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Transnational Archipelago

Transnational Archipelago: Perspectives on Cape Verdean Migration and Diaspora

Luís Batalha
Jørgen Carling
Copyright Date: 2008
Pages: 304
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  • Book Info
    Transnational Archipelago
    Book Description:

    The island nation of Cape Verde has given rise to a diaspora that spans the four continents of the Atlantic Ocean. Migration has been essential to the island since the birth of its nation. This volume makes a significant contribution to the study of international migration and transnationalism by exploring the Cape Verdean diaspora through its geographic diversity and with a broad thematic range. This title is available in the OAPEN Library -

    eISBN: 978-90-485-0188-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. 1-2)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. 3-4)
  3. Foreword
    (pp. 5-6)
    Luís Batalha and Jørgen Carling

    This is the first book to present a comprehensive exploration of Cape Verdean migration and transnationalism. It is also one of very few anthologies that presents a range of geographical and thematic perspectives on any single diaspora. The book emerged out of a conference organised at the Centro de Estudos de Antropologia Social (CEAS), at the Instituto Superior de Ciências do Trabalho e da Empresa (ISCTE), in Lisbon, April 2005. The conference comprised forty presentations by researchers from a dozen different countries. The chapters in this book include substantially revised versions of selected conference papers, chapters that merged individual conference...

  4. Notes on contributors
    (pp. 7-12)
  5. Chapter 1 Cape Verdean Migration and Diaspora
    (pp. 13-32)
    Jørgen Carling and Luís Batalha

    Few countries in the world have been as profoundly shaped by migration as Cape Verde. The archipelago of Cape Verde was populated by immigrants, and later experienced emigration on a massive scale in relation to its population. Ties with the diaspora were a critical lifeline for the newly independent country, and instrumental in the transition to multiparty democracy. While the emigrants have been central to Cape Verdean nation-building, they have nonetheless been an elusive minority in most of the places they have settled. Cape Verde is a remote country that most people in other parts of the world have never...


    • Chapter 2 Cape Verdeans in the U.S.
      (pp. 35-46)
      Marilyn Halter

      For well over a century, the U.S. has hosted the largest proportion of the world-wide Cape Verdean diaspora residing in any one nation, a population that includes immigrants and their descendants, and it continues to do so to this very day (Halter 1993; Carling 2002).

      Always plagued by scanty and erratic rainfall, the effects of the dry climate in the Cape Verde Islands was exacerbated by colonial mismanagement of the land, so that by the end of the 18thcentury, the people of the islands were experiencing severe and recurrent droughts with related famines and high mortality rates. Unable to...

    • Chapter 3 Cape Verdeans in Argentina
      (pp. 47-54)
      Marta Maffia

      According to oral testimonies, the first Cape Verdeans arrived in Argentina towards the end of the 19thcentury, in connection with the South Atlantic whaling industry. During the first half of the 20thcentury, Cape Verdeans arrived as passengers, crew members or stowaways on ships. Migration increased in the 1920s, coinciding with one of the most serious famines in Cape Verde’s history (Carreira 1977). The migrants came in small groups or individually, mostly from the islands of São Vicente, Santo Antão and São Nicolau, and, to a lesser extent, from Fogo and Brava.

      Documentary sources on Cape Verdean migration to...

    • Chapter 4 Cape Verdeans in São Tomé and Príncipe
      (pp. 55-60)
      Augusto Nascimento

      The Cape Verdeans were brought to São Tomé and Príncipe to work on the cacao plantations. In the aftermath of the Second World War there was an increase in the prices of colonial products, which forced plantation owners and local authorities to try to obtain large numbers of workers. At the same time, a succession of droughts caused thousands of deaths in Cape Verde. Though some cases of conscription still occurred, this was hardly necessary, since the harsh conditions pushed Cape Verdeans to accept work contracts in any place outside of the islands.

      The demand for workers in theroças...

    • Chapter 5 Cape Verdeans in Portugal
      (pp. 61-72)
      Luís Batalha

      Despite being often referred to as a single, large ‘community’ (e.g., França 1992; Gomes 1999), Cape Verdeans in Portugal are scattered across several different, small communities, which exist mostly at the local level of the neighbourhood. This does not mean, however, that Cape Verdeans in Portugal do not share some features of a more general and global identity that they mutually understand as ‘Cape Verdean’.

      In fact, Cape Verdeans in Portugal (as elsewhere) are divided by race, ethnicity and education, factors which combine to construct their social position both within Portuguese society and among themselves. Education plays the most important...

