Between Labor Migration and Forced Displacement

Wartime Mobilities in the Burkina Faso–Côte d’Ivoire Transnational Space

in Conflict and Society
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ABSTRACT

The significant number of involuntary returns of labor migrants to Burkina Faso is a relatively neglected aspect of the armed conflict in Côte d’Ivoire. Between 500,000 and 1 million Burkinabe migrants were forced to leave Côte d’Ivoire between 2000 and 2007, placing tremendous pressure on local communities in Burkina Faso to receive and integrate these mass arrivals, and causing those returning labor migrants an acute sense of displacement. This article analyzes the experiences of displacement and resettlement in the context of the Ivorian crisis and explores the dialectics of displacement and emplacement in the lives of involuntary labor migrant returnees; their young adult children; and Burkinabe recruits returning after their service in the Forces Nouvelles rebel forces in Côte d’Ivoire.

Contributor Notes

JESPER BJARNESEN holds a PhD in cultural anthropology from Uppsala University and conducted ethnographic fieldwork in Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, and Burkina Faso. His main thematic interests are in conflict-related mobilities, intergenerational dynamics, urban youth culture, and discourses relating to home and belonging. His main methodological tools have been life history interviews and extended participant observation.

Conflict and Society

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