Transits

material culture, migration and everyday life

Month: July 2019

Notes from the field: Luanda #2 Angolan Media analysis

Within the scope of the project Transits, we have decided to conduct a media content analysis, considering the online available written press, between January 2017 and June 2018. It will focus on the production of media representations about “migrants”, “emigrants”, “immigrants”, “expatriates” and other related terms.

Focusing on the flows from and to Berlin, Luanda, Lisbon and Sydney, this analysis will explore the way migrants and migrations are represented in the public sphere, as well as the type and degree of acceptation/hostility these populations are facing in the contexts of analysis. The type of news that is being privileged by the selected press will also be an object of study.

The survey in the Angolan press focus on two daily newspapers: Jornal de Angola and O País.

The preliminary analysis for the Angolan media is divided into three items: general migration flows to Angola, conjuncture in Portugal and Angola, general migration flows in the world. In the first and second items, brief content analysis will be carried out, in the item general migration flows in the world will only be described as the kind of news that each newspaper focuses more.

This post, in addition to the brief biographical reference of the newspapers, contemplates a brief content analysis regarding the item general migration flows to Angola, taking into account the more focused themes in the different sections of the respective newspapers. In the next post about Luanda#3, the analysis will focus on the items conjuncture in Portugal and Angola and general migration flows in the world.

Jornal de Angola

At the time of Angolan Independence on 11th November 1975, the newspaper Província de Angola, founded on August 16th 1923 by Adolfo Pina, owned by Companhia Gráfica de Angola, S.A., changed its name to Jornal de Angola. In June 1976, Agostinho Neto, then President of the Republic, nationalized the journal under the Decree-Law nº 51/76 (Supplement of the Jornal de Angola, 26th June 2016, pp. 2,4).

The journal’s headquarters are located in Empresa Gráfica de Angola, S.A., where it started to operate and continues to do so through the publishing company Edições Novembro, E.P. Its current editions include:

Jornal de Angola (http://jornaldeangola.sapo.ao//);

Jornal dos Desportos http://jornaldosdesportos.sapo.ao/);

Jornal Angolano de Arte e Letras (http://jornalcultura.sapo.ao/);

Economia & Finanças (http://jornaldeeconomia.sapo.ao/empresas).

Jornal de Angola is a daily newspaper, controlled by the Angolan State. It celebrated 43 years in June of 2019.

Distributed in the country’s 18 provinces, it has a daily average distribution of 12,934 copies, through direct sales and by subscription. Luanda, Moxico and Benguela are the provinces where the largest number of sales is reported (Supplement of the Jornal de Angola, 26th June 2016, p.3).

The online publication of news is distributed in the following sections: “Politics”, “Reports”, “Opinion”, “World”, “Economy”, “Provinces”, “Society”, “People”, “Culture” and “Sport”.

 At the weekend Jornal de Angola also publishes notebooks and supplements. The selection of themes and news is varied. It can fall on a determined theme – fashion, technology and management, etc.  – or focus more on the social, cultural and economic field of one of the provinces of Angola.

O País

The newspaper O País, founded in November 2008 by the Medianova group, recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. The online publication of news is distributed by the sections: “Politics”, “Society”, “Economy”, “Opinion”, “Culture”, “World” and “Sport”.

The Grupo Medianova, the largest private communication group in Angola, is the owner of Zimbo TV, Rádio Mais, the newspapers O País and Semanário Económico, the Revista Vida and Revista Exame.

Angolan press – preliminary analysis / General migration flows to Angola [1]

Jornal de Angola O País
Section Number of news Section Number of news
Policy 208 Policy 52
World 154 Culture 35
Sport 137 Economy 20
Economy 111 Society 18
Society 52 Opinion 12
People 49 Sport 12
Culture 49 World 5
Provinces 19 Grand total 154
Opinion 8    
Report 5    
Notebooks and supplements    
Suplemento fim-de-semana 5    
Jornal Metropolitano da Capital Angolana 2    
Grand total 799    

The more focused topics in the two newspapers news about general migratory flows to Angola are:

Migration policies

Visa waiver program, flow regulation, expulsion and repatriation of illegal immigrants, detention.

