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Portrait of Simon Turner. Photo: Emma Lord.

Simon Turner


Portrait of Simon Turner. Photo: Emma Lord.

Postcolonial States and Migration


  • Clayton Boeyink
  • Simon Turner

Summary, in English

This chapter overviews migration management across Africa, arguing with Vigneswaran and Quirk (2015) that postcolonial African states prevent, promote, and channel migration for myriad political and economic purposes. While breaking from Eurocentric bias obsessed with Africa to Europe migration, we balance the view of African states not as dysfunctional European prototypes, nor as incomparable and anomalous with the rest of the world. To understand postcolonial states and migration, however, it requires a look back at colonial practices of migration control, including pass laws, forced labour migration, and villagisation, to see the colonial continuities and changes. Drawing from foundational African Studies texts, we contend that postcolonial structures of migration were maintained by a dialectic interaction between the hegemonic system of indirect rule or ‘bifurcation’ outlined by Mahmood Mamdani and choices of ‘extraversion’ made by African elites to maintain wealth and power set out by Jean-François Bayart. To demonstrate these structures and ruptures, we highlight efforts of pan-African solidarity at independence and new pushes to intracontinental visa-free travel, which is contrasted with nationalising projects that hardened borders and saw the rise of encampment, xenophobia, and autochthony movements.


  • Social Anthropology

Publishing year







Routledge Handbook of Contemporary African Migration

Document type

Book chapter


Taylor & Francis


  • Political Science




  • ISBN: 9781000927597
  • ISBN: 9781003005551