Accepted paper:

Back to containment development: the latest swing of the migration-development pendulum


Oliver Bakewell (University of Manchester)

Paper short abstract:

This paper looks at how the idea migration can contribute to development is giving way to a resurgence of investments in development as a way of tackling the root causes of migration.

Paper long abstract:

Over the last two decades, there has been a huge growth in research on the relationship between migration and development. Much of this has explored the potential benefits of migration for developing countries and helped to stimulate a plethora of policy initiatives to maximise the positive impacts. At the same time, migration from developing areas continues to be widely seen as a reflection of development failure, despite a large body of research that suggests the opposite. This can be clearly seen in the European response to the 'migration crisis' which includes directing development funding towards origin areas in Africa with a view to reducing the scale of irregular migration. It has recently been suggested that we are now in an era of 'containment development', which is more concerned with controlling the movement of Africans than improving the quality of their lives. However, far from being new, this echoes the historical and conceptual roots of development as an arena of action for states and many international organisations. This paper will discuss the shifting debates and practices linking migration and development, with particular reference to African experiences, and suggest that it raises critical questions about how development can move beyond the container.

panel E07
Migration and the quest for a better life: how people on the move re-shape global development (Paper)