Imaginaries of opportunity: precarious mobilities in and out of conflict in East and Central Africa

Léonie Newhouse

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In her current work, Léonie takes up the ways in which large-scale humanitarian interventions reshape regional migration patterns, economies, and social relations in urban centers in East Africa. International stabilization efforts, including humanitarian relief and peace-building operations, are accompanied by enormous flows of financial and material resources into struggling economies that have been further eroded by conflict and crisis. While research has shown that complex emergencies bring influxes of skilled professionals and foreign currency to areas in crisis, less is known about the ways in which these efforts restructure imaginaries of risk and opportunity for migrants within the region. Through ethnographic investigation and analysis, Léonie’s work identifies the routes that lead people to set up businesses in cities in crises, as well as the broader networks of migration, mobility, and finance within which they are situated.

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