Hosting States and Unsettled Guests

Eritrean Refugees in a Time of Migration Deterrence

by Jennifer RigganAmanda Poole

As wealthy countries build walls to keep migrants out, countries in the Global South are celebrated for their hospitality towards refugees. Hosting States and Unsettled Guests asks the question: did these policies enable refugees to consider their new country home?

Beginning in 2016, Ethiopia promoted local integration, economic opportunities, and access to education for refugees in order to encourage them to stay long-term rather than migrate towards Europe. But by 2020 a political overhaul and the outbreak of war in Northern Ethiopia foreclosed these opportunities, particularly for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia. How did Eritrean refugees envision their future in light of the discrepancy between promising policies and ongoing instability?

Using ethnographic interviews and participant observation with government officials, NGOs, and refugees in three camps in northern Ethiopia and Addis Ababa, Jennifer Riggan and Amanda Poole explore refugee notions of progress, care, hope, and futurity. Caught at the intersection of teleological violence and temporal agency, refugees endure the present and tenaciously produce a sense of the future even when their efforts to progress are repeatedly challenged.

An important read, Hosting States and Unsettled Guests makes key empirical and theoretical contributions in forced migration studies, East African studies, anthropology and international education. Riggan and Poole deftly shift the focus of refugee studies away from Europe to regions in the Global South to understand the violence of emerging forms of migration deterrence.


  • isbn
  • publisher
    Indiana University Press
  • publisher place
    Bloomington, Indiana USA
  • rights
    CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0
  • rights holder
    Indiana University Press
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