Borders

Trade, security and control, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Namibia, Republic of Congo, and Zambia.

Refugees

Exodus, borders, welcoming, census, biometric registration, support and financing, repatriation (voluntary/involuntary), return, detention.

Political economy

Foreign investment, foreign workers, national production, import-export, The new Regime for Foreign Nationals, The New Foreign Investment Law.

United Nations data showed that there were 106,845 immigrants in Angola for the year 2015, which is equivalent to only 0.4% of the population of the country. The three most represented nationalities were Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (40%/), Portugal (15%/) and Cape Verde (10%/).

When talking about migrant populations, Angolan newspapers appear to only report on citizens of DRC and Portugal in Angola, but not Cape Verdeans. These papers also report a strong presence of “Chinese” and “West African” immigration (Malians, Senegalese, Guineans, Gambians, Mauritanians, etc.) to Angola. However, “Chinese” immigration to Angola is rarely identified in official statistical sources.

As we will see, daily life (civic participation, reception networks, residential insertion, professional, leisure practices, etc.) of Portuguese immigrants in Angola, little or nothing is highlighted in the news of the two newspapers (as regards the period under review). On the other hand, there are several reports that talk about immigrants and refugees of the Democratic Republic of Congo in Angola. The influx of immigrants and refugees from the DRC coincides with political turmoil within eastern DRC.

This is most relevant in seven of the 18 provinces of Angola (Cabinda, Zaire, Malanje, Uíge, Lunda Norte, Lunda Sul and Moxico) which share a border with the DRC. The Jornal de Angola has called this shared border ‘the gateway for many illegal immigrants’, mainly from the DRC and West Africa. The lack of resources and border control mechanisms and the formation of migration networks to aid immigration also appear as factors that support and encourage “illegal” immigration into Angola.

As one would expect, the news reports grossly overestimate migrants’ incidence of participation in illegal immigration and crime. These news articles are most often presented through essentialist, deterministic and descriptive perspectives of the complexity of migratory flows to Angola. The centrality of the issue is so great that several pieces describe in detail the number of illegal immigrants registered, as well as the number, degree and type of offenses or crimes committed.

News reports on the experiences of migrants from a perspective of illegality and criminality mainly describe crimes of – quoted and translated from reports – smuggling (of various types of goods) or financial crime, falsification of documents, sale of narcotics (“liamba”), illegal logging and diamond smuggling, poaching, forest devastation (for logging), and the involvement of nationals (ordinary citizens and sobas/“traditional authorities”) and foreigners in networks of aid to illegal immigration.

There are some reports of homicide and abduction of immigrants in Angola. Chinese entrepreneurs based in Angola appear to suffer the most from this type of violence.

As I mentioned earlier, the centrality of the issue of migration from the point of view of illegal immigration and crime is so great that several pieces describe in detail the number of illegal immigrants, the degree and type of crimes, etc. The dissemination of these numbers wins emphasis through official figures called on to talk about migration (police, provincial governors, other politicians), much to the detriment of the voices of the immigrants or of another approach to migration.

Officials called to talk about migration have included: National Police, Angolan Armed Forces, Angola Border Guard Police, Migration and Foreigners Service, Criminal Investigation Service, Detention Center for Illegal Foreigners, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Anibal de Melo Press Center, etc.

There is a systematic convergence of the news articles on the need to adopt policies for security and border control and regulation of migration flows. The news does not contemplate any form of policy formulation for the socio-cultural integration of immigrants and granting nationality.

Needless to say, officials called to speak about migration present the public with several controversial speeches. In several reports, it is argued that the presence of “illegal immigrants” puts “the country’s sovereignty and the economy at risk”, namely: “national unity”, “territorial integrity of the country”, “peace” and “stability in the construction of the nation”.

The repeated representation propagated about the condition of migrants through notions such as “emigrant”, “immigrant”, “foreigner”, “expatriate” (and others…), regardless of your legal background (“illegal”, “legal”, “resident”, “non-resident”, etc.), suggest a confused notion of its meaning.

Described as “transgressors”, “undocumented”, “irregular”, “clandestine”, (but also) “citizens”, the illegal “immigrants”, “foreigners”, “refugees”, “expatriate”…, are often the target of negative narratives that include violence, prejudice, informal market (poverty/ unemployment/social problems/forms of survival), bribery, corruption, convictions, surveillance, repatriation, expulsion and detention.

