Shifting the narrative on African migration

Negative public opinion in Europe is a major obstacle to holistic and sustainable policies relating to African migration. Based on his observations of migration debates in Sweden and Denmark, Jesper Bjarnesen argues for a shift in wording and perspective away from politicised opinions about immigration, or misplaced ideas of humanitarian responsibilities, towards a more constructive and pragmatic focus on labour migration management.

From Campus to Camp and Back

In this field note, Marcia C. Schenck reflects on her ongoing involvement with Princeton University’s Global History Lab courses in Kakuma refugee camp. Through courses in global history, she argues, camp residents are not only given access to academic knowledge but also empowered to produce compelling historic narratives by using their location advantage; migration experience; and understanding of life in the camp.

Africa at the gates: Europe’s lose-lose migration management plan

Since the summer of 2015, the question of how to stem the flows from Africa and the Middle East is at the centre of increasingly existential debates about the very future of Europe. Loren B Landau and Iriann Freemantle contemplate the underlying logics and effects of EU migration management.

Wayside promise: Ghanaian roads as routes to brighter futures

Ethnographic fieldwork requires not only long-term immersion, but also perceptiveness to the minutiae of the mundane. Walking, running, and driving along the roads of a Ghanaian city inspired me to rethink the meaning of migration. Jørgen Carling reflects on his recent fieldwork in Ghana.

African migration: Who’s thinking of going where?

It is well established that young people constitute the majority of those who risk their lives on migratory routes from Sub-Saharan Africa towards Europe. But there are important differences by country that may inform more targeted policy responses. Afrobarometer's Josephine Appiah-Nyamekye and Edem Selormey present the preliminary findings of the current round of nationality representative surveys relating to migration aspirations.

Between Dejection and Awe: Reflections on Research with African Refugees

Conducting research with informants who have experienced the trials of forced displacement may leave the researcher crippled by the apparent hopelessness of her interlocutors, combined with the sense of helplessness in not being able to contribute to their plight in a meaningful and ethical way. Rose Jaji looks back on her experiences, conducting research with refugees in Kenya and Zimbabwe, and argues that her informants’ capacity for action and critical assessment left her as much in awe as in a state of dejection.

The Trial of Dopé: The Modernity of Witchcraft Asylum Claims

As a professor of African History, and expert witness in US federal immigration court, Benjamin Lawrance reflects upon witchcraft accusations in asylum claims; how they are adjudicated; and why they tend to be rejected in court.

The camp beyond the city: Kakuma and the development of a camp ecology

Kakuma refugee camp in Northern Kenya is emblematic for the debate about the ambiguous phenomenon of the protracted refugee camp. The camp has taken on an urban-like form; a dense, non-agricultural, informal settlement, that is characterized by the meeting of both curtailing and enabling forces, and human agency - by Bram J. Jansen

Researching (with) refugees? Ethical considerations on participatory approaches

In lieu of perceiving refugees as ‘data sources’, research with refugees and thus participatory approaches not only transform refugees’ positions to active participants, but can also further the scope of findings - by Ulrike Krause

Photo by Gabriel Pecot for ODI

Can international frameworks or compacts reduce onward migration?

If the aim of policy-makers is to reduce migration flows to Europe, the logical solution is to provide those services in the region where most migrants come from. This is where Partnership Frameworks and Job Compacts come in, but do they work? - by Jessica Hagen-Zanker