‘Bringing Time’ into Migration and Critical Border Studies: Theoretical and Methodological Implications for African Research
Vanyoro, Kudakwashe P.
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This paper brings together insights from scholarship on time, migration and critical border studies to propose a research thematic framework for a temporal approach on African migration. Through a case study of Zimbabwe-South Africa migration, it builds on previous studies of time, migration and borders to demonstrate how a temporalised approach to migration and critical border studies can contribute to a comprehensive understanding of migrant subjectivities and their constitution in Africa. The theoretical and literature review adopted in the paper suggests that critical border studies in Africa have not sufficiently temporalised. These studies often focus more on ‘spatiality’ and migration as a temporal and social process is marginalised in these debates. In this literature, there is a greater focus on ‘stasis’ and ‘borderlanders’ that goes together with a widely held belief among postcolonial African scholars that a spatial focus is the most suitable way to politicise and decolonise Africa’s colonial borders. This paper demonstrates how a temporalised (space-time) approach to South-South migration and critical border studies in Africa allows us to engage with similar debates by politicising time. It concludes that in an era of ‘containment development’, a critical understanding of time is a politically enabling exercise.
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