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The transnational activities of migrants in border regions and their contribution to local development in their areas of origin. A study of Moroccans in the Canaries. Description This multidisciplinary research effort focuses on the transnational activities of Moroccan migrants residing in the Canaries, highlighting the economic, social and cultural ties generated by the mobility of persons from the Souss-MassaDraâ and Guelmin-Es Smara regions. Particular attention is paid to the interaction between the migratory process, transnational activities and local development within the context of a border setting that has taken on increased relevance in the area of international migrations. The science team from the Tenerife Immigration Observatory (OBITen), in concert with the Observatoire Régional des Migrations Espace et Sociétés (ORMES) of the Ibn Zohr University in Agadir, carried out extensive field work in 2009 both in the Canaries and in the aforementioned regions of Morocco. The survey of 400 migrant Moroccans living in Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife was coupled with in-depth interviews of family units with transnational activities, both the migrants who settled in the Canaries as well as their relatives still living in the foregoing regions of Morocco. This project was subsidized by the Canary government’s Office of African Relations.

Objectives and index terms

Research Team

Methodology

Results (Summary)

Available publications LEON SANTANA, J.S. (2010), “Transnational activities and strategies in a sealed border. The southwest border between the European Union and Africa: Souss Massa Draâ – Canaries migrations” in the Tenth Spanish Congress of Sociology, Pamplona. GODENAU, D. & LEON SANTANA, J.S. (2010), “The use of qualitative techniques in researching the transnational activities of migrants. A study of Moroccan immigrants in the Canaries” in the Twelfth Congress of the Spanish Population.

Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net


Objectives and index terms

1. Geodemographic and socio-economic study of the Moroccan community living in the Canaries. Identification of the main geographical areas of origin in Morocco. 2. Detection, characterization and quantification of the transnational activities of Moroccan immigrants residing in the Canaries. 3. Analysis of the institutional, political and economic framework involving the transnational activities of Moroccan migrants. 4. Geodemographic and socio-economic study of the main regions of origin responsible for Moroccan emigration to the Canaries. 5. Detection, characterization and quantification of the influence of the transnational activities of the emigrant Moroccan community in regions of origin. 6. Identification of the elements and mechanisms that allow for the exploitation of synergies between the transnational activity of emigrants and local development initiatives. 7. Formulation of strategies for disseminating the elements and mechanisms affecting local development and which are regarded as good practices.

Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Crist贸bal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net


Research team Dirk Godenau (Director) María Asunción Asín Cabrera Juan Salvador León Santana Paloma López Reillo Vicente Manuel Zapata Hernández University of La Laguna Julio Ramallo Rodríguez Tenerife Council Nassara Cabrera Abu (project grant researcher) Alexis Mesa Marrero (OBITen grant researcher)

Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net


Methodology The investigation of the transnational migratory phenomenon and of the explanation of its impact on development at the site of origin requires collaboration between various social science disciplines for several reasons. First, because the migratory movement itself is based on multiple factors. Although foremost among the general reasons are those of a financial nature, the choice of destination and the organization of migratory journeys require a consideration of social networks, family strategies and the legal and administrative conditions involved in crossing borders. Second, the transnational activities of migrants are diverse and the links to the sites of origin are not limited to remittances and investments - also significant are cultural and social norms that influence the so-called social remittances. Third, and as a consequence of the above, the impact on the sites of origin is not merely economic in the sense of focusing the analysis on production activities, because the effects on the social fabric and on behavior in general must likewise be taken into account. Fourth, the interpretative frameworks of transnationality rely on contributions by researchers rooted in different disciplinary contexts. Although social anthropology often provides an explicit reference framework for the study of transnationality, transnational activities are also studied implicitly in other disciplines. One common example is the economic study of remittances and their impact on places of origin.

