Ageing agents: making a living among older Cameroonians in times of mobility

Nele Wolter

This project seeks to explore the diverse strategies of making a living among older Cameroonians and how such strategies intersect with different forms of mobility and migration. Being regarded as “old” or “aged”, many older people in Cameroon are confronted with various dynamic challenges – such as economic, social, and environmental change, as well as insufficient social policy frameworks – that require them to work in order to sustain themselves or their family network. With an ethnographic approach that aims at elucidating the manifold individual life stories and the agency of older people who are affected in different ways by mobility and migration, I will explore how they experience, arrange and perform their work and their life given to older age. My research questions include: How do older people conceptualize their work in contexts of mobility and migration? How do they realize and organize their work in times of changing mobility models? How do they cope with the requirement of mobility when they become frail? With these questions in mind, I focus on the ‘cap-abilities’ and ‘cop-abilities’ that older Cameroonians draw on, develop or adjust in order to make themselves and their families a living in times of mobility.

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