Geographies of Laboring and Learning: Introduction

  • Tatek Abebe
  • Johanna Waters
Reference work entry
Part of the Geographies of Children and Young People book series (GCYP, volume 10)


This introductory chapter to the volume “Laboring and Learning” provides an overview of a diverse and fascinating range of contributions made by academics; engaging with some salient themes that inform debates on the area; explaining and justifying the selection of contributors and the division of their chapters into three principal sections. Section 3.1 aims to showcase the breadth and depth of contemporary scholarship in this field, in both theoretical and empirical terms. These papers (compared to the chapters in the volume as a whole) have been chosen for the ways in which they bring to the fore different perspectives on key issues around education and work. Section 3.2 is particularly attentive to the value gained by a geographical sensibility. The papers in this section have a more specific empirical focus, often representing particular spatial contexts, but are also geographically diverse, combining perspectives form the Global South and North. Section 3.3 focuses on livelihoods, transitions, and social reproduction. Here, there is more specific attention paid to the questions of age and inter-generationality. The empirical contexts represented are similarly diverse in their geographic scope. As a whole, the volume presents cutting-edge scholarship wherein both “work” and “education” are expansively defined and discussed, often interlinked and interdependent, and sometimes hard to distinguish in any one particular context. It aims to highlight the rich complexity of the lives of children and young people and to give them a voice in wider intellectual discussions of laboring and learning.


Children Education and work Globalization Informal education Informal economy Labouring and learning Livelihoods Non-formal education Participation Skill acquisition Socialization Social reproduction Underemployment Work and schooling Young people Youth Youth transitions 


