TRAFIG Working Paper No. 8

Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Tanzania: Reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Dar es Salaam

This working paper investigates the livelihoods, trajectories, networks and self-generated opportunities of vulnerable migrants in refugee-like situations in Dar es Salaam. Its main purpose is to arrive at a deeper understanding of protracted displacement through a ‘figurational approach’, which stresses the networks and the interdependencies of urban refugees in Dar es Salaam, across Tanzania, and across national borders.

Refugees’ social relations do not unfold in a vacuum but are shaped by the regimes of aid and asylum that govern their lives. In a context of constant fear of imprisonment and deportation, this working paper gives particular attention to the alliances that the vulnerable migrants build within Dar es Salaam. It underlines their agency and coping strategies, as they bring with them many valuable skills. Capitalising on these skills can result in longstanding partnerships between vulnerable migrants and locals. Spaces of freedom where displaced people do not need to live in a perpetual state of fear and uncertainty are equally important. More than focusing on constraints, this paper underlines the urban refugees’ agency and survival strategies. We pay particular attention to the mobility and connectivity of female urban refugees, also within a digital context.

Through (social media) entrepreneurship, women in refugee- like situations have managed to overcome immobilisation and create new opportunities for themselves. By analysing a variety of life situations throughout this paper, we seek to recognise and promote urban refugees’ agency and dignity.

Keywords: (Female) urban refugees, agency, mobility, connectivity, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

Authors: Catherina Wilson, Bishara Msallam, Joan Kabyemela, Mira Demirdirek, Jovin Sanga and Janemary Ruhundwa

Cite as: Wilson, C. et al. (2021). Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Tanzania: Reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Dar es Salaam (TRAFIG working paper no. 8). Bonn: BICC.

You can download the Working Paper here.

Latest news

TRAFIG Working Paper No. 8

Figurations of Displacement in and beyond Tanzania: Reflections on protracted displacement and translocal connections of Congolese and Burundian refugees in Dar es Salaam

This working paper investig... Read more

Film festival "Crocevia du Sguardi" \ Screening of TRAFIG Documentaries

Crocevia du Sguardi is a documentary festival that has been created in 2005 by TRAFIG partner organisation FIERI. Each year, the festival screens the best of world documentaries on migration and cu... Read more

TRAFIG Ethics Guidelines

Ethical Challenges for Conducting Research with displaced people - Ethics Guidelines serve as guidance for TRAFIG field researchers

Research with people experiencing protracted displacement, who oft... Read more