Immigrant dislocated identities: Rachid Nini’s Diario de un ilegal

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This article describes the process through which the subjectivity of the illegal immigrant is deconstructed and later reconstructed, as revealed by the Moroccan journalist and intellectual Rachid Nini in his book Diario de un ilegal/Diary of an Illegal Immigrant (2002), an account of the author's perils as an illegal immigrant in Spain. The analysis focuses firstly on the narrative form that Nini employs to give an account of his story, and secondly on the spatial displacement to which the subject and his subjectivity are exposed, which leads to the obliteration of his identity. The abrupt changes that the subject faces in a new location are paramount and impel him to a constant quest for self-definition and of negotiation with the new Other. Thus, the privileges that Nini enjoyed while in Morocco, those of a male journalist, poet, translator and intellectual with a university degree, disappear altogether once his plane has landed on the Canary Islands. In this new location, the place of origin and/or race are now what define his identity; he is now simply a moro - a Moor - he is not considered as an individual but, as will be shown, as a member of a homogenizing category which resists definition. The article finishes by addressing how Nini, in his quest to destroy homogenizing stereotypes, employs other stereotypes as though this were the only escape from the schizophrenic state the illegal immigrant identity had been forced into.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-101
Number of pages13
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sept 2012


  • immigration
  • identity
  • stereotype
  • hybridity
  • Morocco
  • Spain
  • stereotypes
  • diary
  • otherness


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