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Darkness before DaybreakAfrican Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today$
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Hans Lucht

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780520270718

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520270718.001.0001

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The Body Stays, but the Soul Returns

The Body Stays, but the Soul Returns

(p.216) Seven The Body Stays, but the Soul Returns
Darkness before Daybreak

Hans Lucht

University of California Press

This chapter explores the difficulties of obtaining information about a person lost in the desert or on the Mediterranean en route to Europe, focusing especially on spiritual assistance. It considers the socioeconomic impact of migrant deaths from the point of view of the young widows and explores the existential themes of losing a beloved family member. It also returns to the question of existential reciprocity. The deaths entailed in illegal immigration are recognized on many different levels of village life and major efforts are set in motion to sort out the details and ensure that the lost person's soul is socially and politically reclaimed. Moreover, the soul hovering helplessly about in the forsaken borderlands of Europe is reconfigured in the village's religious cosmology. This form of local counteraction appears to be less a critique of the world political economy than a way of conceding a loss in the face of powers that one has no control over.

Keywords:   illegal migration, illegal migrants, migrant deaths, existential reciprocity, spiritual assistance

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