However, the notions of “foreigner” and “expatriate” also appear in some parts concerning certain labour flows (“Portuguese entrepreneurs”, “Chinese entrepreneurs”, “foreign worker”, etc.) and certain types of consumption, such as real estate demand.

Homogenized ethnic categories and status of nationality are used to serve as generic names about the status of migrant: “citizens of the DRC”, “DRC foreigners”, “foreigners from the Republic of Congo”, “citizens of Congolese nationality”, “citizens of West African countries”, “citizens of the Central African Republic” the “foreigners of Congo Brazzaville”, “citizens of Asian origin”, “Cameroon”, “Malian”, “Chinese”, etc.

Poor profiling of migrants in terms of their migration objectives, education, employment, age, resources, family dynamics, etc. does not mean that there aren’t sometimes references to gender, age (“men”, “women”, “children”) and/or regions of origin migrants or refugees (“Kaisai refugees”).

1] The difference in the number of news between the two newspapers is due to the fact that the online version (not paid) of the newspaper O PAÍS, unlike Jornal de Angola, only provides a limited number of news by section. As new news comes in, others are no longer available. Faced with this limitation, the collected of news in the newspaper O País (started in March 2018) only covers the period from November 14th 2017 to June 30th 2018, for each section. The World section of the newspaper O País contemplates only news about Africa (this also explains the difference in the number of news between the two newspapers, to the world section). And the Sports Section (of the newspaper O País) although it refers to soccer news only, some publications cover other modalities. It was in the policy section where we collected more news.

Letters from the field, Berlin #3 – A Portuguese supermarket in Berlin

Very near the Portuguese Embassy in Berlin, there is a Portuguese Supermarket which everyone has been telling me about ever since I arrived. The Portuguese families I have met, very rarely shop there, but they all have visited the supermarket at least once. They may go there looking for specific items for a special occasion like when they want to showcase Portuguese cuisine to friends or to get something for themselves as a “cure” for homesickness.

The supermarket displays many of the familiar food brands, bearing packages and tastes that remind us of home. Foods from Spain and South America can also be found. The corner café at the entrance serves coffee (including the Portuguese espresso, bica) and Portuguese pastries, but also homemade food cooked more to the taste of what is commonly served in other German cafés and restaurants. Indeed, the cashier informs me, most of the costumes are German who either live or work around the area, but also tourists staying in the next door hostel.

Cinnamon, a classic ingredient of patry cooking.

 

Candy.

Fried potatoes chips cut in the form of match sticks are an ingredient of one of our favourite salted cod recipes: bacalhau à Brás

Frozen salted cod fish.

One of the better-known rice brands.

One of the better-known pasta brands.

Soft drinks.

Water and beer.

 

Olive oil.

International brands like Nestle, own national brands with which we have a longstanding familiarity.

Wheat and corn flours.

The two better-known breakfast oats for children.

In the café, I had a bica (espresso) and a pão de ló cake.

More pastries in display at the café.

Petiscos including cold meats and seasoned olives.

 

 

Notes from the field: Lisbon #3 – Housing

Today I want to write about something that is rather basic in that it is relevant to everyone.

When talking about migration, being in a city (or ‘everyday life’), and material possessions, storage is an important aspect. This includes the storage of things and the body, but can also be the storage of memories, of challenges. As the title of the blog gives away, I am referring to houses and housing.

As a sociologist-cum-geographer (pretending to blend in with anthropologist for this project), location is a very important aspect to consider in people’s decision-making. In terms of statistics, Greater Lisbon boasts the following figures about mobility within the city (Portuguese Census, 2011).

Total

Population that did not change municipality

Immigrants arriving from another municipality

Immigrants from another country

2,821,876

2,656,749

102,827

26,275

Visually, the distribution of ‘immigrants from other countries’ can be seen in the maps generated through the Pordata website, and compared to that of the total population.

As is evident, the bulk of the population has been recorded as living in Greater Lisbon (and interestingly disproportionately on the main island of Madeira too).

