This article presents the dramatic situation of African migrants who have decided to leave Africa and move to Europe, how they had to accept the fact that migration involves a radical change in their lifestyles, models of behavior and symbolic reference models. The common consequence of this decision is the heuristic value of Arnold van Gennep's three-phase model for analysis of the migratory process, in Victor Turner's version. It shows three phases of migratory process: separation, margin (liminal) and re-aggregation. The challenge for African migrants was a passage from one, well-known cultural condition to another, a strange one with all its social, existence and identity consequences. Migrants live outside the social structure until they get a new position in the new society. But, according to the author, the drama for migrants starts when typical migratory process is broken, that is, when they do not achieve re-aggregation, and the stage of marginalization (liminal stage) becomes a permanent situation. The author argues that the so-called qualitative method is adequate for analyzing the luminal migration. In his opinion, letters, life stories and autobiographies are best examples of this kind of documents. That's why this article makes reference to biographic stories of two migrants in Italy from Senegal.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.