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Better off at home? Rethinking responses to trafficked West African footballers in Europe

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journal contribution
posted on 01.05.2015, 12:50 by James Esson
The association between the football industry and the trafficking of West African youth has captivated academic, media and political interest. This article uses football trafficking as a case study to think through the broader conception of mobile African male bodies in football migration and trafficking discourses. I contribute to and move beyond existing literature on African football migration by stepping away from structural approaches currently used to conceptualise this migratory process. This is achieved by bringing migrants' subjectivities to the fore, and in doing so I also provide a novel critique of policy responses to irregular football migration. The article draws on data obtained from migrants who left West Africa for Europe, exploring the journeys these would-be footballers took, and their trajectories and circumstances after arrival. The central argument is that existing policy responses frame irregular football migrants as being ‘better off at home’. Problematically this creates a tension as for many of these migrants their country of origin is precisely where they do not want to be. Consequently, many remain in destination countries illegally without any means of subsistence.

Funding

The Economic and Social Research Council funded this doctoral research [grant number: ES/H011234/1 (ESRC PhD studentship)].

History

School

  • Social Sciences

Department

  • Geography and Environment

Published in

JOURNAL OF ETHNIC AND MIGRATION STUDIES

Volume

41

Issue

3

Pages

512 - 530 (19)

Citation

ESSON, J., 2015. Better off at home? Rethinking responses to trafficked West African footballers in Europe. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 41 (3), pp. 512 - 530.

Publisher

© The Author(s). Published by Taylor & Francis.

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Publisher statement

This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/ by/4.0/

Publication date

2015

Notes

This is an Open Access article published by Taylor & Francis distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http:// creativecommons.org/Licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

ISSN

1369-183X

Language

en

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