The Nordic Africa Institute


The role of socio-economic status in experiences of displacement: The case of displaced Burundians in Kigali

Started • 01 April 2022

In recent years, migration to Europe, particularly by dangerous routes, has gained rightful attention. The focus on desperate people taking on unsafe measures to emigrate from Africa, however, paints a rather distorted picture of African forced migration. For academics and policy makers alike to fully understand and respond appropriately to the needs of people escaping conflict in their home countries there is a need to understand the full spectrum of experiences of displacement.

This research project explores the experiences of urban, self-settled, displaced people of a high socio-economic status. Burundians of a high socio-economic standing who fled Burundi in 2015 and have since been residing in Kigali, Rwanda are the case examined for this purpose.

The four specific objectives of the project are:

  • Exploring the role socio-economic status plays in the decision to leave and the choice of destination
  • Investigating the role socio-economic status plays in integrating in the host community
  • Evaluating the role socio-economic status plays in the connection to the home country, including in continuing political participation in the home country
  • Exploring how gender interlinks with socio-economic status in experiences of displacement

The project is based on an anthropological methodology, primarily using in-depth interviewing and informal conversation; as well as participant observation.

The project is funded by a three year Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual fellowship from the European Commission.

Project leader: Guðrún Sif Friðriksdóttir