Regions without borders

Call for Abstracts for the 33rd International Geographical Congress: Shaping our Harmonious Worlds

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Call for Abstracts

“Autochthony, Allochthony and Belonging: Migration, Xenophobia and Social Cohesion in the Southern African Region”

Migration is not new in the Southern African region. Its long history dates back to the late 19th century into the colonial, post-independence and post-Cold War eras, and into the late 1980s and early 1990s when most economies in Southern Africa underwent neoliberal economic reforms and structural adjustments. The economic reforms coincided with the end of apartheid in South Africa. South Africa’s emergence as the economic hub of Southern Africa coupled with the long history of migration across Southern Africa makes South Africa a destination of choice for various categories of migrants including labour, informal traders, medical, education and training, cultural and kinship relations, etc. The post-reform and post-apartheid period has thus witnessed increased immigration into South Africa from Southern and other parts of Africa. The increase in numbers of immigrants in South Africa has created tensions and hostilities directed towards immigrants. The African immigrants in South Africa have thus been constructed as the problematic new comers who take away jobs from South Africans and strain the national socioeconomic infrastructure, pressuring government and limiting its ability to provide essential socioeconomic services and employment to its citizens. This social topography, which has elevated South African citizens and led to the relegation of immigrants to the subaltern, with calls for their evisceration and interpellation, partlyexplains the so-called xenophobia and discourse around xenophobic attacks currently prevalent in South Africa since the early 2000s. While foreigners and agencies such as the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) brand targeted attacks on foreigners and their businesses by South African citizens as xenophobia, South African authorities rather brand such attacks as acts of criminality, or even ‘Afrophobia’, and not xenophobic. Against this background, this session proposes to (a) gain a properunderstanding and conceptualisation of the notion xenophobia and (b) deliberate ways in which social cohesion can be promoted to encourage harmony between foreigners and South African citizens. The dearth of scholarly engagement in academia and policy attention in government circles around regional migration, xenophobia, local integration and social cohesion in Southern Africa makes engaging in this discourse imperative.

Please register and submit your abstract (200-250 words) at the IGC China 33rd International Geographical Congress website by following the link below. On the Abstract Submission page your “Intended Session” will be listed under Political Geography. Check the “Autochthony, Allochthony and Belonging: Migration, Xenophobia and Social Cohesion in the Southern African Region” box and proceed with your submission.



15 February 2016

21-25 August 2016, Beijing China

16 April 2016

For further information please contact:
Dr. Inocent Moyo
Research Fellow: Department of Geography
UNISA, Florida Campus
Tel: +27 72 106 2632


Dr. Christopher C. Nshimbi
Research Fellow & Deputy Director: Centre for the Study of Governance Innovation (GovInn)
Department of Political Sciences, University of Pretoria
Tel: +27 12 420 4152

GovInn joins RISC

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We are glad to announce that our Centre has joined RISC, the Consortium for Comparative Research on Regional Integration and Social Cohesion.

Founded in 2007, RISC gathers socially conscious research centres from all over the world. Through the creation of a cross-regional and interdisciplinary network RISC promotes the comparative examination of the human and environmental impacts of various aspects of regional integration across geographic areas and time periods. What sets RISC apart is its commitment to conduct research that could support social action projects in local communities.
GovInn researchers welcome the opportunity to contribute to a better understanding of the global political and economic challenges from the privileged observation point of Southern Africa.

Learn more about GovInn research projects
Learn more about RISC