When the refugee status becomes an economic asset: how Malians in a Burkinabé City negotiate the “refugee” category
Ethnic and Racial Studies
GB : Routledge
en ligne - p.
Refugees, categorization, Burkina Faso, Mali, humanitarian interventions, intersectionality
Since early 2016, part of the Malian urban refugees living in Bobo-Dioulasso, Burkina Faso, have to “capitalize” on their refugee status to make ends meet. By examining when, why, and how the refugee status transmutes into an economic asset, this article shows how the possibilities to negotiate with the refugee category vary significantly within this group of forced migrants. Indeed, categories are not only imposed on people, but are negotiated by the actors themselves in their interactions and within their social and political economies. My article shows how the refugees’ ability or possibility to participate in the co-construction of their category is shaped by both the social and political context in which they are, as well as by wider intersectional and structural dynamics in which their lives are situated, such as socio-economic class, gender and race.