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States and Power in AfricaComparative Lessons in Authority and Control$
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Jeffrey Herbst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164137

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164137.001.0001

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The Politics of Migration and Citizenship

The Politics of Migration and Citizenship

Chapter:
(p.227) Eight The Politics of Migration and Citizenship
Source:
States and Power in Africa
Author(s):

Jeffrey Herbst

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691164137.003.0008

This chapter examines how changing patterns of migration and the dynamics of citizenship laws both affect and reflect the abilities of African states to consolidate power. It shows that these two phenomena are interconnected because citizenship laws embody the identities that African states have tried to construct on the assumption that populations are no longer mobile. It argues that, contrary to conventional wisdom, African boundaries have fundamentally altered the nature of population movements across the continent. As a result, citizenship has acquired a salience that is often greater than the ties between ethnic groups separated by a border. However, African countries have not exploited the surprising firmness of their boundaries to develop innovative citizenship regulations that might establish a strong national bond between state and citizen. Because of this, a critical opportunity for state consolidation often has been lost.

Keywords:   migration, citizenship, Africa, states, power, boundaries, population movements, ethnic groups, state consolidation

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