Uncertainty, responsibility and desire. Adolescents’ migration in a world of borders

One of the most striking divides in the contemporary, globalized world, is represented by the possibility to move. While hundreds of thousands of people are currently flying towards exotic, at hand destinations, others are cueing in front of a consulate desk waiting for a probable refusal, or planning the next assault to one of the proliferating fences which enclave the affluent regions of the world. Seeing from the South, this divide concurs in transforming mobility into a possibility of life and a marker of success. Those who are able to leave, under whatever conditions and often ‘at any cost’, must correspond to the collective expectations by acquiring the material and moral signs which epitomize success in a world of accumulation and desire. My presentation aims at discussing this process and their psychological and social consequences on the lives of the migrating youths.

Francesco Vacchiano is an anthropologist and a clinical psychologist with interests in migration, medical and psychological anthropology, European borders and boundaries, bureaucracies and politics of citizenship, as well as societies and institutions in North Africa. He has joined research and clinical practice in the applied fields of mental health and migration (ethnopsychology), carrying out his professional activity in Italy and Portugal. He has been doing research in Morocco, Tunisia and in the Mediterranean area on some of the main profiles of the contemporary human mobility (‘unaccompanied minors’, refugees and ‘victims of trafficking’) and on the policies and practices of their inclusion/exclusion. He is currently studying the expectations related to migration and activism in North Africa. He has taught in programs in Anthropology, Psychology, Social Working, Mediterranean and North African Studies in Italy, Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.