Moving young lives: mobility, immobility and inter-generational tensions in urban Africa


This paper explores young people’s experiences and perceptions of mobility and mobility constraints in poorer urban areas of Ghana, Malawi and South Africa within the specific context of inter-generational relations. Drawing principally on qualitative research findings from a study involving both adult and child researchers, our aim is to chart the diversities and commonalities of urban young people’s mobility experiences in the everyday – how they use and experience the city – developing a comparative perspective across three urban study sites which links young people’s mobility with the power relations that operate to shape their movements in individual locations. In particular, we consider how positive and negative images of young people’s mobility play out in terms of the inter-generational frictions and negotiations generated by their mobility performances. We also reflect on the developmental implications, in terms of young people’s access to services and income and their participation in the social networks and peer culture which may shape their life trajectories. Three themes are explored in detail: mobility as challenge, mobility as temptation and mobility control.

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Publication Type Paper
Publisher Geoforum. Volume 41, Issue 5, September 2010, Pages 796–804
Year 2010
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