Call for papers: De-centring and Contesting Externalisation in West Africa and Beyond

Hybrid workshop at SOAS (London), 19 September // Special Issue of Movements: a journal of critical migration and border studies
The region of West Africa has long been a laboratory for the implementation of EU migration control measures. For this reason, it has also been a site of interest for scholars interested in EU border externalisation policies (Carrera, 2007; Andersson, 2014; Casas-Cortes, Cobarrubias and Pickles, 2014; Vives, 2017). While the concept of externalisation has proven fruitful for the critical analysis of these policies, it has also recently been criticised for centring the interests of European states (Adam et al., 2020), whose unidirectional flow of power (İşleyen, 2018) can overshadow the agency of third country state actors (El Qadim, 2014; Cassarino, 2018). At the same time, the concept has been reframed in light of the colonial dynamics that it both sustains and obscures (Korvensyrja, 2017; Lemberg-Pedersen, 2019; Ould Moctar, 2020). At a time in which the dynamics of international engagement in the West African Sahel are undergoing radical changes, it is particularly important to revisit these questions and appraise how EU migration control prerogatives interact with popular upheaval, political instability, and shifting geopolitical alliances.
For these reasons, this project seeks to move beyond “externalisation” as an isolated object of analysis; instead, we are interested in the border regime’s imbrication within questions and ideals of Westphalian statehood (Korvensyrja, 2017; Stambøl, 2021), the global capitalist system (Cross, 2013; Andersson, 2022), and broader domestic and international security prerogatives (Frowd, 2018). Further, we seek to provoke discussion around how these relate to pre-colonial regimes of mobility governance and political ordering that continue to shape West African contexts (Derrider and Pelckmans, 2020). In this comprehensive light, the project is attentive to the roles that class, gender, and race play within the externalisation process, as well as the history of European conquest in which this process necessarily unfolds (Danewid, 2017).
Workshop and Special Issue:
Organised by the West Africa working group of the network, this project aims to bring scholars, activists and practitioners based in West Africa to exchange around these issues. This exchange will initially take the form of a hybrid workshop, which will take place on 19 September at SOAS. Subsequent to this, we invite contributions to a special issue of ‘movements: a journal of critical migration and border studies’ that will further advance the conversations of the workshop. In the case of both the workshop and the special issue, we aim to bridge barriers between academic and activist knowledge. The workshop will do so by organising discussion in a range of formats, beyond the standard academic panel formula, while the special issue equally seeks contributions in the form of short reflective pieces, op-ed style articles, interviews, in addition to academic journal articles.
While the intention is for there to be continuity between the contributions to the workshop and the special issue, participation in one is not a pre-requisite to participating in the other. In other words, we encourage contributions to both the workshop and the SI, but individuals are free to contribute to one without committing to the other. For this reason, we have set out distinct deadlines for each, which can be found below:
Those interested in presenting a paper, poster or panel contribution at the workshop, either virtually or in person, should send a short abstract (150 word) and bio to Hassan Ould Moctar ( by 25 July 2022. Limited travel funding will be available.
Those interested in contributing a paper (either an article, research report or intervention or in another format) to the special issue should send an abstract of 200 words and a short bio to by 31 August 2022. Please note that we envision the deadline for first drafts to be 15 December.

Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Editorial Team: Leonie Jegen, Aino Korvensyrjä, Laura Lambert, Hassan Ould Moctar, Ngozi Louis Uzomah, Moctar Dan Yaye & Franzisca Zanker

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