The panel explores through ethnographic field studies the life of youth in African cities, the realization of their plan for the future, the transformation of their skills in different social and geographical contexts and how their experiences and world views relate to mobility and cosmopolitanism.
Most of the fast-growing cities in sub-Saharan Africa are inhabited by migrants, who often have been born somewhere else or live there only for a few generations. The percentage of youth among them is high. Youth in particular have to face the question of how to make their future. Many of their inhabitants imagine the city as a springboard for further ventures in the country or abroad. People come and go and this makes cities a melting pot of diverse experiences and skills. This workshop intends to explore ways by which youth make a living in cities, what they consume and how they organize their lives. It is interested in knowing more about how the skills that youth have acquired in one place are transformed in a new place and find their way into different social contexts in Africa and beyond; in which way their experiences and hopes for the future take shape in their imaginaries; what ideas, skills, and objects the youth bring from rural areas or other places to the cities and vice versa; and in which way their experiences relate to cosmopolitanism. We invite contributions that discuss answers to these questions and illustrate them with dense ethnographic field studies that might help to dissolve the boundaries between city and countryside, between home and foreign country and between mobility and immobility.