© 2018

Forging African Communities

Mobility, Integration and Belonging

  • Oliver Bakewell
  • Loren B. Landau
  • Fills a significant lacuna in research by addressing intra-Africa migration

  • Presents work by a diverse set of scholars working in a broad range of African settings

  • Speaks to and challenges sociological debates over the nature of migrant integration


Part of the Global Diversities book series (GLODIV)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Agents of Integration: Decentring Policy and the State

  3. Negotiating Scales and Spaces of Belonging

  4. Emergent Socialities and Subjectivities

  5. Back Matter
    Pages 313-321

About this book


This book draws renewed attention to migration into and within Africa, and to the socio-political consequences of these movements. In doing so, it complements vibrant scholarly and political discussions of migrant integration globally with innovative, interdisciplinary perspectives focused on migration within Africa. It sheds new light on how human mobility redefines the meaning of home, community, citizenship and belonging. The authors ask how people’s movements within the continent are forging novel forms of membership while catalysing social change within the communities and countries to which they move and which they have left behind. Original case studies from across Africa question the concepts, actors, and social trajectories dominant in the contemporary literature. Moreover, it speaks to and challenges sociological debates over the nature of migrant integration, debates largely shaped by research in the world’s wealthy regions. The text, in part or as a whole, will appeal to students and scholars of migration, development, urban and rural transformation, African studies and displacement.


refugee migrant integration migration assimilation migration within Africa translocal human mobility religious and political diasporas African migration host communities African cities ethnic heterogeneity urban citizenship forms of belonging translocal subjectivities diaspora Host–guest relationship creolisation Pentecostalism

Editors and affiliations

  • Oliver Bakewell
    • 1
  • Loren B. Landau
    • 2
  1. 1.Global Development InstituteUniversity of ManchesterManchesterUnited Kingdom
  2. 2.African Centre for Migration & SocietyUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

About the editors

Oliver Bakewell is Senior Lecturer at the Global Development Institute, University of Manchester, UK and former Director of the International Migration Institute at the University of Oxford. 

Loren Landau is South African Research Chair in Mobility and the Politics of Diversity at the African Centre for Migration & Society, University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

Bibliographic information


“Forging African Communities, an important new volume edited by Oliver Bakewell and Loren Landau, unsettles these models and challenges their application to migrant flows in Africa and beyond. This volume showcases work by an interdisciplinary array of scholars and practitioners, including many based at African universities.” (Bruce Whitehouse, Migration and Society, Vol. 1, 2018)​“This timely book represents a major contribution to our understanding of social, economic, political, and cultural processes related to human mobility in general and contemporary African migrations in particular. Its welcomed focus on agency and processes helps to bring new theoretical insights to the analysis of social change in migration contexts. The vivid case studies presented here challenge in a novel way old concepts and theories about migration that were predominantly based on empirical data collected among migrants in Western destinations. No doubt this book will be beneficial to the study of contemporary mobility and migration in the context of wealth countries across the globe.” (Abdoulaye Kane, University of Florida, USA, and Co-editor of African Migration: Patterns and Perspectives)

“‘Forging African Communities’ is an ambitious book that successfully achieves a dual mission. First and foremost, the diverse analyses of attachments, adaptations, and tactics come together as an illuminating account of contemporary migration within Africa—a staggeringly understudied phenomenon. More subtly, the book challenges standard concepts that reflect entrenched research and policy agendas in the Global North. The primary one is ‘integration’ which, if we are to keep using it, merits a refreshing overhaul in light of the analyses presented in this book.” (Jørgen Carling, Peace Research Institute Oslo, Norway.)