Livelihoods in motion: linking transport, mobility and income-generating activities

During the past decade, there has been an increased focus on mobility in the social sciences linked to the so-called ‘mobility turn’, which claims that as mobility is so pervasive it should not be viewed as a rupture in society but as a normal way of life. This is certainly the case in urban contexts of sub-Saharan Africa where mobility forms an integral part of livelihood and income-generating activities. Drawing on in-depth qualitative research conducted in Accra, the capital of Ghana, this paper explores the mobility of urban residents in differing parts of the city in relation to their livelihood strategies. Through illustrating the ways in which the mobility of urban residents is aided or hindered by Accra’s transport system, and by examining how this in turn influences their livelihood strategies, the paper contributes to an alternative new mobilities paradigm that is more considerate of, and builds upon insights from, the global South where such research has a longer pedigree than in the global North.