    • Chapter 6 Cape Verdeans in Spain
      (pp. 73-80)
      Rocío Moldes Farelo and Luzia Oca González

      The history of Cape Verdean migration to Spain illustrates the role of migrant networks in creating diaspora communities in unlikely places. It is striking that people from specific villages in the African archipelago became employed as miners in the hills of León and as fishermen on the coast of Galiza (Galicia). The Cape Verdeans in León were in fact pioneers in African migration to Spain, migrating ten years before the subsequent settlement of other Sub-Saharan African groups.

      The arrival of Cape Verdeans in Spain is closely linked to the successive waves of Cape Verdean migration to Portugal. The first Cape...

    • Chapter 7 Cape Verdeans in Italy
      (pp. 81-90)
      Jacqueline Andall

      Cape Verdean migration to Italy is characteristic of the emergence of new trends in migration patterns to Europe. It is significant for at least three principal reasons. Firstly, no colonial relationship existed between Cape Verde and Italy – a migratory pattern which had characterised earlier post-war migrations from Africa to Europe. Secondly, when Cape Verdeans began to migrate to Italy, in the 1960s, the migration consisted of an exclusively female single-sex movement. This was a novel departure in terms of previous patterns of migration from Cape Verde, but it was also novel from a European perspective, marking, as it did,...

    • Chapter 8 Cape Verdeans in the Netherlands
      (pp. 91-100)
      Jørgen Carling

      The Dutch-Cape Verdean community has an ambivalent position in the Cape Verdean diaspora. On the on hand, the Netherlands retains its reputation from the 1960s as a wealthy and orderly land of opportunities. On the other hand, people in Cape Verde increasingly associate the Netherlands with drugs and other social problems. The Cape Verdean minority has also acquired an ambiguous image in Dutch society. It was traditionally seen as a hard-working, inconspicuous immigrant population. More recently, the Dutch-Cape Verdean community is being discussed in more critical terms.

      The Netherlands has the third largest population of Cape Verdeans in diaspora, after...

    • Chapter 9 Cape Verdeans in Sweden
      (pp. 101-110)
      Lisa Åkesson

      The first Cape Verdeans to permanently settle in Sweden arrived in the late 1950s.¹ They came from what was then still a famine-stricken society, and they arrived in a country characterised by a booming postwar economy, an inhospitable climate and an almost total unfamiliarity with non-European immigrants. These first pioneers were young men, they came from the islands of Boa Vista and São Vicente and they arrived in Sweden quite accidentally. Like many other young male Cape Verdeans, they had worked their way out into the world as seafarers, and when the ships on which they were hired arrived in...


    • Chapter 10 Making Waves: Cape Verdeans, Whaling and the Uses of Photography
      (pp. 113-130)
      Memory Holloway

      This chapter is based on an investigation of photographs of Cape Verdeans in the New Bedford Whaling Museum, Massachusetts.¹ The museum holds a large collection of photographs of Cape Verdeans that document them at work on whaling ships, on packets, and in cranberry bogs. These photographs give a vivid picture of the social position, the work and wages of Cape Verdeans in the late-19thand early-20thcenturies.

      The photographs discussed below present the viewer with an unusual set of documents that record the work and conditions aboard a whaling ship. By examining these photographs in relation to the ship log...

    • Chapter 11 And When the Women Leave? Female Emigration from Boa Vista
      (pp. 131-144)
      Andréa de Souza Lobo

      I met Joana in 2002. She had been going back and forth to Italy for eight years. She came back during her vacations to see her family, her life-partner and her 17-year-old daughter who had remained behind in Boa Vista, Cape Verde, in her grandmother’s care. Joana emigrated to Italy in 1994, with the help of a cousin who found her a job as a housemaid and got herpapéis(documents) to allow her to enter the country. She left her daughter behind, still a baby at the time, living with her grandmother. Thepai de filho(child’s father), despite...

    • Chapter 12 Cape Verdean Tongues: Speaking of ‘Nation’ at Home and Abroad
      (pp. 145-160)
      Márcia Rego

      The story above, what I dub the ‘myth of origin’ of the Cape Verdean diaspora, was told in 1995 during a conference on ‘Cape Verdeanness’ – one of many events held in the nation’s capital, Praia, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of independence. It is a story about a new and unique people who were created by the ‘old’ world system – a system of empires and colonial rule – and who continued to spread and flourish around the world. Having been ‘separated’ from Africa, they are acknowledged as being of Africa, but not African, just as they are also...

    • Chapter 13 Cape Verdean Transnationalism on the Internet
      (pp. 161-172)
      Sónia Melo

      Cape Verdean migration and its transnational activities are most likely unknown to the majority of researchers that work in those fields of study. Being a small country, the importance of the transnational phenomena to the country and its people is not well known. Although scattered around the world, many Cape Verdeans keep active links with their place of origin. In the last decade, the Internet has become another means and another space through which Cape Verdeans can maintain easier, closer and more frequent contact with their families, friends and business partners.