When first looking into the daily life in Lisbon on my arrival in the city, I learnt of the stress on housing caused by over-tourism, the financial crisis, and a lack of public investment in housing. Housing inequality was (and is) rife in Lisbon. In an earlier blog, I spoke about this status of Lisbon as a tourist destination and some of the reasons as well as concerns regarding the same. This was the reason that in 2017, the Caravana pelo direito à habitação (Caravan for the right to housing) undertook it’s journey in Portugal and revealed a number of delipidated and hazardous living situations in which people are forced to live by virtue of being excluded from dialogue about the same, with 5 of 10 sites being in or around Greater Lisbon. It is often found that these sections of society feed the city in terms of being the labour that is unseen, or are unemployed, having been pushed to the fringes of the city. I must flag here that such housing is inhabited by migrants (internal and external) and Lisboetas (Lisboners) alike (as also seen in the maps above).

It is fascinating that paradoxically, on the other hand, ‘expat’ information websites present the very city from which the aforementioned people are expelled as an ideal location for any migrant. Evidently, the key is in the term ‘expat’, which appears to only relate to wealthy, usually white immigrants. With a range of anglicised names and an identification of “good neighbourhoods”, these websites inform you where you can go to ensure you don’t have to confront the ‘problems’ of being unsafe in this capital city.

One such description provided by Expatica (www.expatica.com) can be found in the image below. The description and image are telling of the type of migrants intended for the regions.

The website goes on to list neighbourhoods they suggest expats could live. The text is quoted below:

  • Alfama & Graca – Lisbon’s oldest neighbourhood, with winding streets and a great sense of both tradition and community
  • Avenidas New & Alvalade – Home to large expensive apartments and good amenities, but can suffer from a lack of atmosphere
  • Bairro Alto – A popular place to enjoy Lisbon’s nightlife, popular with young people and hipsters
  • Lower Town (Baixa) – A big draw for with property investors in search of apartments
  • Belem – A riverside neighbourhood with some of the city’s most famous museums
  • Restelo – Boasts a tranquil and laid back lifestyle, albeit with property prices to match
  • Campo de Ourique – Popular with middle-class families, but lacks a Metro station
  • Nations Park – A little further from the centre, boasts more contemporary architecture and a pleasant waterfront location
  • Prince Real – Within walking distance of the centre, property here can be expensive
  • Santos & Lapa – Popular with middle class locals and well-off retirees

It is interesting that all the descriptions seem to suggest some sort of wealth or capital (‘expensive apartments’, ‘popular’ – relating to gentrified areas, ‘famous museums’) and lifestyles that if spoken about deprived sections of society would not be considered positive (‘laidback’, ‘enjoy Lisbon’s nightlife’, ‘tradition and community’). In addition, when suggesting where to stay, they list areas along the linha (the train line along the coast of the River Tejo) specifically Cascais, Birre and Sintra. These neighbourhoods too are rather wealthy historically and currently.

Another such website with information for people who call themselves ‘expats’ is InterNations (www.internations.org). I will dwell on this further, but I mention this as a potential source of information and route to socialising for incoming migrants (expats/immigrants). The description on the landing page for Lisbon is telling on how Lisbon is ‘sold’ as a city to live in as (wealthy, white) expats.

While I am not arguing that suggested areas for living be primarily deprived neighbourhoods, I do wish to highlight this disparity that may be reinforced by such communication, sidelining certain types of migrants through virtue-signalling.

This is relevant as all my participants (Australians and Germans) for this research thus far live within or very close to the areas identified as desirable by these ‘expat’ websites. Three owned their house (all outside of Lisbon municipality) while two were renting (one within and one outside of the Lisbon municipality). This has a deep impact on how the city is experienced by them as a different class-group of migrants. It makes for an interesting understanding of goods and services and resources to which they have access, and how they structure their lives as migrants.

For more information on Portuguese census figures, visit Pordata (https://www.pordata.pt/).

Contextualising Sydney: 1# Port city

As I undertake the ethnographic fieldwork in Sydney as part of this research project, after reading some books, articles, visiting some museums and exploring the city I want to share my impressions and learnings with you.  In this post, I will start with the first of four posts which aim to contextualize the city of Sydney from it’s beginning until present days. 

