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© 2016

Refugees, Conflict and the Search for Belonging

Book

Table of contents

About this book

Introduction

This book is about the convergence of two problems: the ongoing realities of conflict and forced migration in Eastern and Central Africa, and the crisis of citizenship and belonging. By bringing them together, the intention is to see how, combined, they can help point the way towards possible solutions. Based on 1,115 interviews conducted over 6 years in the region, the book points to ways in which refugees challenge the parameters of citizenship and belonging as they carve out spaces for inclusion in the localities in which they live. Yet with a policy environment that often leads to marginalisation, the book highlights the need for policies that pull people into the centre rather than polarise and exclude; and that draw on, rather than negate, the creativity that refugees demonstrate in their quest to forge spaces of belonging.

Dr. Lucy Hovil has sixteen years of experience conducting research amongst displaced and conflict-affected groups in East and Central Africa, first with the Refugee Law Project of Makerere University, Uganda, and then with the International Refugee Rights Initiative. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, in 2000, and is the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

Keywords

Migration Exile Marginalisation Refugee Great Lakes region Citizenship Belonging Africa African refugees

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.International Refugee Rights InitiativeBathUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Dr. Lucy Hovil has sixteen years of experience conducting research amongst displaced and conflict-affected groups in East and Central Africa, first with the Refugee Law Project of Makerere University, Uganda, and then with the International Refugee Rights Initiative. She received her PhD from the School of Oriental and African Studies, UK, in 2000, and is the Managing Editor of the International Journal of Transitional Justice.

Bibliographic information

Reviews

“An indispensable analysis of the complex dynamics of displacement and citizenship in Eastern and Central Africa, presented in a highly accessible and engaging manner.” (Dr. Jeff Crisp, Founder and head of UNHCR's Policy Development and Evaluation Service, 2006-2013; and currently Refugee Studies Centre, University of Oxford, and Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House)

“Hovil has produced a work of epic importance that unravels the most persistent and stubborn genesis of state collapse and dysfunction in the Great Lakes region.  She pinpoints the failure of citizenship and belonging -- for refugee and indigene alike -- as the bane of the post-colonial state in one of the most volatile regions on the planet.  The book's payoff is in the suggestion of a sophisticated understanding of conflict and reconstruction.  This is without doubt one of the most insightful works on the political cauldron that is the Great lakes.” (Prof. Makau Mutua, SUNY Distinguished Professor, SUNY Buffalo Law School and Chair of the Kenya National Human Rights Commission)

Refugees, conflict and the search for belonging is an empirically rich and thought provoking investigation of the nexus between conflict, citizenship and displacement in the African Great Lakes region. Drawing on extensive field research covering multiple countries, Lucy Hovil critically investigates how humanitarianism and humanitarian structures shape our understanding of refugee crises and in turn inform how the international community responds to them. By bringing back into focus conflict and linking her analysis to the politics of belonging and citizenship in the region, the book thread an original path, inviting readers to think differently to the link between forced displacement and the politics of belonging that underpins it.” (Dr. Nando Sigona, Senior Lecturer & Birmingham Fellow, Deputy Director, Institute for Research into Superdiversity, School of Social Policy, University of Birmingham)