Call for papers For a special issue of the scientific quarterly, Afrique Contemporaine


“The African Diaspora and Political Engagement: Migrant Voting Behavior”
Edited by Jean-Philippe Dedieu (CIRHUS/NYU), Thibaut Jaulin (CERI/Sciences Po) and Etienne Smith (Sciences Po)

Studies devoted to the relationship of immigrants to politics have gradually started to unearth unheeded, even unknown swaths of political practices and know-how. Attesting to the prominence of the assimilationist model in migration studies, such studies have long focused exclusively on the political integration of migrants within their countries of residence. The recent diffusion of the transnational paradigm across the social sciences has helped to revitalize this approach. This shift has allowed researchers specialized in migration studies to break free from methodological nationalism and thus pave the way for an investigation of migrant participation in political life in both their countries of residence and countries of origin.

Increasingly, countries of origin grant double nationality, dual citizenship and voting rights to non-resident citizens, bolstering diaspora participation in political life. Since 1991, the number of countries that have facilitated the ability to cast absentee votes has multiplied four-fold, rising from almost 30 to more than 100 by the end of the 2000s. In Africa alone, more than half of the countries allow citizens living abroad to vote in national elections.

Most research on external voting has centered on countries in Latin America and the Caribbean (Mexico and the Dominican Republic), Europe (Italy and Portugal), and Asia (the Philippines). However, the historical, political and social conditions that enfranchise the African diaspora have received less attention.

This special issue of Afrique Contemporaine proposes to present pioneering works by historians, political scientists and sociologists specialized in studying the African continent, focusing on migrants abroad voting in the elections of their country of origin.


The following list presents some but not all of the topics suitable for this edition:

(1.) Modalities for “absentee voting” or “external voting”

What relationships can we draw between external voting and political changes, such as “democratic transitions”, post-conflict situations, and revolutions like “The Arab Spring”?
What is the history of external voting’s implementation?
What typology(s) of external voting systems may be drawn?
What are the practical obstacles and implied costs of absentee-voter registration and voting for States and potential voters?

(2.) Political mobilization: Electoral and non-electoral practices

To what extent does African diaspora political engagement correlate with other types of engagement — for example, with civic associations or trade unions?
What is the role of local grass-roots organizations?
How are electoral campaigns conducted abroad?
What possible links exist between voting in national versus local elections?

(3.) Voters, candidates and elected officials

What are the social and demographic characteristics of first- or second-generation immigrant voters?
To what extent do “external” voters make the same electoral choices as “internal” ones, all other things being equal?
What effects do emigration and socialization in the residence country have upon voting practices, outcomes, and political engagement in general? Do we need to make a distinction between the diaspora within and outside Africa?
If we use prosopography to analyze candidates and elected officials in national and local elections, can we discern an impact from the intensified migratory flows of recent decades?

(4.) Monetary remittances and social remittances

How far can the expansion of diaspora voting rights allow us to rethink the relationship between monetary and social remittances?
Do the monetary remittances from migrants to families left behind affect the latter’s voting behavior?
How much and under what conditions can we see migrant voting behavior influenced by families left behind?

(5.) Methodologies

What scales of analysis are relevant in examining external voting?
How can we frame the question of context, e.g., family, friends, colleagues, party and associative networks, etc., in the local and transnational perspectives that characterize external voting?
How can we remedy the lack of homogeneity and reliability of statistics on migrations?


Except for Mali, Senegal and Tunisia, which the editors of this special issue will address themselves, all African countries, from Egypt to North Africa to sub-Saharan Africa, are eligible; articles may focus on a single country or compare several.


  • Interested authors will submit a one-page précis, describing the topic, argument outline (in brief), and the relevant data or fieldwork; submissions are due by 20 January 2015.
  • The editors will select article topics and authors by 10 February 2015.
  • Selected authors must submit a first draft of their articles by 1 June 2015.
  • The special issue will be published in the 4th quarter of 2015.

In their published versions, the articles will have one of two formats:
Most articles will be 35-40,000 characters in length, including spaces, footnotes and bibliography.
Articles of 8-10,000 characters in length, including spaces, footnotes and bibliography, will also be welcome if they address countries less covered by the extant literature, in particular those where data have been scarce.

We especially welcome articles that feature maps, drawings, chronologies and photos.
Each article will be blind peer-reviewed by two anonymous referees, the Afrique Contemporaine editorial board and the special issue editors.

