatric and psychological therapeutical methods vis--vis the symptoms and traumatic experiences that 'mark' these female bodies; and discusses the emergence of new forms of postcolonial disorders affecting subjects who are at the mercy of compromised desires. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and French. [Journal abstract]