Tekalign Ayalew
Tekalign Ayalew

On the basis of the ethnographic fieldwork conducted in Sweden, Italy, Sudan and Ethiopia during 2013–2015, this study examines the motivations, organizations and impact of overland migratory journeys from Ethiopia and Eritrea across the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea to Sweden. The analysis involves the exploring of how migrants strive to prepare, manage and survive the multiple risks and structural barriers they encounter: the exits from Eritrea and Ethiopia, negotiations and contacts with various brokers and facilitators, organized crime and violence, restrictive border controls, passage through the Desert and high Sea and finally, ‘managing the asylum system in Sweden’.

Further, it maps how the process of contemporary refugee mobility and multiple transitions is facilitated by the entanglement of transnational social relations and smuggling practices. The study argues for a perspective wherein migration journeys are embedded in and affected by the process of dynamic intergenerational, translocal and transnational social relations, material practices and knowledge productions. It depicts how practices and facilitations of irregular migratory mobility reproduce collective knowledge that refugees mobilize to endure risks during their journey, establishing a community and creating a home after arriving at the destination location.

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