Teranga: The Role of Associations in the Senegalese Community in the City of Buenos Aires (2012-2018)
Johnson, Miles Bernard
This study contributes to the growing field of literature and research that focuses on the nature and influence of the existent African population in Argentina, specifically on transnational Senegalese migrants to the city of Buenos Aires. Over the years, Senegalese immigrants have constructed their own associations and self-help networks within and outside of Argentina. The intention of this work is to explore the nature, role, and the use of these formal and informal associations in the Senegalese migrant population in the city of Buenos Aires, specifically examining the Asociación de Residentes Senegaleses en Argentina (ARSA) and the Murīdiyya (or Murīd brotherhood) in Buenos Aires in order to understand why Senegalese immigrants prefer informal associations to formal ones. Tracing the historic influence of Islam and Sufi Brotherhoods in Senegal, as well as Senegalese associations in Italy, Spain, and the United States, this thesis will seek to provide additional details on the noted discrepancy between the intentions of the Senegalese Association in Buenos Aires and the population it serves, positing that although there exist formal associations, migrants only use them for formal procedures, with many preferring to seek aid from group solidarity or religious associations such as the Murīdiyya. The findings show that migrants do not utilize the ARSA with frequency due to the nature and reason for their migration. The lack of time and the view towards living “here and there”, as well as the strong ties with the Murīdiyya, gives more weight to the informal associations, principally the Murīd brotherhood. Additionally, due to the autonomous role the Murīdiyya holds in Senegal, and their relation to the State, many migrants are not accustomed to relying on the State for the provision of aid, and therefore defer to their own network rather than the formalized association. However, the Asociación de Residentes Senegaleses en Argentina aids migran s by representing Senegalese culture and its community, as well as advocating on behalf of migrants in legal matters and residency status. Therefore, the ARSA does serve as an important intermediary role for migrants in Argentina, especially considering the lack of embassy or consulate in Argentina.
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