Panel 21

Conceptualizing Youth Mobilities

Panel organisers: Kajsa Hallberg Adu, Ashesi University College, Ghana and Michael Boampong, Birkbeck, University of London.


This panel aims to advance conceptual understanding of African youth’s mobilities and what shapes their mobilities and the outcomes of mobilities for young people. Recent empirical research in Africa has reported of intra-migration dynamics amid restrictions on how people move freely within the continent and across to other continents. Meanwhile, young people continue to face political-economic constraints as well as growing expectations on what it means to be a young person who transitions successfully into adulthood. Mobilities play a key role in shaping young people’s access to opportunities e.g. jobs and education, however both student and youth mobilities are underresearched.

For this panel we will discuss young people’s mobilities from different disciplinary perspectives that lend insights for theorisation. The session will bring together new empirical and conceptual papers on the following thematic issues:

First, we invite submissions of research papers – including qualitative, quantitative and multi-methods projects - evidencing experiences of young people’s mobilities in relation to changing political, social and economic factors. We will be interested in sharing insights from geographically-differentiated case studies as well as the intersections between local/international, identity/family conditions, transnational/neoliberal regimes as well as wider spatial/social inequalities.

Second, we invite papers which provide new conceptual and methodological reflections. We particularly seek papers with innovative ways of theorizing and researching mobilities as well as conversations on the constraints or opportunities of certain methods or approaches across different contexts.

The role of young people in Africa cannot be underestimated as it is the most youthful continent. However, what is the role of youth in African mobilities? This panel discusses a wide variety of youth mobility experiences with a focus on concepts and theorization.

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