The Age of Intra-African Migration: A Synthesis

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This chapter synthesizes the remarkable diversity of African migration patterns that have emerged, transformed, and disappeared in the 19th to 21st century, and which form the core subject of this book. We argue that the retreat of Africans from intercontinental migration systems during the “age of mass migration” (1850–1940) coincided with an accelerated succession of overlapping migration patterns within the African continent. The shifting patterns of mobility that we observe during this “age of intra-African migration” were intertwined with profound demographic, economic, and political transitions in African societies, which were also deeply influenced by changing global economic and political relations. We further argue that the prevalent dichotomous view juxtaposing “traditional” and “modern” migration is unhelpful to interpret these long-run shifts in African mobility. The analytical framework we propose views intra-African migration as an integral part of the global historical migration dynamic, and distinguishes between “contextual” and “macro-historical” drivers of migratory activity.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMigration in Africa
Subtitle of host publicationShifting Patterns of Mobility from the 19th to the 21st Century
EditorsM. de Haas, E. Frankema
PublisherTaylor & Francis
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781003225027
ISBN (Print)9781032125299
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2022


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