Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Economic Mobility and the Transnational Practices of West Africans in Catalonia, Spain

Academic journal article Journal of Pan African Studies

Economic Mobility and the Transnational Practices of West Africans in Catalonia, Spain

Article excerpt

This study investigates the transnational behaviors of Senegalese and Gambian (Senegambian) immigrants in Spain in relation to their employment and immigration status, or economic integration. Contrary to suggestions that transnationalism is a response to the downward mobility that nonwhite immigrants encounter in post-industrial countries, ethnographic data shows that engagement in cross-border activities increases with upward mobility in the labor market. The transnational practices of Senegambian immigrants who do not possess work permits and are involved in low-wage seasonal agricultural work are limited to telephone calls and remittances. Whereas, the transnational activities of immigrants who have work permits and are employed in less-skilled construction or factory work are more developed and include return visits, land purchase and home construction. The acquisition of a work permit is a significant variable for mobility in the labor market and engagement in transnational activities. After obtaining a work permit, immigrants usually abandon agricultural work for less-skilled employment in construction, services and factories that provide higher wages. Length of residence in Spain is also an important variable for economic mobility. …

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