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Youth transitions and migration: negotiated and constrained interdependencies within and across generations

By Samantha Punch


This paper, based on a longitudinal and multi-sited ethnographic study, explores the intersection between youth transitions, migration and relationships. It considers the complex ways in which rural Bolivian young people move back and forth between work and education, between home and migrant destinations as they strive to form their own household and develop new relationships, whilst continuing to maintain interdependent relations with their parents and siblings. It presents three life stories which outline the key role of relationships in shaping youth transitions and migrant trajectories. Whilst the three pathways are different, they also encompass some similar features: the complexity of deciding between school or work, the key role of migration, the importance of social networks and old/new relationships, and the impact of birth-ordered and gendered household relations. In particular the paper argues that the concept of negotiated and constrained interdependencies is a useful way of understanding the flexible and opportunistic yet limited nature of youth transitions in a context of migration. The paper is based on fieldwork which involved tracking down 14 of the 18 households who had been involved in my doctoral research over 10 years ago, and of these 14 households one or both parents and two or three of the siblings were interviewed

Topics: youth transitions, migration, interdependencies, Bolivia, work, education
Publisher: 'Informa UK Limited'
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.1080/13676261.2014.944118
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