Displacement in Casamance, Senegal: lessons (hopefully) learned, 2000–2019

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2 Citations (Scopus)
32 Downloads (Pure)


The paper reflects on fieldwork conducted since 2000 with displaced communities in Lower and Middle Casamance, Senegal, amid West Africa’s arguably longest running civil conflict. While this is a small conflict in a geographically confined space, Casamance presents a microcosm of dynamics common to other displacement situations in Africa. In this context the paper explores how the understandings, lived experiences and practices of the displaced transcend normative categories used by aid actors to define and manage such situations. Five thematic areas are examined: enumeration of the displaced; complex mobilities, both rural–urban and transnational; historiographic understandings of displacement; political manipulation of displacement situations; and the dynamics of return and reconstruction. The paper concludes by summarising failures of understanding in these areas among much of the aid community, and their consequences. It argues that well-grounded and socially nuanced understandings of displacement may inform more effective aid interventions and enhance the peace process.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-654
Number of pages20
JournalCanadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines
Issue number3
Early online date5 Sept 2021
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 5 Sept 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in [Canadian Journal of African Studies]. [Evans, M 2021, 'Displacement in Casamance, Senegal: lessons (hopefully) learned, 2000–2019', Canadian Journal of African Studies / Revue canadienne des études africaines, vol. 55, no. 3, pp. 635-654.].

It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The author gratefully acknowledges funding for the relevant fieldwork from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (Additional Fieldwork Award); Chatham House; the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo; and the British Academy (Small Research Grant SG-50255).


  • Casamance
  • Internally displaced persons
  • Senegal
  • refugees
  • returnees

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • History
  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science


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