University of Leicester
2021MulukaBOPhD.pdf (3.67 MB)

Forced Migration And The Dialectic Of Home And Return: The Case Of South Sudanese Refugees In Kakuma Refugee Camp And Kalobeyei Integrated Settlement In Kenya, 1991 – 2019

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posted on 2021-09-10, 14:19 authored by Barrack O. Muluka
This research focuses on emerging permanence of refugee situations in Africa, manifested in perduring refugee camps. Cast in the thematic mould of forced migration and the dialectic of home and return, it seeks to appreciate the drivers of permanence in refugee situations, even after there have been opportunities to decamp. Using the case of Southern Sudanese refugees in Kakuma and Kalobeyei in North Western Kenya (1991 – 2019), the research is especially keen to hear from the scarce voice of the refugee in scholarly and policy discourses on forced migration. We use a combination of qualitative approaches in the naturalistic prism, attended by relevant literature surveys. The study is cast in the conceptual context of the International Humanitarian Law, together with Neoclassical migration theories. We observe that Kakuma and Kalobeyei refugee camps have steadily morphed from temporary humanitarian intervention centres into holding places in incomplete migrations from Africa to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Countries. We argue that these camps are only a stage in an unfinished multistage migration process. We contend further that a critical mass of the peoples in these movements gave up on their dysfunctional country long before the migration was triggered off. Accordingly, the violent spark that pushed them into refugee camps, only represented the ripe moment for their relocation to begin. Return is, therefore, not their preferred option. Accordingly, the camped refugee situation provides an astute avenue for resettlement in the West. Resettlement is an opportunity many are willing to wait for indefinitely, despite what are sometimes harsh living conditions. Refugee relief and support services, however, provide a comparatively favourable waiting environment, contrasted with life in the place of origin. We conclude that refugee camps of the kind under study are likely to perdure, until the underlying displacing environments are addressed through state reform.



Kelly Staples; Laura Brace

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of History, Politics and International Relations

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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