This panel focuses on the mobility of people in Sub-Sahara Africa and historical and political issues. There were many migrants after independence until now. We discuss people's mobility and social background to understand the mechanisms underlying the production of social inequalities.
Spatial mobility and social mobility have been studied for a long time in the social sciences. People's mobility is considered to deal with social risks and the redistribution of resources through state intervention. We will examine the issue of mobility from the perspective of social inequalities and clarify how people's movements across borders occurred historically. We are not considering the juxtaposition of traditional society vs. modern society with respect to these mobilities, but are concerned with the patterns and manifestations of settled migrants, short-term movers, and their circulation. We will specifically focus on the transnational movements in the 20th to 21st centuries, and social movements related to livelihood and ethnicity nowadays in East Africa. In reviewing their individual paths, it will be clear that most movements occur as a result of global issues such as trade among Africans, colonisation, crisis, and wars after independence. For this purpose, we will describe the 'taskscape' of each research field with empirical research, for the space is socially constituted and involves asymmetries and power. Conceptualising the movement of people across borders is a crucial research area for understanding the mechanisms underlying the production of social inequalities. Analysis of spatial and social mobility goes beyond indicators of heterogeneity such as subsistence and ethnicity. We also point out the possibility of people's mobility.