Reflections on Migration Dynamics in Northern Ghana from the 'Crossroads Perspective'

Crossroads Asia Lecture by Stephen Adaawen @ZEF in Bonn

Date: 24.02.2016
Venue: Center for Development Research (ZEF) Bonn
Time: 11 am


Abstract of the lecture:

Mobility patterns within the context of Northern Ghana have been characterised by the persistent flows of people, goods, symbols and ideas between the northern and southern part of the country. Different explanations have been advanced in the quest to provide a comprehensive understanding to the observed mobility patterns. Drawing on aspects of the author’s PhD research and the ‘Crossroads Asia Perspective’ as a conceptual guide, the study delves further into issues of mobility within the context of Northern Ghana.

The study highlights the complex interactions and interdependencies of the different actors, and migration dynamics that shape multiple spatialities in the area. Whereas recent studies point to an increasing shift towards higher educational attainment as a means to social mobility, it is shown that migration still provides young people some leverage for negotiating power hegemonies and the associated discrimination within the family and societal set up. In addition to reflections on issues of ‘positionality’ during the research process, the study argues that the figurative construction of space and social reality are relevant to the critical understanding of mobility patterns and ongoing transformation processes within the context of Northern Ghana. Despite the challenges related to comparative studies, the study recognises that the use of ‘Crossroads Asia Perspective’ as a conceptual guide has facilitated the holistic analysis of the relationality and interdependencies of the various actors that interact to shape mobilities and social transformation in Northern Ghana, and as such its promise as an effective conceptual approach in ‘post-area studies’.

Key Words: Northern Ghana, Crossroads Asia Perspective, Mobilities,  ‘Positionality’

Stephen Adaawen is a former Junior Researcher at the ZEF. Currently, he is an independent researcher with a focus on migration, mobility, environmental change and rural livelihoods.