Fluid Mobilities? Experiencing and Responding to Othering in a Borderless West Africa

  • Akosua Darkwah University of Ghana
Keywords: Othering; Migration; Agency; Free Movement


This paper seeks to interrogate the processes of othering that takes place in Ghana, a country with a long history of migrants from the region now known as Nigeria. The paper draws on Spivak's (1985) concept of othering and explores both the ways in which Ghanaians othering of Nigerians is made manifest as well as the ways in which Nigerians respond to these processes of othering. Ultimately, I argue that until both Ghanaians and Nigerians recognize othering as a problem worthy of redress, the full import of the ECOWAS Protocol on Free Movement of Persons will be lost on these two groups of West African citizens. For, while people can and do move across the 16 borders of West Africa, they do not necessarily move freely. Migrants are often reminded of their status as the other even in a country where our founding father sought to establish a strong sense of Pan African unity.

Author Biography

Akosua Darkwah, University of Ghana

Prof. Darkwah is Associate Professor of Sociology and current Head of Department of Sociology at the University of Ghana where she has taught for the last 17 years. She holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research focuses primarily on the ways in which global economic policies and practices reconfigure women's work in the Ghanaian context. A second line of research she has undertaken over the last five years as part of the Migrating out of poverty research Consortium explores the gendered ways in which households are reconfigured as a result of migration. Her work has been published in peer reviewed
journals such as Ghana Studies, Women's Studies International Forum and the International Development Planning Review. She serves as a committee member on the British International Studies Association's Political Economy prize and has recently joined the US based African Studies Review's editorial board.