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African FuturesEssays on Crisis, Emergence, and Possibility$
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Brian Goldstone and Juan Obarrio

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226402246

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226402413.001.0001

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Changing Mobilities, Shifting Futures

Changing Mobilities, Shifting Futures

(p.167) Twelve Changing Mobilities, Shifting Futures
African Futures

Peter Geschiere

Antoine Socpa

University of Chicago Press

Despite efforts of colonial governments to fix ‘floating populations,’ mobility remains a marked characteristic of African societies. We want to focus on two recent changes in patterns of mobility in Cameroon, that affect popular imaginings of the future. The first is a certain blockade in the transmigration model between village and city. The ongoing commitment of urban elites to the village of birth seems to run up against increasing resentment of local village leaders. As important is the sudden enthusiasm of younger generations for transnational migration, epitomized by excitement over ‘bush-falling.’ This term, completely new, – ‘bush’ stands surprisingly for the richer parts of the World - emerged only in the late 1990’s to indicate a novel, adventurous form of migration. People are conscious of the risks of such migration. Yet, they want to leave at all costs, often strongly encouraged by their families. Intellectual elites express concern that precisely the more dynamic elements are leaving the country. The question is to what extent this enthusiasm for leaving – which is not only a dream, but created a whole infrastructure of migration agencies – brings a surpassing of Mbembe’s evocative characteristic that for Africa, globalisation meant mostly lécher la vitrine.

Keywords:   Cameroon, migration, mobility, futures, locality

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