CE41 - Inégalités, discriminations, migrations

International migration of young self-employed minors. Migration of young African minors to Europe: Transnationalization and process of early empowerment. – MIJMA

Submission summary

The international migration of young and autonomous minors (unaccompanied minors or MNA in France), which the "Unaccompanied Minors" Mission (MMNA) has emphasized in its reports since its creation in 2013, remains an object that is difficult to classify scientifically and complex to address politically. As Sofia Laiz Moreira noted, "it is a complex migratory subject, presenting diverse and contradictory aspects in a pattern which brings together two concepts : the subject of protection (the child) and the subject of exclusion (the foreigner)" (Laiz M., 2012: 63). And the debate that followed the terrorist attack perpetrated in Paris last September by a young migrant who was in the care of the child welfare system reminded us how difficult it is to qualify this migratory phenomenon, the controversies and clichés it raises, and its treatment by public policies that oscillate, depending on the situation, between child protection, fight against irregular migration, delinquency and now terrorism. The trip to Morocco made by the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice last December, to sign a bilateral agreement on the deportation of unaccompanied minors highlights the politicization of this issue. In 2019, the Ministry of Justice's mission « Mineurs Non Accompagnés » (MMNA) counted, in metropolitan France, nearly 16,760 MNA in care. 61% of them came from Guinea, Côte d'Ivoire and Mali, 95% were boys and nearly 90% were over 15 years old (Doineau, Godefroy, 2017; MMNA, 2020). However, these figures should be interpreted with caution, as they do not include all those who escaped or were excluded from MNA public care because of their age. The latter are left to their own devices, living on the help of civil society or in makeshift camps, with the hope of settling down in Europe after a long migratory journey of several months, or even several years, which began for some of them on the East or West coast of Africa and transited through Mauritania, Libya, Morocco or Tunisia.
This project, which brings together an international and interdisciplinary team (composed of sociologists, geographers, anthropologists, economists, linguists, psychopathologists and political scientists) aims to question the migration experience of these young people and its effects, from the conception of the migration project in the countries of departure to the arrival in the transit or settlement areas. Our approach to the subject aims to consider these migrations as a process that interweaves individual and social dimensions.
We propose to study this mobility of minors from Africa (North, West and Sahel) with a special attention to the diversity of routes from countries of departure, and transit to the country of installation. We will question this migration as the revealer as well as the vector of the social process of empowerment of young Africans. Through this process, we intend to observe and analyze the early forms of "adult becoming", that the reasons for the departure of the country of origin reveal, that the migratory route reinforces, and that the installation in the countries of destination establishes or opposes

Project coordination

Mustapha EL MIRI (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence & Corse - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail)

The author of this summary is the project coordinator, who is responsible for the content of this summary. The ANR declines any responsibility as for its contents.


CNRS DR12-LEST Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Délégation Provence & Corse - Laboratoire d'économie et de sociologie du travail

Help of the ANR 337,559 euros
Beginning and duration of the scientific project: December 2021 - 48 Months

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