Young lives on the move: The mobility trajectories and transnational affective engagements of Ghanaian background youth living in Belgium

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMixed; collaboration

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One in five young people across the European Union has a migration background, meaning that either they or their parents were born abroad. Many of these young people engage in visits to the country of origin on a regular basis and/or have been mobile before they migrated to Europe. Even though there is much research on the impact of migration on young people, their actual mobility has hardly been investigated. This dissertation investigates how the physical mobility to and within Ghana shapes the lives of Ghanaian-background youth living in Belgium. It does so by examining their ‘mobility trajectories’, that is, not only the migration move but all movements young people undertake over time and across geographically distinct localities, the concomitant family constellations these moves entail, and what happens during mobility. Ethnographic research in Belgium and Ghana with 25 young people of Ghanaian-background reveals how youth use their own mobility and digital media to create and maintain effective engagements, meaning the connections with people and places in the country of origin. These connections in turn shape experiences with family reunification and separation, personal growth and future pathways, and their relationship with the country of origin.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Maastricht University
  • University of Antwerp
  • Mazzucato, Valentina, Supervisor
  • Clycq, Noel, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date30 May 2022
Place of PublicationMaastricht
Print ISBNs9789464238327
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Transnational migration
  • migration
  • mobility
  • transnational youth mobility
  • affect
  • transnational engagements
  • youth-centric
  • transnational families
  • Ghana
  • Belgium
  • ethnography
  • multi-sited
  • youth mobility trajectories
  • homeland visits
  • migrant youth

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