Regulation of Law & Policy

Regulation of Law and Policy

This initiative seeks to understand the de facto regulation of territory and people in spaces characterised by on-going mobility and heightening socio-economic heterogeneity. Drawing from international relations, public administration and law & society, it both documents the social and legal frameworks governing movement and migrants’ activities while questioning their practical outcomes and relative significance.  It works from the perspectives that while the most important regulations may be linked to formal structures – laws, by-laws, and official regulation – across much of Africa regulation comes via radically decentred institutional systems of power and authority.  The objective of research undertaken under this initiative is largely non-normative: to neither condemn nor condone. Nor is it to guide immediate policy interventions. The emphasis instead is on understanding the nature of these complex, potentially dynamic regulatory regimes and to reveal the mechanisms through which they are forged and legitimized within or beyond the law. In doing so, projects document and theorise potentially competing systems of legitimacy, rights, and political authority. Through its focus on systems regulating access to space (e.g., land ownership, housing, business locations) and mobility (e.g., transport, rights to settle, ability to trade and engage elsewhere), work under this theme will begin to reveal the contours, components and potential consequences of individual and collective poverty reduction strategies as well as speaking to a broader literature on territoriality, the regulation of urban space, the meaning of law, and the meaning and practice of diversity in contemporary Africa.

Programmes of work under this theme include the Migrating out of Poverty consortium. Migrating out of Poverty was a seven-year research programme consortium (RPC) funded by the UK’s Department for International Development. It focused on the relationship between internal and regional migration and poverty and is located in six regions across Asia, Africa and Europe. The goal of the Migrating out of Poverty RPC was to maximise the poverty reducing and developmental impacts of migration and minimise the costs and risks of migration for the poor. This included generating new knowledge related to migration and poverty; creating new datasets; engaging policymakers, and building capacity to understand and research migration and poverty linkages.