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Given the scarcity of conceptual work on the economic lives of displaced populations, Displacement Economies in Africa: Paradoxes of Crisis and Creativity, edited by Amanda Hammar, is a welcome contribution. The main question of this collection is: What does displacement generate in terms of economies? As the subtitle of the book suggests, the concept of ‘paradox’ is key to unpacking this question. While displacement often dismantles people’s pre-existing capital, networks, and expertise, a range of new relationships, socio-economic spaces, and creative strategies can also emerge from experiences of dislocation. Drawing upon empirical studies across Sub-Saharan Africa, this book sheds light on these paradoxical simultaneities – destruction and creation, loss and gain, despair and hope, and confinement and mobility – that human displacement produces in different contexts.

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Book review


Oxford University Press

Publication Date



28 (4)


597 - 599