Please submit your response to this call for papers via our online Editorial Manager:
For questions or clarifications, contact Marie-Aude Fouéré and Isabelle Fortuit

Indicative bibliography

Bauböck, Rainer (2007) « Stakeholder Citizenship and Transnational Political Participation: A Normative Evolution of External Voting », Fordham Law Review, 75(5), pp. 2393-2447.
Brand, Laurie A. (2010) « Authoritarian States and Voting from Abroad », Comparative Politics, 43(1), pp. 81-99.
Brand, Laurie A., (2014) « Arab uprisings and the changing frontiers of transnational citizenship: Voting from abroad in political transitions », Political Geography, 41, pp. 54-63.
Calderón Chelius, Leticia (2003) Votar en la distancia. La extensión de los derechos políticos a migrantes, experiencias comparadas, Mexico: Instituto Mora and Coordinacion General para la atencion al migrante Michoacano.
Collyer, Micheal&Vathi, Zana (2007) « Patterns of Extra-territorial Voting », Working paper T22, Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty, University of Sussex.
Dedieu Jean-Philippe, Lisa Chauvet, Flore Gubert, Sandrine Mesplé-Somps, and Etienne Smith (2013) The "battles" of Paris and New York. An analysis of transnational electoral behaviour among Senegalese migrants in France and the United States, Revue française de science politique, 63(5), pp. 53-80.
Dedieu, Jean Philippe (2013) « Mali’s Scattered Democracy.How Migrants from Paris to Guangzhou Influence the Vote », Foreign Affairs, August 2013.
Docquier, Frédéric, Elisabetta Lodigiani, Hillel Rapoport, Maurice Schiff (2011) « Emigration and Democracy », IZA DP, n° 5496, Bonn: Institute for the Study of Labor.
Gallagher, Dennis & Anna Schowengerdt (1998) « Participation of Refugees in Postconflict Elections », in Kumar, Krishna (eds) Postconflict Elections, Democratization, and International Assistance, Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers, pp. 195-213.
IDEA and IFE (eds) (2007) Voting from Abroad. The International IDEA Handbook, Stockholm & Mexico City: IDEA & IFE.
Itzigsohn, Jose &Villacrés, Daniela (2008) « Migrant political transnationalism and the practice of democracy: Dominican external voting rights and Salvadoran home town associations », Ethnic and Racial Studies, 31(4), p. 664-686
Itzigsohn, Jose (2000) « Immigration and the Boundaries of Citizenship: The Institutions of Immigrants’ Political Transnationalism », International Migration Review, 34, pp. 1126-1154.
Jaulin, Thibaut (2014) « Les territoires du vote à distance : l’élection tunisienne de 2011 à l’étranger », Espace politiques, 23(2).
Lafleur, Jean Michel (2013) Transnational Politics and the State. The External Voting Rights of Diaspora, New York and London: Routledge.
Laguerre, Michel (1999) « State, Diaspora, and Transnational Politics : Haiti Reconceptualised », Millenium, 28, pp. 633-51.
Levitt, Peggy (1998) « Social Remittances: Migration Driven Local-Level Forms of Cultural Diffusion », The International Migration Review, 32, pp. 926-48.
Østergaard-Nielsen, Eva (2003) Transnational Politics. Turks and Kurds in Germany. London: Routledge.
Rhodes, Sybil & Arus Harutyunyan (2010), 'Extending Citizenship to Emigrants: Democratic Contestation and a New Global Norm.'. International Political Science Review, 31, pp. 470-93.
Rubio-Marín, Ruth (2006) « Transnational Politics and the Democratic Nation-State: Normative Challenges of Expatriate Voting and Nationality Retention of Emigrants », New York University Law Review, 81, pp. 117-47.



Call for papers For a special issue of the scientific quarterly, Afrique Contemporaine


A great Eastern Africa in the making?
Scientific coordination by Marie-Aude Fouéré (EHESS) and Hervé Maupeux (LAM-UPPA)

If we step away from the old British Colonial definition of East Africa and look at the economic and political forces shaping and redrawing the region today, we see a multifaceted region – one long perceived as a patchwork of extremely different economic and political systems. The divergent development paths taken by Tanzania and Kenya in the 1960s and 1970s – one socialist and self-reliant, the other capitalist and open to foreign investment – illustrate each country’s autonomous political and economic choices, solidly grounded in the process of building national sovereignty rather than regional cohesion. Three phenomena have precluded any enduring form of economic or political regionalism: authoritarian regimes installed in many countries from the Red Sea to southern Africa and to the Great Lakes Region; the civil and interstate wars that have torn apart several countries (and continue to do so, in some cases); and the slow disintegration of some states. The failure of the first East African Community proved how difficult it is to achieve regional cooperation and especially regional integration in the face of sovereign tensions, economic differences, and armed destabilization efforts. Despite a long history of interconnectedness through movement and trade between the social and cultural centers of greater East Africa (the Great Lakes Region, Swahili Coast, the Horn of Africa, and ethnicized hinterlands), identity politics, economic hierarchies, and curbs on the circulation of goods, peoples, and ideas have intensified during the colonial and postcolonial period.

