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|Title:||Territory and border crossing for livelihoods among (voluntary and forced) migrants from DRC to Swaziland: the re-imagining of a borderless spatial system|
Democratic Republic of Congo
|Abstract:||In people’s livelihoods, migration across international borders represents an important strategy for asset accumulation (Moser and Dani, 2008). On the continent, men and women have always migrated to neighbouring countries or further afield in search of opportunities. Taking the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a case study for the generation of cross-border migration, this paper examines ways in which, through the spatial trajectories of migrants from Democratic Republic of Congo, different meanings are assigned to bordered territories. It interrogates the extent to which (voluntary and forced) migrants create a borderless spatial system that circumvents the geographically defined state. I make use of an interpretive approach to demonstrate the extent to which migrants' experiences with border crossing are a livelihood and asset accumulation strategy within a somewhat borderless spatial system. My core argument is that the interplay of weak institutional policy apparatus along the inter-state borders makes it easy for migrants to create their own rules for free movement to fit their social aspirations and in this process a meaning to cross-border mobility is socially assigned and values are developed over time across geographical boundaries. To empirically substantiate this argument, life stories of migrants living in Swaziland were obtained from in-depth interviews. To link internal migration with international border crossing, each migrant is followed from the place of origin (in the Democratic Republic of Congo) to places of destination (in the sequence reflected in the successive moves to Swaziland). Narratives collected from migrants are used to inform on the changes affecting their socio-spatial strategies (motives, social networks of reference, labour use) as they cross one border after another to end up in Swaziland. To contextualise the narratives, it is important to provide some elements of historical and political backgrounds to cross-border mobility throughout the state formation trajectory.|
|Appears in Collections:||CEI-CLN – Autoria de capítulos de livros nacionais|
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