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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.129

Living between Terra Longe and Terra Mamaizinha: Insularity and transnational family in Cape Verde migrations.


  • Martina GIUFFRÈ

Primary authors


The Cape Verdean identity has been described and analyzed first of all through its insularity. The sea, at Cape Verde, makes the islander open to the outside, but, at the same time, closed and prisoner within the limits of the island (Bettencourt, 1998). This element historically reconnects to the production of gender boundaries that saw the islands as feminine and the exterior as masculine. Since the seventies on the island of Santo Antão (Cape Verde), there has been a gradual feminization of migration to Europe. Women migrated mainly with the aim of buying a house in the place of origin for themselves and their children, who often stayed at home with other women. These so-called "surrogate mothers" managed the new domestic space, revolutionizing the previous "sense" of home and giving life to a new form of transnational female family that connected places of immigration and places of origin. When emigration was mainly male, the boundaries of the inside/outside were played on the opposition between male/female, external/internal, Terra Longe (land of immigration) /Terra Mamaizinha (motherland), and danger/security. Nowadays, the feminization of Terra Longe, has led home to become a transnational space characterized as feminine. The boundary between inside and outside expands including Terra Longe. Home, thus, becomes synonymous of transnational female practices, where both groups of women, those who migrate and those who stay, manage together this new domesticity in a single continuum, taming a the space of Terra Longe, once perceived as dangerous.