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  • Author or Editor: Anaïs Ménard x
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This article analyses the individual aspirations of Sierra Leoneans living in France in relation to normative expectations related to mobility. It argues that aspirations and expectations are expressions of spatialized forms of social becoming situated within broader norms concerning socially-valued forms of mobility. Aspirations to social mobility link up distinct places in a fragmented transnational field, transform them as value-laden spaces, and inform migrants’ assessment of their own trajectory within them. Individual aspirations are formulated with regard to spaces migrants have left, spaces they live in, and spaces they would like to reach. Sierra Leoneans living in France have reached a ‘destination country’ and yet, do not experience their situation as the ideal migratory path. Their achievements are measured with regard to expectations of social mobility as imagined in English-speaking spaces, thereby reinforcing the narrative of mobility and the persistence of local idioms of ‘success’ based on historical transnational connections.

Open Access
In: African Diaspora


This section introduction explores the imaginative dimension of mobility in two West African countries, Sierra Leone and Liberia. Building on literature that highlights the existential dimension of movement and migration, the authors explore three socio-cultural patterns that inform representations of im/mobility: historical continuities and the longue-durée perspective on mobile practices, the association of geographical mobility with social betterment, and the interaction between local aspirations and the imaginary of global modernity. The three individual contributions by Bedert, Enria and Ménard bring out the work of imagination attached to im/mobility both in ‘home’ countries and diaspora communities, and underline the continuity of representations and practices between spaces that are part of specific transnational social fields.

Free access
In: African Diaspora