Présentation d’ouvrage Arc of the Journeyman. Afghan Migrants in England de Nichola Khan ― Mercredi 15 Juin 2022, 16h-17h30, Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers et en ligne

Les dépar­te­ments Health et Policy ont le plaisir de vous inviter à la présen­ta­tion de l’ou­vrage de Nichola Khan (Anthro­po­logue et psycho­logue, Univer­sité de Brighton), Arc of the Jour­neyman. Afghan Migrants in England paru en 2020, Univer­sity of Minne­sota Press.

L’évé­ne­ment aura lieu le mercredi 15 juin 2022 de 16 heures à 17h30 en salle 2.122 du bâti­ment Recherche Sud, Campus Condorcet, Aubervilliers.


Taking an empi­rical and imagi­nary field span­ning Afgha­nistan, Pakistan, and England, it deve­loped anthro­po­lo­gical takes on mobi­lity and immo­bi­lity in rela­tion to the trans­na­tional kinship obli­ga­tions and everyday lives of Pashtun migrants. It showed how the burdens of four decades of war and exile fall unfor­gi­vingly on Afghan fami­lies and their remit­ting sons—whose endu­ring struggles, after many years, still enrich an inner archive of dreams, fears, remem­be­rings, and anxieties.


A monu­mental achievement—of impres­sive, wide-ranging scho­lar­ship and original thin­king, finely analyzed and sensi­ti­vely portrayed. We have here the first full-length anthro­po­lo­gical study of Afghan refu­gees, making this a vital and much-needed contri­bu­tion. Through her richly histo­ri­cized analysis of migrant life histo­ries, fanta­sies, and even dreams, Nichola Khan collapses the past and the present and explodes received carto­gra­phies of Anglo–Afghan rela­tions. — Kaveri Qureshi, Univer­sity of Edin­burgh.

Le livre de Nichola Khan a été nominé au prix 2021 AAA Society for Huma­nistic Anthro­po­logy Victor Turner Prize in Ethno­gra­phic Writing.

Modé­ra­tion : Betty Rouland (ICM, CSD, Dépar­te­ment HEALTH) et Emeline Zoug­bédé (ICM, CSD, Dépar­te­ment POLICY)

Lieu : 2.122 du bâti­ment Recherche Sud, Campus Condorcet, Auber­vil­liers (Métro : ligne 12, station de métro ‘Front populaire’).

Format : Hybride, Parti­ciper à la réunion Zoom

Résumé détaillé :

Forty years of conti­nuous war and conflict have made Afghans the largest refugee group in the world. This first full-scale ethno­graphy of Afghan migrants in England examines the imprint of violence, displa­ce­ment, kinship obli­ga­tions, and mobi­lity on the lives and work of Pashtun jour­neyman taxi drivers in Britain. The analysis is centered in the county of Sussex, site of Brighton’s orien­ta­list Royal Pavi­lion, and the former home of colo­nial propa­gan­dist Rudyard Kipling. Nearly two decades of rela­tion­ships and field­work provide a deep unders­tan­ding of the everyday lives of Afghan migrants, who face unre­len­ting pres­sures to remit money to their strug­gling rela­tives in Pakistan and Afgha­nistan, adhere to tradi­tional values, and resettle the wives and chil­dren they have left behind. Given Pakistan is the largest host country for Afghan refu­gees, the book also brings the poli­tical terri­tory of Afgha­nistan firmly into the fold of South Asia. These foci shift us toward some fresh star­ting points, which the book deve­lops through three orga­ni­sing frames : language and life, histo­rical and temporal trans­for­ma­tion, and move­ment and mobility.

First, the pers­pec­tive of Afghans in England can disrupt stub­born asym­me­tries and concerns with Afgha­nistan as either humanitarianism’s deser­ving subject, or Europe’s threa­te­ning immi­gra­tion problem : from an Orien­ta­list view of a back­ward nation in perma­nent crisis, to refugee crises as forms of circular and trau­matic repe­ti­tion, or descent into chaos. Second, the focus on living history under­pins some psycho­so­cial harms, and poli­tical and economic ratio­na­li­ties working through the logic of exchange which impels migrants to cross the world in hopes of renewal—while remai­ning in ambi­va­lent rela­tion to their primary ties, affines, and cultural attach­ments. Third, analy­zing the local and trans­na­tional move­ments of migrant taxi-drivers offers fresh insights into ways cultural know­ledge is contin­gently consti­tuted within the multi­va­lent labor of moving (lite­rally and symbo­li­cally) through life.

This kalei­do­scopic narra­tive is enri­ched by the migrants’ stories and dreams, which take on extra signi­fi­cance among sleep-deprived taxi drivers. Khan chro­nicles the way these men rely on Pashto poems and apho­risms to make sense of what is strange or diffi­cult to bear. She also attests to the plea­sures of family and friends who are less deman­ding than kin back home—sharing connec­tion and moments of joy in dance, excur­sions, picnics, and humo­rous banter. Khan views these men’s lives through the lens of movement—the arrival of friends and family, return visits to Pakistan, driving custo­mers, the journey of remit­ting money over­seas. Conver­sely, Khan describes the immo­bi­lity of migrants who expe­rience “stuck­ness” caused by unres­pon­sive bureau­cra­cies, chronic inse­cu­rity, or struggles with depres­sion and other mental health condi­tions. Arc of the Jour­neyman expands and compli­cates current percep­tions of Afghan migrants, offe­ring a finely analyzed descrip­tion of their lives and commu­ni­ties as a moving, contin­gent, and fully contem­po­rary force.