Flexibility in return, reconstruction and livelihoods in displaced villages in Casamance, Senegal

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4 Citations (Scopus)


The paper argues that livelihoods research in situations of violent conflict and its aftermath can contribute to geographical understandings of flexibility. Such settings paradoxically demand greater flexibility from economic actors while imposing new and sometimes severe constraints on them to exercise it. These constraints often have spatial aspects. The paper explores these issues through research on return of the displaced in Casamance, Senegal. It analyses the dynamics of reoccupation and exploitation by villagers of their former habitable and agricultural spaces amid improving but still problematic security conditions. Flexibility is most visible in the new settlement forms adopted in villages undergoing reconstruction, mainly reflecting security issues. It is also evident in shifting patterns of economic activity and the reconfiguration of local political space. However, such flexibility transcends the situation under study and has long been described in livelihoods research across the developing world, albeit in other terms.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-524
Number of pages18
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Casamance
  • Senegal
  • West Africa
  • human displacement
  • livelihoods
  • post-conflict reconstruction


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