Youth on the Move

Views from Below on Ethiopian International Migration

Edited by Part of the African Arguments series
August 2021 9781787385702 304pp
Available as an eBook
EU Customers


At a time when policies are increasingly against it, international migration has become the subject of great public and academic attention. This book departs from the dominant approach of studying international migration at macro level, and from the perspective of destination countries. The contributors here seek to do more than ‘scratch the surface’ of the migration process, by foregrounding the voices and views of Ethiopian youth–potential migrants and returnees–and of their sending communities.

The volume focuses on the perspective and agency of these young people, both potential migrants and returnees, to better understand migration decision-making, experiences and outcomes. It brings together rarely documented cases of young men and women from several communities across Ethiopia, migrating to the Gulf and South Africa. Explaining the agency of local actors–prospective migrants, brokers and sending families–Youth on the Move illuminates the pervasive, persistent failure of state attempts to regulate migration. Moreover, it examines the financing of migration and the sharing of remittances, within a culturally situated moral economy. While accounts centred on economics and political violence are important, the contributors demonstrate compellingly that these factors alone cannot provide a full understanding of migration’s complexity, nor of its social realities.




‘A tour de force from some of the most important scholars working in and on the Horn of Africa today. Clearly written and drawing from a wide range of original empirical data, this is a key contribution to the literatures of migration, displacement, youth and development.’ — Laura Hammond, Professor of Development Studies, SOAS University of London, and author of This Place Will Become Home: Refugee Repatriation to Ethiopia

Youth on the Move greatly advances the frontiers of scholarship on migration studies. Going beyond the dominant discourse of push-pull factors, it adopts a nuanced migratory agency lens. Focussing on Ethiopian migration to the Gulf and South Africa, this volume fills an important knowledge gap on south-south migration.’ — Dereje Feyissa, Associate Professor, Addis Ababa University, and Co-Investigator for the Ethiopia–South Africa Migration Corridor, MIDEQ Research Hub

‘This compelling book offers a rare window into the social realities behind irregular migration, showing in vivid case studies how migrants, families, and brokers assemble and reassemble the migratory process from below in ways that policymakers ignore at their peril.’ — Ruben Andersson, Professor of Social Anthropology, University of Oxford, and author of Illegality, Inc.: Clandestine migration and the business of bordering Europe

‘Youth on the Move is an extremely timely intervention into scholarly discussions of youth and migration. The volume draws together nuanced case studies from Ethiopia to demonstrate young people’s agency in using social networks to facilitate international migration.’ — Daniel Mains, Associate Professor of Anthropology and African Studies, The University of Oklahoma, and author of Hope is Cut: Youth, Unemployment, and the Future in Urban Ethiopia


Asnake Kefale, Associate Professor of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa University, has published extensively on federalism, comparative politics, conflict and migration.    

Fana Gebresenbet, Assistant Professor at Addis Ababa University's Institute for Peace and Security Studies, has published on migration, state-society relations and the politics of development.    

Request an academic inspection copy Request a press review copy
Inspection Copy Request
Review Copy Request
Join our mailing list

Subscribers receive exclusive discounts and early access to new books from Hurst.