      Transnational practices have been defined as ‘occupations and activities...

    • Chapter 14 Images of Emigration in Cape Verdean Music
      (pp. 173-188)
      Juliana Braz Dias

      Emigration and music are two distinctive features of the Cape Verdean people. The context of emigration has been a fundamental factor in the construction of the Cape Verdean way of life. Similarly, Cape Verdean identity has been shaped by the idea, which is assumed by the archipelago’s natives, that there is an inherent musicality among them. My aim in this work is to present the interplay between these two domains, and the role music plays in making this continuous and powerful emigration flux possible for Cape Verdeans.

      Emigration directly involves a great number of Cape Verdeans. As described in chapter...

    • Chapter 15 Cape Verdean Migration, Music Recordings and Performance
      (pp. 189-204)
      Rui Cidra

      This work explores the cultural impact of migration and the international music industry on the production of Cape Verdean popular music.¹ By examining the nature of the social networks that have been established between Cape Verde and Portugal with regard to music and dance from the first half of the 20thcentury onwards, I will endeavour: a) to describe the development of a transnational realm of musical production that brings together musicians, performers, public, recording companies and producers of musical events who live in Cape Verde and in different countries of the Cape Verdean diaspora or else who travel regularly...

    • Chapter 16 Diasporic Networks, Political Change, and the Growth of Cabo-Zouk Music
      (pp. 205-220)
      JoAnne Hoffman

      On any given weekend, if you stepped into a discothèque in the capital city of Praia, or the port city of Mindelo, or the diaspora communities of Brockton, Rotterdam, Paris, and Lisbon, you would undoubtedly hear the strains ofcabo-zouk¹, a music which combines driving Antilleanzoukrhythms and romantic lyrics in Cape Verdean Kriolu. Coinciding with a dramatic change in government in the early 1990s,cabozoukhas continued to gain in popularity, to a point where today it dominates the airwaves, nightclubs, and stages of Cape Verdean communities throughout the world. Despite its widespread popularity, there are many who...

    • Chapter 17 Managing Work and Care for Young Children in Cape Verdean Families in Portugal
      (pp. 221-236)
      Karin Wall

      Our main concern in this chapter is with the work and family lives of Cape Verdean immigrant families. By focusing on a very specific but crucial problem in family life – how to manage work and caring responsibilities for young children – our aim is to identify the strategies adopted by Cape Verdean immigrant families in Portugal in order to organise work and family life. From a broader perspective, however, we can say that an analysis of the work/life strategies of families will give us a privileged insight into the integration process of Cape Verdean families. If, as we know,...

    • Chapter 18 Cape Verdeans’ Pathways to Health: Local Problems, Transnational Solutions
      (pp. 237-254)
      Huub Beijers and Cláudia de Freitas

      Western societies are developing into ‘health societies’ (Kickbusch 2004), where health is increasingly defined both as a public good, dominating the social and political discourses, and as an individual right and a personal goal in life. Each and every individual is expected to become an active partner in the drive toward health and is held accountable for securing his/her well-being (Rose 2001). This implies a re-organisation of the rights and obligations of citizens with regard to health and the rise of new modalities of citizenship (Abraham and Lewis 2002), connected to the vitality of the healthy body (and brain) and...

    • Chapter 19 Cape Verdean Diasporic Identity Formation
      (pp. 255-268)
      Gina Sánchez Gibau

      The concept of the African diaspora has its intellectual roots in traditional Pan-Africanist activities conducted in the U.S., the U.K. and in the Caribbean during the 19thcentury. Since that time, theories of the African diaspora include both support and criticism of the idea of Africa as the primary site of identity formation (Appiah 1992; Drake 1982; Gilroy 1993; Gordon 1998; Padmore 1956). The evolution of the literature ranges from past conceptualisations of the African diaspora as a conglomerate with traceable ties to Africa, to more recent attempts at de-essentializing this connection in order to analyze and emphasise the African...

    • Chapter 20 The Resilience of the Cape Verdean Migration Tradition
      (pp. 269-284)
      Lisa Åkesson

      This chapter examines the relationship between social conditions, processes of identification and experiences of ‘homeland transnationalism’ against the backdrop of the Cape Verdean culture of migration. The objective is to synthesise the different factors that together shape Cape Verdeans’ desires to leave their homeland. As will be made evident, aspirations to migrate are about many things; they concern hopes for social mobility as well as people’s view of themselves and their nation, and they are also related to the pervasive impact of transnational relations on everyday life in the homeland.

      During the last decades, the Cape Verdean tradition of migration...

  8. Subject Index
    (pp. 285-298)