The Nordic Africa Institute


Exploring Urban Dynamics of Displacement and Emplacement in the Burkina Faso-Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

Started • 01 January 2013
Ended • 01 December 2019

This project explores the generational variations in mobility practices of urban residents, with a focus on subjective experiences and processes of displacement and emplacement. From this perspective, longer and shorter moves in both spatial and temporal terms are seen as generating feelings and aspirations that are experienced as either life-rupturing or life-sustaining, respectively, and the meanings ascribed to particular moves are not assumed a priori but rather explored empirically. This approach also implies that periods of dwelling or immobility are understood as mobility practices in their own right.

Based on ongoing empirical research in Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire, the project explores the city as a transit point on a longer migrant trajectory, and migrant itineraries as changeable and receptive to new information and possibilities. Studying transnational mobility and rural-urban migration within the same analytical framework facilitates an understanding of the city as a recruitment centre that may induce some urban dwellers to move on, and others remain.

This spectrum of mobility options might inform analyses of urbanisation, and contribute to a more nuanced understanding of the dynamics of urban poverty and youth unemployment.