In recent years, however, the situation has changed. We see new approaches and experiences that reveal growing interconnections between state and non-state actors in the greater East Africa taking shape today. The wave of structural adjustments unleashed in the middle of the 1980s effectively ended the separation between socialist and capitalist economies. It also brought about instances of regional cooperation in many sectors, without loss of national sovereignty. These experiences resulted from harmonizing policies, aimed at both fiscal and judicial regimes and commercial and insurance regulations. Renewed efforts to build integrated blocs have facilitated trade in goods and capital; such integration rests on common economic policies, reduced tariffs, and the promotion of inter-regional commerce. Examples include the East African Community, the South African Development Community, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. Private actors, such as multinationals, smaller companies, and tradesmen working in various fields (such as telecommunications, banking, automobile re-exporting, mechanical engineering, and consumer goods) serve as agents in this expansion through interconnection. Despite new forms of authoritarianism, the stabilization of post-conflict countries, such as Burundi, Mozambique, Rwanda, and Uganda, has eased the circulation of goods and peoples in the vast East African hinterlands. It also makes possible the expansion of large infrastructure projects between countries in the region, including Ethiopia and South Sudan, along with the construction of region-wide railways, telecommunications networks, roadways, pipelines, and power lines.

However, several challenges undermine the optimism driving these grand interconnection projects. The infrastructure aims to improve economies of scale in the region and augment its attractiveness for foreign investment – both from historically favored countries and regions (the United States, Great Britain and Europe) and from emerging countries, primarily China and India, but also Indonesia and Turkey. These ambitions face obstacles in three major regions. First, in the Great Lakes Region, lawlessness, particularly around North Kivu Province in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, threatens the stability of Burundi and Uganda while authoritarianism in Rwanda, a country ruled by an iron fist, makes internal or external compromise nearly impossible. Second, South Sudan possesses oil resources coveted by other countries in the region, principally Ethiopia, Sudan, and Kenya – the latter two still torn by internal wars. Third, Somalia — a state without a government — harbors thousands of refugees and destabilizes the entire region with terrorist activities; this especially affects Kenya, the economic engine of East Africa.

This special issue aims to highlight the economic, political and social forces that make this new interconnectedness possible, now and in the future – forces that it has and will, in turn, transform, leading to major political and economic realignments in the entire region. This issue also aims to document and analyze those realignments. We welcome the following topics as potential submissions. (Please note that this list is by no means exclusive, and other topics will be considered.)

(1) Infrastructure and development. The new interconnections developing in East Africa allow the circulation of ideas, practices, goods, capital, men and women. However, current debates and projects mostly focus on infrastructure: railways, telecommunications, roads, pipelines, power grids, and so forth. This border-crossing infrastructure often takes the form of “corridors” – a recurrent term in East African project documents, and one often used by analysts and scholars. Under this heading, the proposed volume will examine the new rhetoric promoting interconnectedness through these multifunctional corridors. They are conceived as a panacea for opening the hinterland to the Indian Ocean, facilitating cross-border trade, and creating new development links in what have been peripheral areas — for example, the Lamu Port Southern Sudan-Ethiopia Transport (LAPSSET) Corridor project in northern Kenya. What means do proponents employ – economic calculations, models, etc. – to legitimize such interconnection projects? How does the corridor or an infrastructure connection co-exist with new state-sponsored development projects, particularly poverty alleviation efforts? How does each governmental stakeholder instrumentalize the corridor internally? Is it possible to build nationhood through a regionalized transnational project? We note that corridors have a history in the region, and would welcome a retrospective analysis of such projects. As for natural resources, we hope to examine possible links between planned infrastructure projects and looting by certain actors; we would also question when and how such infrastructure might truly benefit local populations, as national development plans claim. We would also question the relationship that may be built between regional interconnections through corridors and regional construction. In official rhetoric, the corridor symbolizes material efforts to forge relationships between countries. However, this rhetoric seldom addresses the political integration needed if the corridor is to sustain its intended financial and economic relationships. Nor does such rhetoric address asymmetries in corridor control and profit accumulation.

(2) Funding and international cooperation. The financing of infrastructure is key to the physical and geographical interconnections between countries in greater East Africa; it is, therefore, a crucial condition for the expansion of human, capital, goods and resource flows. This observation calls for an examination of present and future funding modalities and mechanisms, given that new public- and private-sector donors (particularly those from emerging countries, principally China and India, and some Gulf countries for certain sectors) will contribute to changing international relations in general and the development finance landscape in particular. Observers expect that the primacy of bilateral aid will return, after decades in the shadow of foreign aid from international and regional organizations and public-private partnerships. As traditional donors reposition themselves, particularly the World Bank and OECD countries, what consequences will follow? How will East African countries change the way they negotiate at the national level, or at the level of the economic and political blocs now being formed, when addressing donor countries having only weak conditionalities? How will countries with varied human and natural resources or expertise succeed – or not – in cooperating with development partners, given that those whose reserves have recently proven greater than expected (Kenya and Uganda for oil, or Mozambique and Tanzania for natural gas) will attract more attention than their less-well-endowed neighbors? Will natural resource exploitation influence regional cooperation organizations? To what extent will the West participate in the region’s latest social and economic development phase?

