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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The migrant in a plotted adventure: self-realisation and moral obligation in African stories from Istanbul
Author:Saul, MahirISNI
Periodical:Journal of Modern African Studies (ISSN 0022-278X)
Geographic terms:Subsaharan Africa
international migration
External link:https://doi.org/10.1017/S0022278X16000811
Abstract:This article presents the cases of two migrant men, a Senegalese and a Nigerian, who spent many years in Istanbul. Although their backgrounds, personalities and circumstances were different, they both did export-related commercial work in the city. After describing sub-Saharan migration to Turkey and the literature concerning it, the text focuses on the stories these migrants spontaneously presented as they explained why they had become migrants. It is striking that with very different personal details, events and coincidences, both stories attribute the decision to migrate to Istanbul to a traumatic accident that forced the protagonists to change a life that until that point did not involve transnational migration. In the stories the protagonist's ambition, determination and will are rendered invisible and he is presented as a victim. The author calls this rhetorical topos 'great mishap'. It resonates with stories from other migrants. The author interprets it as an expression of compunction, of social responsibility weighing on the actor for abandoning close others in favour of an individual quest for self-realisation. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]