29 May 2024

Fragments of solidarity: the social worlds of African migrants moving northwards

Cover imageTogether with Luca Ciabarri, associate professor Anja Simonsen has guest-edited a special issue of the Journal of Eastern African Studies titled: "Fragments of Solidarity: the social worlds of African migrants moving northwards." Ciabarri and Simonsen have co-written the introductory article for this special issue.

The article provides a framework through which to analyse the experiences and social trajectories of migration from East Africa to North Africa and Europe. On the one side, it explores the systematic relationship between war and mobility, and on the other, it highlights the social worlds generated by such mobility. The article argues that these social worlds represent crucial elements for understanding contemporary (Eastern) African societies and their political dynamics, in relation to (a) the increased relevance of migration diplomacy, (b) the spatial interconnectivity constructed through mobility and (c) the transnational and diasporic spheres that lie at the core of the social and economic reproduction of states and societies in the Horn and more generally in Eastern Africa.

Ciabarri and Simonsen highlight, through these interconnections, the genealogies and transformations of the systems of violence composing the reality of migration in the regions explored, but also the various and interconnected systems of solidarity which, although fragmented and even misused at times, sustain migrants’ trajectories, social projects and resistance. In doing so, the article argues that it is necessary to explore present and historical local understandings and conceptualisations of migration, in relation to solidarity practices, forced migration, migrant smuggling, imaginaries of mobility.

Article keywords: Eastern Africa, migration, solidarity, social worlds, forced migration

Read the article in Journal of Eastern African Studieshttps://doi.org/10.1080/17531055.2024.2332041