Conceptualising youth mobility trajectories: Thinking beyond conventional categories

Joan van Geel, Valentina Mazzucato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Research has shown that migration impacts youth outcomes, including educational performance and mental and physical health. It is, however, unknown whether differing patterns of mobility affect young people differently. This is because scholarship and policy-making on youth and migration simplify youth mobility by conceptualising youth either as immobile (when they 'stay behind' while their parents migrate) or as moving only once (when they follow parents or migrate independently). Between these extremes is the possibly more common phenomenon of youth who engage in sustained mobility patterns prior to, during, and after their first international move. This paper explores how youth mobility can be conceptualised to include the often-complex mobility patterns exhibited by youth in today's global cities. Through an analysis of detailed mobility data collected using mixed methods among young Ghanaians growing up in and between the Netherlands and Ghana, we propose a typology of their mobility trajectories that highlights the variety of mobility patterns that youth engage in. Such a typology helps move research beyond the ethnic lens and rigid dichotomies between internal and international migration. We argue that the diversity of youth mobilities needs to be taken into account in order to understand how migration affects youth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2144-2162
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Volume44
Issue number13
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Keywords

  • Youth mobility trajectories
  • youth migration
  • transnationalism
  • mobility
  • Ghana
  • INDEPENDENT CHILD MIGRATION
  • TRANSNATIONAL FAMILIES
  • MIGRANT PARENTS
  • SOCIAL-MOBILITY
  • ETHICAL-ISSUES
  • RURAL CHINA
  • 2ND-GENERATION
  • EXPERIENCES
  • MOTHERS
  • GHANA

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