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The future in-between: mobility and the youth imagination in Africa 
Akin Iwilade (University of Edinburgh)
Diekara Oloruntoba-Oju (Harvard University)
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Akin Iwilade (University of Edinburgh)
Anthropology (x) Futures (y)
Philosophikum, S76
Wednesday 31 May, -, -
Time zone: Europe/Berlin

Short Abstract:

We seek papers that investigate how the future is produced and inhabited when youth seek mobility. What systems and logics do they create to make sense of the times before they move? Do they reimagine futures in the context of such liminalities? How do these interact with state discipline?

Long Abstract:

The experiences and trajectories (physical and imaginative) of young Africans have long been entangled in notions of an outward facing, path-dependent future. In this panel, we are interested in papers that address any of three sets of questions. First, is whether the future is fundamentally youthful? What we mean here is to understand the ways the very notion of the future is central to the making of youth(ness) and how the (in)ability to appropriate visions of that future is key to how youth encounter the state. Secondly, we ask how the idea of a future place is produced in the youth imagination. What cues do youth extract meanings of the future from? Who do they listen to? And what does this mean for their mobilities? Finally, we note how the notion of the future is increasingly nested in the desire for outward mobility and yet, for most, the disciplinary systems of global (and local) mobility mean that dreams of that future are suspended, yet profoundly animate. We ask therefore for answers to how young Africans make sense of this liminality, what social systems they create in-between, when they want to, but cannot yet migrate. How are imaginaries of the future sustained in this protracted present? Does the uncertainty of anticipation open space for orientations towards alternative futures? We are particularly interested in papers that combine theoretical and empirical approaches and which draw, in particular, on innovative methodologies and cases to explain what youth do before their future arrives- or not.

Accepted papers:

Session 1 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -
Session 2 Wednesday 31 May, 2023, -