Articles | Volume 72, issue 1
Geogr. Helv., 72, 145–155, 2017
Geogr. Helv., 72, 145–155, 2017

Standard article 31 Mar 2017

Standard article | 31 Mar 2017

How do places of origin influence access to mobility in the global age? An analysis of the influence of vulnerability and structural constraints on Senegalese translocal livelihood strategies

Irene Schöfberger Irene Schöfberger
  • formerly at: Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg, Freibugr i. Br. 79098, Germany

Abstract. Literature has often underlined the relevance of mobility for modern lifestyles. However, it has frequently overlooked that mobility has long been the rule in Senegal. There, mobility has allowed households to cope with environmental and economic vulnerability. Over the last decades, households have extended their traditional mobility through internal and international migration. This paper investigates how place-related vulnerability and structural constraints influence the way Senegalese households construct translocal spaces and livelihood strategies in the global age. For this purpose, a multi-sited ethnographic study has been conducted at four villages in Senegal and at two immigration destinations in Italy and Spain. The empirical results show that vulnerability and structural constraints in the home place do not prevent households from adopting strategies based on mobility, but rather influence the composition of translocal spaces, the ability to move between places, and the construction of translocal livelihood strategies.

Short summary
Senegalese households have adapted to a resource-poor environment through long-standing mobility-based strategies. Drawing on researches in Senegal, Italy, and Spain, this paper shows that in the global age vulnerability and structural constraints have an increasing impact on such strategies, in particular by influencing households’ access to different migration destinations and their ability to adopt effective translocal livelihood strategies.