Author's Final Manuscript
Remittance networks built through transnational migration have transformed local economies as well as social lives in many parts of the world. In this article, I examine the relationship between transnational migration and local business practices for ethnic Fulɓe people from the Fouta Djallon highlands of Guinea. Although some Fouta Djallon residents have withstood poverty with the help of remittances from migrant relatives, many migrants fail to earn money abroad. But despite slim chances of success, migration remains a popular undertaking, especially for young men. Meanwhile, non-migrants engage in small business projects that yield little or no income. Analyzing informants’ critiques of “uselessness,” I argue that both near- impossible migration quests and seemingly irrational business practices are linked by a common desire to achieve social personhood under adverse structural conditions. Apparent striving for success mitigates failure to send or earn money, even while reproducing ideals of mobility and entrepreneurship in responsible personhood.
© 2015 by the American Anthropological Association.
S. Fioratta, "Beyond Remittance: Evading Uselessness and Seeking Personhood in Fouta Djallon, Guinea," American Ethnologist 42.2 (2015): 295-308.