In sub-Saharan Africa forced migration is increasing year by year; repatriation invariably fails as a complete solution to displacement. Post-return negotiation of integration has been shown to be a contested process at both national and local level. Therefore, it is apposite that closer consideration be focused on whether and/or how refugees and returnees inform both actual national policy and practice on the ground and also the debate on territoriality, belonging and the nation. In this paper discussion centres on the role/s of returnees in the shaping of the Eritrean nation and national identity.
This paper sketches certain aspects of academic discussions on identity, belonging, location, space and place and the influence or otherwise of history and memory on national identity, especially as expressed through the metaphors of landscape - landscapes of loss and landscapes of renewal. The role of the State in fashioning identity is considered.
Paper presented at the ASA UK Biennial Conference 11th-13th September 2000 ‘Africa: Past, Present and Future’, 14 pp.