  1. Abebe, T., & Bessell, S. (2011). Dominant discourses, debates and silences on child labour in Africa and Asia. Third World Quarterly, 32(4), 765–786.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Abebe, T., & Kjørholt, A. T. (2013). Children, intergenerational relationships and local knowledge in Ethiopia. In T. Abebe & A. T. Kjorholt (Eds.), Childhood and local knowledge in Ethiopia: Livelihoods, rights and intergenerational relationships (pp. 9–42). Oslo: Akademica Press.Google Scholar
  3. Aitken, S. C. (2001). Geographies of young people: The morally contested spaces of identity. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Aitken, S. (2015). Children’s rights: A geographical perspective. In W. Vandenhole, E. Desmet, D. Reynaert, & S. Lambrechts (Eds.), The international handbook of children’s rights: Disciplinary and critical approaches (pp. 131–146). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  5. Akpan, W. (2011). “Local” knowledge, “global” knowledge, “development” knowledge: Finding a new balance in the knowledge power play. South African Review of Sociology, 42(3), 116–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ansell, N. (2004). Secondary education reform in Lesotho and Zimbabwe and the needs of rural girls: Pronouncements, policy and practice. Comparative Education, 38(1), 91–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bakker, I. (2007). Social reproduction and the constitution of a gendered political economy. New Political Economy, 12(4), 541–556.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bass, L. E. (2004). Child labour in Sub-Saharan Africa. Colorado: Lynne Rienner Publishers.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1986). The forms of capital. In J. G. Richardson (Ed.), Handbook of theory and research for the sociology of education (pp. 241–258). New York: Greenwood Press.Google Scholar
  10. Brooks, R., & Waters, J. (Forthcoming). Education, space and place. Routledge. doi:10.1177/0309132516637908Google Scholar
  11. Crivello, G. (2011). Becoming somebody: Youth transitions through education and migration in Peru. Journal of Youth Studies, 14(4), 395–411.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Ennew, J., Abebe, T., Bangyani, R., Karapituck, P., Kjørholt, A. T., & Noonsup, T. (2009). The right to be properly researched: How to do rights-based, scientific research with children. A set of ten manuals for field researchers. Bangkok: Black on White Publications/Norwegian Centre for Child Research and World Vision International.Google Scholar
  13. Findlay, A., King, R., Smith, F., Geddes, A., & Skelon, R. (2012). World class? An investigation of globalisation, difference and international student mobility. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 37(1), 118–131.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Foucault, M. (1977). Discipline and punish: The Birth of the Prison. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  15. Goldsmith, E., Khor, M., & Shiva, V. (1995). The future of progress – Reflections on environment and development. Dartington: Green books.Google Scholar
  16. Gough, K. V., Langevang, T., & Owusu, G. (2013). Youth employment in a globalizing world. International Development Planning Review, 35(2), 91–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Huijsmans, R., George, S., Gigengack, R., & Evers, S. (2014). Theorising age and generation in development: A relational approach. European Journal of Development Research, 26, 163–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Jeffrey, C., Jeffery, P., & Jeffery, R. (2008). Degrees without freedom? Education, masculinities and unemployment in north India. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Jeffrey, C. (2009). Fixing futures: Educated unemployment through a North Indian lens. Comparative Studies in Society and History, 51, 182–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Kabeer, N., Nambissan, G., & Subrahmanian, R. (Eds.). (2003). Child labour and the right to education in south Asia. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  21. Kassa, S., & Abebe, T. (2016). Qenja: Child fostering and relocation practices in Amhara region, Ethiopia. Children's Geographies, 14(1), 46–62.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Katz, C. (2004). Growing up global: Economic restructuring and children’s everyday lives. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota.Google Scholar
  23. Katz, C. (2008) Childhood as spectacle: relays of anxiety and the reconfiguration of the child Cultural Geographies 15(1): 5–12.Google Scholar
  24. Kielland, A., & Tovo, M. (2006). Children at work: Child labor practices in Africa. Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers Inc.Google Scholar
  25. Kraftl, P. (2013). Towards geographies of “alternative” education: A case study of UK home schooling families. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 38, 436–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kraftl, P. (2015). Alter-childhoods: Biopolitics and childhoods in alternative education spaces. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 105(1), 219–237.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Lancy, F. D. (2012). The Chore Curriculum. In G. Spittler & M. Bourdillion (Eds.), African children at work: Working and learning in growing up for life (pp. 23–57). Berlin: Lit Verlag.Google Scholar
  28. Lewis, V., Kellett, M., Robinson, C., Fraser, S., & Ding, S. (2004). The reality of research with children and young people. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  29. Liebel, M. (2013). Do children have a right to work? Working children’s movements and the struggle for social justice. In K. Hanson & O. Nieuwenhuys (Eds.), Reconceptualizing children’s rights in international development: Living rights, social justice, translations (pp. 225–249). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Mains, D. (2011). Hope is cut: Youth, unemployment, and the future in urban Ethiopia. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Mitchell, K. (2003). Educating the national citizen in neoliberal times: From the multicultural self to the strategic cosmopolitan. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 28, 387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Nieuwenhuys, O. (1994). Children’s life worlds: Gender, welfare and labour in the developing world. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  33. Nieuwenhuys, O. (2007). Embedding the global womb: Child labour and the new policy agenda. Children’s Geographies, 5(1–2), 149–164.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Paradise, R., & Rogoff, B. (2009). Side by side: Learning by observing and pitching. Ethos, 37, 102–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Pykett, J. (2009). Making citizens in the classroom. An Urban geography of citizenship education. Urban Studies, 46(4), 803–823.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Rakodi, C. (2002). A livelihoods approach-conceptual issues and definitions. In Rakodi, C. Lloyd-Jones, T. (eds.) Urban livelihoods: A people-centered approach to reducing poverty (pp. 3–22). London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  37. Reynolds, P. (1991). Dance civet cat: Child labour in the Zambezi Valley. London: ZED books.Google Scholar
  38. Serpell, R. (1993). The significance of schooling. Life journeys in an African society. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  39. Sommers, M. (2010). Urban youth in Africa. Environment and Urbanization, 22(2), 317–332.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Spittler, G., & Bourdillon, M. (Eds.). (2012). African children at work: Working and learning in growing up for life. Berlin: Lit Verlag, 360 pp.Google Scholar
  41. Stambach, A. (2000). Lessons from Mount Kilimanjaro: Schooling, community and gender in East Africa. New York/London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  42. Wacquant, L. (1995). Pugs at work: Bodily capital and bodily labour among professional boxers. Body and Society, 1(1), 65–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wainwright, E., & Marandet, E. (2013). Family learning and the socio-spatial practice of “supportive” power. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 34(4), 504–524.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Waters, J. L. (2006). Geographies of cultural capital: Education, international migration and family strategies between Hong Kong and Canada. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 31(2), 179–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Waters, J. L. (2017). Education unbound? Enlivening debates with a mobilities perspective on learning. Progress in Human Geography. Abingdon, Oxon.Google Scholar
  46. Wells, K. (2009). Childhood in a global perspective. London: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  47. Willis, P. (1977). Learning to labour. Farnborough: Saxon House.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Education and Lifelong LearningNorwegian University of Sciences and TechnologyTrondheimNorway
  2. 2.Department for Continuing Education and School of Geography and the EnvironmentUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

Personalised recommendations