Research | Patterns of (Forced) Migration

Displacement is one of the most pressing social, political and economic issues of our time. The most recent figures from UNHCR show that over 60 million people are currently fleeing war, climate change-induced natural disasters, or political repression. Contrary to popular rhetoric, most displaced, the majority of whom are internally displaced, remain in the Global South and do not cross the borders of Europe or North America. Moreover, the common understanding of forced migration tends to be overly simplistic– denying any agency for people on the move. Considering the multifaceted motivations of migrants, the distinction between forcibly displaced and ‘irregular migrants’ is blurred. The reasons why and how people move from A to B (and back again) are embedded in and affected by local, national, regional and international interrelations, institutions, social networks and technologies.

This cluster is interested in understanding the different forms, causes and consequences of migration within specific contexts. A key objective for our research is to discern patterns of (forced) migration in and from the Global South at different levels of abstraction. From a macro perspective, ABI researchers study the socio-political context of migration governance of countries affected by significant population movements. At a meso-level, researchers are interested in understanding the relationship between migration and conflict, including conflict over scarce goods and natural resources. From a micro perspective, the cluster considers the motivations and perspectives of migrant agency within given contexts and movements. The research also contributes to the conceptualisation of migration patterns, including the degree of voluntariness in the return to countries of origin.



The Politics of Migration Governance in the Gambia (ABI Pilot Study)

Institutionalisation and Agency in Return Migration: Political Concepts and Migrants’ Realities in the case of returning Gambians (Working Title PhD Judith Altrogge)

Climate Change and Urban Political Violence (Working Title PhD Erik Plänitz)

Violence against male refugees – patterns, factors and consequences for individuals and communities (Working Title PhD Cita Wetterich)


Media & Policy Outreach

We should create more legal migration - three newspaper articles

Nach dem Regierungswechsel in Gambia paart sich nun Hoffnung mit Ungeduld - newspaper article

Europe's migration "partnerships" with Africa need a new direction in 2017 - blog entry

Flüchtlingskrise in Afrika. Das größte Flüchtlingslager der Welt in Kenia soll geschlossen werden - newspaper article

Why European Migration Policies on Africa need a Change of Direction - policy brief


Cluster Events & Activities

FREINEM Workshop, „Selbstreflexion: Ethische Verantwortung und Öffentlichkeitswirksamkeit in der Migrationsforschung“, 12th June 2017

7th European Conference on African Studies ECAS 2017
- Paper: “The Politics of EU-AU Migration Management: From Rhetoric to Practice” in Creating Common Understanding - EU-Africa Responses to Urban Challenges (link is external)
- Panel: “The Role of Networks in Rural-Urban-Transnational Encounters: The Mobility of People, Ideas and Spaces (link is external)

Transregional Migration, Mobility and Forced Displacement: Moving Beyond Methodological Nationalism; Annual Conference of CrossArea Verein, 9 -10th November

Armed Conflict in Africa: Legal and Political Measures for Protecting Displaced People and Preventing Forced Migration; 44th African Law Association Annual Conference, 10th -11th November 2017