Forced migration, Refugees, Afghanistan, State building


The state-centric theory of forced migration presents the nation-state as the ultimate sanctuary of citizen rights. It posits that forced migration results from state instability, which is caused by geopolitical or national identity conflict. In either case, it contends that the sources of forced migration are exogenous to the state. This paper argues that under certain conditions the state becomes an endogenous cause of refugees and internally displaced persons. These conditions occur when the state deploys violence to dominate society. Using the case of Afghanistan, we document that since 1973 a series of Socialist, Islamist, and Capitalist regimes have engaged in violent development: coercive material modernization and social modernity which led to societal resistance followed by state repression and forced migration. This recurring pattern calls into question the state as protector of citizens and instead suggests that the state causes forced migration under conditions of state-society incompatibility.