Zwischen Suffering und Styling. Nigerianische Migrantinnen beiderseits des Estrecho
Within the scope of my Ph.D. project, I work with Nigerian female migrants on both sides of the Strait of Gibraltar, in the South of Spain and the North of Morocco, mainly Tangier. Due to tightened immigration laws and heavily guarded frontiers, it has become very difficult to reach Europe, and many migrants travelling through land spend up to several years in Morocco until they are able to cross successfully one of the European borders.
My research interest is focussed on the relationships between migration and the human body. This means a) the way the body is marked and transformed by the long journey overland to Europe and b) the body as means to proceed with the journey.
I understand the human body as the project’s guideline, due to the fact that it is often the only means for migrants and at the same time also the only capital in a transitorial migrant’s life, which is marked by various borders and border-crossings.
I undertook fieldwork for a totality of 13 months on both sides of the Strait, the Estrecho. This fieldwork was characterized by a high mobility because of the constant mobility of the migrants. Additionally, I had the opportunity to accompany a migrant during a visit to her hometown Benin City. Participant observation was the main and most appropriate methodological tool during research within the context of clandestine migration.
The theoretical frame is drawn from approaches of the anthropology of the body, the borderland studies and theories of liminality.