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Border closures in Africa: causes and consequences [CRG ABORNE] 
Hugh Lamarque (The University of Edinburgh)
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Politics and International Relations (x) Covid (y)
Philosophikum, S68
Thursday 1 June, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

This panel showcases both empirical and theoretical materials on the causes and consequences of border closures. Although this is a matter of global concern, Africa - the world's most partitioned continent - offers a wealth of material on how and why borders are closed.

Long Abstract:

The closure of international borders is among the most contentious political issues of our time. Although this is a matter of global concern, Africa in particular offers a wealth of untapped material on how and why borders are closed. This panel aims to make significant empirical and theoretical contributions on the subject through a comparative perspective on border closures across the world's most partitioned continent.

Despite a rapidly growing literature on borderlands in Africa, a systematic analytical framework for this kind of event has yet to be developed. This is not surprising. Border closure is a more intangible subject than it may appear. In most cases, the closure is partial, both with regard to the sections of the border affected, and also the sections of society prohibited from crossing it. The rival interests involved mean that events are often poorly documented and publicly disputed.

The surge of closures and reopenings that resulted from the Covid-19 pandemic offers a weight of fresh empirical material. Their consequences are ongoing and significant: closures have disrupted regional trade, collapsed survival economies of local traders, divided families, incentivised smuggling, and uprooted refugees. These events predated the virus, and the panel looks beyond public health concerns to other motivations in history. It will also look to the future, as the continent adapts to its recent experiences.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Thursday 1 June, 2023, -