This study is about subjectivities of young people and about coming of age in a frontier town, Beitbridge, in southern Zimbabwe. The study is motivated by the growing attention to African youth as a social-demographic group and a social phenomenon since the late 1990s in the context of unprecedented economic dislocation. The latter has seen young people resorting to livelihoods largely seen as illicit, immoral and anti-establishment such as activities in the grey economy and sex work. As young people take matters into their own hands, policy makers have tended to use essentialist arguments according to which young people’s behaviour can be understood as a result of age and hormonal changes. This study uses a constructivist and interpretivist approach in which youth is socially created and the behaviour of young people is understood as embedded on its socio-economic, cultural and political context. These approaches are complementary and allow us to question what is taken for granted such as what is assumed about youth and also account for the dissonance between norms and deeds (Yanow 2006:19, Gergen 2000:50). By studying young people’s subjectivities in growing up, the study sought to capture lived experiences of the young and how economic instability impinges on growing up.

, ,
B.N.F. White (Benjamin)
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)
This dissertation is part of the research programme of CERES, Research School for Resource Studies for Development The research was funded by the Netherlands Fellowship Programme (NFP)
ISS PhD Theses
International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS)

Mate, R. (2014, December 11). Grappling with Emerging Adulthoods. ISS PhD Theses. International Institute of Social Studies of Erasmus University (ISS). Retrieved from http://hdl.handle.net/1765/77533