So as to address the permanent challenge posed by organizing multidisciplinary teams when attempting to foster interdisciplinary dialogue, the Tenerife Immigration Observatory (OBITen) assembled a team with representatives from the fields of geography, sociology, economy, law and education. The different disciplinary specializations were harnessed in assigning the various analytical and statistical tasks while being careful to avoid analytical gaps. Along these lines, the work groups assembled ad hoc featured experts from different branches of knowledge. This team effort went through several phases. The first involved a bibliographic revision and formulation of hypotheses to contrast the main areas of study: migratory process, transnationality and impact on place of origin as the key considerations, plus collateral topics such as the economic and historical relations between the Canaries and Morocco, social and family structure in Morocco and legal aspects of immigration in Spain. The second phase focused on the design, implementation and utilization of the findings from the research techniques used. This part of the project benefitted from the full-time work of a researcher hired to conduct the survey and indepth interviews. A third phase involved configuring work teams to focus on analyzing the results for the three key considerations mentioned above. The multifocal character features another notable characteristic in the methodological approach to the research. The field work was done both in the Canaries, specifically on the islands of Lanzarote, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria and Tenerife, and in Morocco, particularly in the cities of Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Crist贸bal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net


Guelmin and Sidi Ifni in the Souss-Massa-Draâ and Guelmim-Es Smara regions, given the importance these locations have as the sites of origin of Moroccan immigrants living in the Canaries. The Observatoire Régional des Migrations Espaces et Sociétés (ORMES) took part in the research through meetings held between both teams, both at the University of La Laguna and at the Ibn Zohr University in Agadir. The ORMES team also provided support to the researcher hired by OBITen during her field work in Morocco.

The social research techniques used, and listed below, were of a qualitative and quantitative nature: 1. Surveys of Moroccan immigrants living in the Canaries and focusing on transnational activities (400). 2. Semi-structured interviews of Moroccan immigrants living in select areas of destination in the Canaries. 3. Semi-structured interviews of families affected by emigration to Spain-Canaries in selected areas of origin in Morocco. 4. Semi-structured interviews of selected sources in Morocco: officials from the Spanish consulate in Agadir, local political leaders, experts in local development, officials from organizations involved in development cooperation, neighborhood representatives, etc. 5. Semi-structured interviews of selected sources in the Canaries: officials from the Moroccan consulate in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, leaders of immigrant associations, NGO officials, owners or managers of ethnic businesses, religious representatives, etc. Prior to the field work, two meetings, one in Tenerife and the other in Morocco, were held with researchers taking part in the project so as to plan the operational details of the activities to be conducted both in the Canaries and in Morocco.

Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Cristóbal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net


Results (summary) The results indicate that the recent spurt in Moroccan immigration to the Canaries is due mainly to an increased influx from southern parts of Morocco. As a result, a study of the implication that these migratory ties have on transnational activities and on the contribution of migrants to the development of their areas of origin should prove interesting. These activities are characterized by two points of interest: on the one hand, by the predominance of one particular segment of the migrant population; and on the other, by the preponderance of online contacts, annual visits and remittances intended, in particular, to support families back in Morocco. Investments in the places of origin, in contrast, are less frequent and almost always involve the purchase of houses and land. The associative movement of the Moroccan community in the Canaries is still in its infancy, as are specific collective support initiatives intended to improve conditions at the locations of origin. Nevertheless, the consolidation of settlements and the integration of newly-arrived immigrants provides a clear opportunity to expand these contributions to developing said territories in coming years. Making proper use of and fomenting that potential depends on institutional measures both in the Canaries and in Souss-Massa-Dra芒 and Guelmim-Es Smara. Bilateral development initiatives supported by both Governments and Administrations would do well to contribute to strengthening the associative movement and to making migrants active participants in any actions that are undertaken.

Tenerife Immigration Observatory OBITen. Department of Geography. Faculty of Geography and History. Guajara Campus. University of La Laguna. 38071 San Crist贸bal de La Laguna. Santa Cruz de Tenerife. Tel. +34 922 317 762. Fax +34 922 317 723. obiten@ull.es. www.obiten.net

Project: Las actividades transnacionales de los migrantes en regiones fronterizas y...  

Proyecto investigation OBITen: Las actividades transnacionales de los migrantes en regiones fronterizas y su contribución al desarrollo loca...

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