Negotiating the Livelihoods of Children and Youth in Africa's Urban Spaces
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Negotiating the Livelihoods of Children and Youth in Africa's Urban Spaces

Edited by Michael Bourdillon

This book deals with problems facing children and youth in African cities today. African populations have high growth rates and, consequently, relatively high proportions of young people. Population growth in rural areas has stretched resources leading to urban migration and a rapid growth of cities. Economies have not grown apace with the population; and in some countries, economies have even shrunk. The result is a severe lack of resources in cities to meet the needs of the growing populations, shown in high unemployment, inadequate housing, poor services, and often extreme poverty. All the essays in this book draw attention to such urban environments, in which children and youth have to live and survive.

The title of this book speaks of negotiating livelihoods. The concept of ‘livelihood’ has been adopted to incorporate the social and physical environment together with people’s responses to it. It considers not only material, but also human and social resources, including local knowledge and understanding. It, thus, considers the material means for living in a broader context of social and cultural interpretation. It, therefore, does not deal only with material and economic existence, but also with leisure activities, entertainments and other social forms of life developed by young people in response to the dictates of the environment.

The book contains country-specific case studies of the problems faced by youths in many African cities, how they develop means to solve them, and the various creative ways through which they improve their status, both economically and socially, in the different urban spaces. It recognizes the potentials of young people in taking control of their lives within the constraints imposed upon them by the society. This book is a valuable contribution to the field of child and youth development, and a useful tool for parents, teachers, academics, researchers as well as government and non-government development agencies.

ISBN 9782869785045 | 254 pages | 234 x 156 mm | 2012 | CODESRIA, Senegal | Paperback

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About the Editor

Michael Bourdillon

Michael Bourdillon is a Professor of the Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe. He is directly involved in organisations dedicated to helping street children, and has written widely on sociology topics such as working children and rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe. Michael Bourdillon is a Professor of the Department of Sociology, University of Zimbabwe. He is directly involved in organisations dedicated to helping street children, and has written widely on sociology topics such as working children and rural livelihoods in Zimbabwe.

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