In 1786 the British government cast its eyes southward to New South Wales with the intention of relieving its overcrowded jails and establishing a strategic presence in the southern hemisphere. In May 1787, under the competent command of Captain Arthur Philip, the First Fleet of 11 ships carrying over 700 convicts and over 600 officers, marines and seamen set sail from England.

The fleet anchored in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788 and Phillip founded a penal settlement on the banks of the Tank Stream. Government House, the first substantial building in the colony was the focus of social and political power from 1788 to 1845.

View of Sydney, c.1811, John Eyre; State Library of New South

In search of more fertile land, the settlement soon spread inland to Parramatta, where a town was laid out in 1790. Settlers also took up land near Bankstown and at Ryde, and along the rich alluvial plains of the Hawkesbury and Nepean rivers.

The European invasion of Australia had a devastating effect on the Indigenous people. As the settlement grew, their traditional food sources declined and European diseases brought dramatic loss of life. The conflict quickly followed, despite resistance by Aboriginal warriors.

Map of Sydney, 16 April 1788; Source: Unkown

When Lachlan Macquarie arrived to replace the deposed Governor William Bligh in 1810, he described Sydney as a town “in a most ruinous state of decay”. He began a major building program and established a substantial road system, with convict Francis Greenway as his favoured architect. Macquarie’s willingness to provide opportunities for ex-convicts offended many free settlers. Yet his legacy today includes Hyde Park Barracks, the Conservatorium of Music (built as Government House stables), Parliament House and The Mint (wings of the “Rum” Hospital).

By the time Macquarie left the colony in February 1822, Sydney had grown in size and sophistication from a penal settlement to a major trading port. It boasted a range of small businesses, a newspaper, a bank, a hospital, and lunatic and benevolent asylums. The census of 1828, which did not include Indigenous people, recorded a population of 10 800. Free immigrants, who had tricked into the colony from as early as 1793, comprised 13 percent of the non- Indigenous population.

Image from the Museum of Sydney by author, Vânia Pereira Machado

Sydney with its deep harbour and strategic position began its maritime life as Australia’s grandest port and remains so to this day, although most port activity has now shifted to Port Botany. Sealing and whaling provided most exports from the early colony. The wool industry soon eclipsed both, faltering only during the depression of the 1840s. Agriculture and mineral exports expanded while most imports came from other parts of the British Empire. Port facilities reminded concentrated around Circular Quay until the boom years of the 1880s and the development of huge wool stores at Darling Harbour.

The chaotic inner city quickly outgrew Macquarie’s street layout, and the maze of slums around the wharf areas became a focus of fear and division. The outbreak of bubonic plague in 1900 and a continuing death toll from typhoid led to a huge government clean-up of The Rocks and the building of new wharves from Woolloomooloo to Pyrmont.

Map of the town of Sydney 1837; Engraved by John Carmichael of Sydney

The Woolloomooloo finger wharf, hailed on its opening in 1912 as a “cathedral of commerce”, served the wool trade. The Walsh Bay finger wharves, built between 1905 and the 1920s after the plague clean-up, were also monuments to a new age.

Sydney grew rapidly after the discovery of gold near Bathurst in 1851. Although attention soon shifted to be more lucrative Victorian goldfields, Sydney’s economy had already benefited. Migrants poured into New South Wales from Britain and Ireland, lured by the promise of cheap land and agriculture opportunities. most settled in Sydney, where their labour was needed.

The inner southern and western suburbs were soon dotted with tanneries, breweries, bakehouses, clothing and boot factories, and a huge abattoir at Glebe Island. the foreshores of the harbour were fouled by industrial effluent and the skies polluted by smoke.

Gas gradually replaced coal and wood-fires stoves and also lit the city until the coming of electricity in the early 1990s. New dams were built to provide a reliable water supply for Sydney’s growing suburbs and sewage disposal was improved with ocean outfalls at Bondi and Manly.  Sydney had all the necessities of a growing city, thousands of kilometers from the great imperial ports of Britain, Europe, Asia, and the United States.

Until next time,
Vânia

 

Sources: 

Scott, Ernest. 2002. A Short History of Australia.  Available online

State Library of NSW

The Museum of Sydney 

 

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