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Migration as Life in Morocco
by Alice Elliot
Published by: Indiana University Press
What does migration look like from the inside out? In The Outside, Alice Elliot decenters conventional approaches to migration by focusing on places of departure rather than arrival and rethinks migration from the perspective of those who have not (yet) left. Through an intimate ethnography of towns and villages notorious in Morocco for their striking emigration to "the outside," Elliot traces the powerful ways migration permeates life: as brutal bureaucratic machinery administering hope and despair, as intimate force crisscrossing kinship relations and bonds of love and care, as imaginative horizon of the self and of the future. Challenging dominant understandings of migration and their deadly consequences by centering non-migrants' sharp theorizations and intimate experiences of "the outside," Elliot recasts migration as a deeply relational entity, and attends to the ethnographic, conceptual, and political imagination required by the constitutive relationship between migration and life.
Note on Transliteration
Tempos of Life
The Outside Inside
Wives of Elsewhere
The Gender of the Crossing
Conclusion: Migration as Life
Alice Elliot is Lecturer in Anthropology at Goldsmiths, University of London. She edited (with Roger Norum and Noel B. Salazar) Methodologies of Mobility: Ethnography and Experiment.
We tend to know a great deal about male migration, and far less about the women left behind. Alice Elliot examines both sides, indeed many sides, of what it means to migrate and how the process constitutes entire communities, both imaginatively and materially. It is particularly good at unearthing the paradoxes and ambiguities of what "the outside" means. It is subtle, incisive, and thought provoking.~David Crawford, editor of Encountering Morocco: Fieldwork and Cultural Understanding
This is one of the finest descriptions I have read of the complex and deep effect of emigration on a society and the intimate lives of people affected by it. Alice Elliot's systematic attention to intimate details in relation to wide political economic realities makes it especially valuable.~Samuli Schielke, author of Egypt in the Future Tense:Hope, Frustration, and Ambivalence before and after 2011
Drawing on compelling ethnographic details and robust theoretical engagements, this book provides refreshing and important insights into the study of gender, migration, imagination, temporality, subjectivity, and the meaning of the "outside." The author provides thick analysis of the multiple relationalities that shape and are shaped by the movement of individuals between different spaces and societies and reaffirms the value of ethnography in questioning simplistic assumptions about migration and in showing its multifaceted and contingent interconnectivity to life more broadly.~Farha Ghannam, author of Remaking the Modern: Space, Relocation, and the Politics of Identity in a Global Cairo and Live
Alice Elliot has managed to enter the intimate inside of a Moroccan region both drained and energized by migration to an outside that is at once real and imaginary. Observing with astute sympathy such mundane details as young women's interactions as they test cosmetics on themselves, she deploys her own positionality as a genuinely familiar outsider to shed light on an aspect of migration that, sadly, is too often left out of account: what happens to those who stay behind? How does their fate shape the outside for which they yearn? How does what happens outside change what is possible within?~Michael Herzfeld, Harvard University
The Outside is a rich, deep, and nuanced ethnographic account of the transformations that migration generates in sending communities in the Tadla plain in central Morocco.~Lorena Gazzotti, International Migration Review