GeoJournal

, Volume 62, Issue 1, pp 163–179

Vulnerability, Partnerships and the Pursuit of Survival: Urban Livelihoods and Apprenticeship Contracts in a West African City

Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10708-005-7915-1

Cite this article as:
Hanson, K. GeoJournal (2005) 62: 163. doi:10.1007/s10708-005-7915-1

Abstract

This paper analyses local level apprenticeship contracts and networks to highlight informal urban livelihoods within the context of socio-economic vulnerability and wider contemporary changes taking place in Koforidua, Ghana. It does so by specifically examining the complex entanglements of interpersonal relationships that characterize apprenticeship contracts within which home-based entrepreneurs and artisans in Koforidua engage in to sustain both current livelihoods, as well as to shore themselves against socio-economic vulnerability triggered in part by adjustment. As a result of the changing geography of the city, network entanglements, comprising resilient ties and egalitarian relations, have become vital to urban livelihoods in this community. However, apprenticeship contracts and the networks they engender can be a double-edged sword. For instance, demands of reciprocity or support from co-network members, neighbours and family, can be so taxing that some individuals opt out of the network. This tension notwithstanding, this paper contends that apprenticeship contracts and the network spaces they create have created a new social cohesion and community that transcend the traditionally known spaces of social support, i.e. ethnic ties, family ties or even institutional support.

Keywords

apprenticeship contracts Ghana micro-enterprises social networks socio-economic vulnerability urban livelihoods 

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Geology and GeographyWest Virginia UniversityMorgantownUSA