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Working in Mecca

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How Informal Pilgrimage-Migration from Madura, Indonesia, to Saudi Arabia Challenges State Sovereignty

image of European Journal of East Asian Studies

On the island of Madura, various forms of pilgrimage–migration, a fusion of labour migration and pilgrimage, challenge the Indonesian government’s regulation of pilgrims’ and labourers’ mobility to the Gulf. Among the Madurese people, alternative channels of travelling to Mecca are increasingly popular and informal; personal networks appear to be considered more reliable and accountable than the state’s guidance. The Madurese people’s strong desire to perform the pilgrimage to Mecca, local conceptions of migration in search of success and incomprehensible bureaucratic procedures in the official channels of migration and pilgrimage motivate people to circumvent state structures. Moreover, rumours about the ‘Madurese mafia’ in Mecca and the religious elite’s connections to the ‘Holy Land’ strengthen religious and ethnic affiliations. Local loyalties challenge the state’s sovereignty over actual practices of semi-legal approaches to migration and pilgrimage.

Affiliations: 1: Hebrew University of Jerusalem Mirjam.Lucking@mail.huji.ac.il

10.1163/15700615-01602007
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/content/journals/10.1163/15700615-01602007
2017-01-01
2018-06-19

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