Expanding the scales and domains of (in)security: youth employment in urban Zambia

Most research on issues of (in)security has tended to have a military/safety angle and focus on global/national scales linked to spectacular events. This paper addresses the overlooked insecurity realities of urban dwellers in the global South through a focus on more persistent and enduring forms of employment insecurities among young people. Building on both quantitative and qualitative data collected in a low-income settlement in Lusaka, Zambia, we explore how young people perceive their employment situation and examine the practices they engage in when seeking ways of making a living. Through analysing their views and experiences we show how employment insecurity is influenced by processes operating at the body, local, national and global scales, and how employment insecurity is closely interconnected with insecurity in other domains of young people's lives including the household, housing and education. Although the youth unemployment situation is often viewed as a serious threat to human security, we show how the lack of stable employment in itself is a manifestation of insecurity.