30/05/2022 – PhD defence of Sarah Anschütz on the impact of mobility on the lives of transnational migrant youth

On Monday 30 May 2022 at 13:00, Sarah Anschütz will defend her PhD dissertation “Young lives on the move: The mobility trajectories and transnational affective engagements of Ghanaian-background youth living in Belgium” in the Aula of Maastricht University at Minderbroedersberg 4-6. You are cordially invited to attend the defence online or in person.

Sarah’s PhD is part of the international ERC-funded research project ‘MO-TRAYL: Life chances of transnational youths in the Global South and North’ (2017-2022), led by Prof. Valentina Mazzucato. More information on the project, including publications of our results thus far, can be found here.

Sarah’s supervisors are Prof. Valentina Mazzucato and Prof. Noel Clycq.

The PhD research was carried out as a joint project with Maastricht University and the University of Antwerp.


One in five young people across the European Union has a migration background, meaning that either they or their parents were born abroad. Many of these young people engage in visits to the country of origin on a regular basis and/or have been mobile before they migrated to Europe. Even though there is much research on the impact of migration on young people, their actual mobility is hardly investigated. Against this backdrop, this dissertation investigates how the physical mobility to and within Ghana shapes the lives of Ghanaian-background youth living in Belgium. It does so by examining their ‘mobility trajectories’, that is, not only the migration move but all geographical moves young people undertake over time and across geographically distinct localities, the concomitant family constellations these moves entail, and the emotional and embodied experiences young people have during mobility. Multi-sited ethnographic research in Belgium and Ghana with 25 young people of Ghanaian-background reveals how youth create and maintain affective engagements with people and places in the country of origin through their own mobility and digital media use, and how these connections in turn shape experiences with family reunification, personal growth, and their relationship with the country of origin. By including both the country of origin and residence, and by analyzing mobility over the life course and in real time, this dissertation gives insights into how young people give meaning to their transnational lives and mobility experiences, and ultimately provides a deeper understanding of the temporalities, emotionalities and impacts of youth mobility.