(3) Political realignments. Economic globalization drives interconnections in East Africa, whose countries must cope with its effects even as their political and economic choices encourage it. Most of these countries have converted to multiparty democracy (albeit with uneven levels of democratization) and several have ratified new constitutions; all of them must juggle their nascent concepts of nationhood with their regional bilateral and multilateral networks. The equation between nation and region, or between local, regional and international, often proves unequal. We would ask how various political actors appropriate interconnection projects (or fail to do so), and how the private sector, civil society, and international partners position themselves in the landscape. The relationship that emerges between political, economic and financial actors in the face of this new interconnectedness calls for an analysis to understand how project outcomes depend on that relationship, particularly given the obvious overlap between actors. We would emphasize the role of political entrepreneurs and political élites in these countries (heads of state and powerful officials) by using a sociology of actors and a sociology of inter-state relations. The issue of national elections crucially informs the fate of such projects, as Kenya’s latest elections demonstrated. The political realignments that the new connections simultaneously serve and perform only become visible at the national scale; these realignments affect relationships between countries and can lead to conflicts — over ‘vertical exploitation’ practices, over constraints that interdependences impose, or over questions of market monopolies and economic rents.

(4) Security. According to surveys, most citizens in East African countries name security as their primary concern. Security or its absence reflect many actors and actions: the state’s public policies and its authoritarian, policing and/or criminal practices; the presence of neighborhood or election-period militias; the activities of international terrorism, primarily from Somalia. Current infrastructure projects for interconnectedness depend heavily on securing areas of building and operation, as in the LAPSSET corridor. How do security concerns affect project design and funding choices? How do countries try to protect themselves from various kind of insecurity? Some threats may be local, national or regional, but all overlap; increasingly, they cross borders, as when Somali terrorists insinuate themselves among a target country’s young adults. What specific systems — resource redistribution, national or regional security measures for example — will foster peace between countries, thereby allowing interconnections and even regional integration to flourish? And how can these systems work, given that some governments covertly profit from terrorism, increasing criminal activities such as drugs and arms trafficking or organized crime? And finally, how does security affect human mobility, so vital to the flows of goods and capital? Some migrate voluntarily for short-term or permanent work while others have suffered forced displacements; how does mobility function when some countries in the region must handle thousands of internal and international refugees?


This special issues has the following timeline (subject to change):

Interested authors will submit a one-page précis, describing the topic, argument outline (in brief), and the relevant data or fieldwork; submissions are due by 20 November 2014
The editors will select article topics and authors by 30 November 2014
Selected authors must submit a first draft of their articles by 30 March 2015
The special issue will be published in the third quarter of 2015.

In their published versions, the articles will be 50,000 characters in length, including spaces, footnotes and bibliography. Each article will be blind peer-reviewed by two experts in the material.

Please submit your response to this call for papers via our online Editorial Manager:
For questions or clarifications, contact Marie-Aude Fouéré and Isabelle Fortuit

Indicative bibliography

1/ Infrastructure and development:
Boone, C. (2014) Property & Political Order in Africa. Land Rights and the Structure of Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Borras, S.M. and Franco, J.C. (2012) Global land grabbing and trajectories of agrarian change: a preliminary analysis. Journal of Agrarian Change, 12, 34-59.
Porhel, R. and Leon, A. (2013) L’influence des corridors dans le développement régional: le cas de l’EAC. Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique. Note n°2-2013.

2/ Funding and international cooperation.
Auge, B. and Nakayi, R. (2013) Eastern Africa: A New oil and Gas Frontier. Observatoire des Grands Lacs en Afrique. Note n°1-2013.
Patey, Luke Anthony (2014) The New Kings of Crude: China, India, and the Global Struggle for Oil in Sudan and South Sudan. London: Hurst & Company.

3/ Political realignments:
Arriola, L. R. (2013) Multiethnic Coalitions in Africa. Business Financing of Opposition Election Campaigns. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Hansen, S. J. (2013) Al-Shabaab in Somalia. The History and Ideology of a Militant Islamist Group, 2005-2012. London: Hurst & Company.
Tripp, A. M. (2010) Museveni’s Uganda. Paradoxes of Power in a Hybrid Regime. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner.

4/ Security:
Baker, B. (2008). Multi-Choice Policing in Africa. Uppsala: Nordiska Afrikainstitutet.
Kaarsholm, P. (Ed.) (2006). Violence, Political Culture and Development in Africa. Oxford: James Currey.

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