Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Precarious Urbanism: Displacement, Belonging and the Reconstruction of Somali Cities

Bakonyi, Jutta; Chonka, Peter


Peter Chonka


This book explores relationships between war, displacement, and city-making. Focusing on people seeking refuge in Somali cities after being forced to migrate by violence, environmental shocks or economic pressures, it highlights how in-migrants are actively transforming urban space. Using first-hand testimonies and participatory photography, the book documents and analyses the micro-politics of urban camp management and infrastructure, evictions and nascent gentrification, and the networked labour of displaced populations that underpins growing urban economies. Central throughout is an emphasis on the political economy in which urbanisation processes at the global margins are embedded. The book sheds light on this through analysis of the emergence of different forms of rentierism or the commercialisation of services – all of which are contributing to the further financialisation of poverty. Critical analysis is also provided of how the discursive figure of the ‘internally displaced person’ is co-produced by various actors, including those involved in international interventions that problematise and attempt to find provide ‘durable solutions’ for displacement. The book argues that the ‘IDP’ label exerts significant power in structuring socio-economic inequalities and the politics of group belonging within different Somali cities connected through protracted histories of conflict-related migration.


Bakonyi, J., & Chonka, P. (2023). Precarious Urbanism: Displacement, Belonging and the Reconstruction of Somali Cities. Policy Press.

Book Type Authored Book
Acceptance Date Apr 1, 2022
Online Publication Date Jan 10, 2023
Publication Date Jan 10, 2023
Deposit Date May 25, 2022
Publisher Policy Press
Series Title Spaces of Peace, Security and Development
ISBN 9781529215229
Keywords Precarity, Migration, Displacement, Infrastructure, Political Economy, Camps, Somalia, Somaliland
Public URL