n French Studies in Southern Africa - Enjeux du silence dans les littératures de la post-colonie

Volume 2008, Issue 38
  • ISSN : 0259-0247



Whether it is about the departures, the extended stays of migrants in the host country, or the triumphant returns home with their attendant grand "performances", different mechanisms contribute to perpetuate the myths surrounding emigration. These enriching processes, both personal and familial, as well as the socio-economic tribulations of the members of the family who have stayed in the home country, create numerous expectations. Migration is often seen by economists as an individual process, when in fact it is a collective one: that of a family, a network, or a diaspora dependant upon different mechanisms linked to trust, money, and power. Paradoxically, one of the mechanisms of transmission and perpetuation of these myths structuring the migratory event relies upon silence. The silence in question here acts as a forceful narrative motor, which needs to be contrasted to the story: the self-telling which holds centre-stage in the migration mythology.

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