"Unravelling conflict and exploring complex patterns of life and mobility in the African Great Lakes" - Workshop

Past Event

15 October 2012, 11:00am - 4:00pm


This workshop is hosted by the International Migration Institute and is supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the Oxford Martin School.

It is widely understood that people migrate as a result of a complex mix of motivations and stimuli derived from their personal aspirations and conditions, the local context and more structural conditions. However, in areas affected by conflict, such as the Great Lakes region of Africa, and particularly the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo, any movement tends to be labelled as a response to violence, and those who move are counted as displaced. The influence of socio-economic processes – like family formation, education attainment, or urbanisation – on the decision to migrate becomes obscured.

In reality, even in such extreme conditions, the line dividing forced and voluntary migration is blurred. While people may be categorised in different ways for the application of policy, these distinctions may say little about the aspirations, experiences or interests of those who move. In this two-year project, we seek to move beyond the crisis framework that dominates examinations of human mobility in the Great Lakes region, and we set out to analyse this complex mix of motivations that can be identified in any individual’s movements.

The workshop aims to:

  • assess the state of the art research on life and movement in the African Great Lakes Region, with an emphasis on the Democratic Republic of Congo
  • interrogate and nuance the crisis and displacement frameworks, which dominate research in the region
  • discuss potential methods and methodologies best suited to examine complex life dynamics in the context of crisis and conflict

The workshop will be a closed event that will contribute to the on-going Mobility in the African Great Lakes project. If you are interested in taking part in the workshop, please submit an abstract of your research in the region as well as a professional biography of no more than 250 words to irene.binaisa@qeh.ox.ac.uk by 7 September 2012.