West African positionalities. How Gambians actively and creatively navigate their lives and create opportunities in the globalized world

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Nowadays there can be found opposing understandings of the impact of globalization on ‘localities’ in the developing world. On the one hand, the understanding that the ‘global’ would overpower the ‘local’, leaving the local merely powerless. On the other hand, there can be found a more optimistic view that believes that localities are ‘agents’ in globalization as they interact with the global and are able to create conditions for resistance. Especially, for many the hegemonic narrative of Africa as a homogenous, and disconnected continent is in their opinion the current state of affairs. To move beyond this narrative, this research ‘puts bottom-up processes of West African livelihoods within a broader framework that is sensitive to the position of West Africans in processes of globalization’. By adopting this theoretical lens, this thesis shows how Gambians – in both urban and rural areas – are ‘agents’ in this global era, as they are able to actively and creatively navigate their lives in the globalizing world. In doing so, also the processes that oppose and impede, as well as the encounters that may have extensive effects regarding the creations of new directions in their lives will become clear.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen