Imagining a future in ‘bush’: migration aspirations at times of crisis in Anglophone Cameroon

Imagining a future in ‘bush’: migration aspirations at times of crisis in Anglophone Cameroon

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This article addresses the migration aspirations of young, lower middle-class Cameroonians living in Anglophone Cameroon. Deportations and prevention campaigns portray the negatives of migration, yet often have little impact because they assume that migrants’ aspirations are grounded in the prior success of other migrants. This research takes its lead from the question: Why aren’t aspiring migrants in Cameroon discouraged by migration failure? It is based on an ethnographic fieldwork conducted between September 2007 and January 2009 in Buea (South West Cameroon). Since the late 1990s, the desire for a future ‘away from home’ has come to be expressed in Anglophone Cameroon by aspirations of going to ‘bush’. Taking seriously people’s conceptions of success and failure in places of departure, the article argues that locally voiced claims of ‘global belonging’ exert an important influence on migration aspirations. An understanding of deeply rooted migration desires must include an analysis of identity politics.

 

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  • Alpes, Maybritt Jill. "Imagining a future in ‘bush’: migration aspirations at times of crisis in Anglophone Cameroon". Identities, vol.21, no 3 (2014), p.259-274.