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Looking for the one(s): young love and urban poverty in The Gambia

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This paper explores the strategic use of sexual relationships in bolstering the economic well-being of young low-income women and men in The Gambia, West Africa. While other studies of sexuality in sub-Saharan Africa and beyond have demonstrated the importance of intimate (and often cross-generational) relationships for young women as a means of accessing resources, less is known in this regard about their male counterparts. This study points to the increasingly prominent place of cross-generational relationships, related to international tourism, in the livelihood strategies of young men struggling for employment in a constrained labour market. For poor young Gambian women and men, resource scarcity seems to be associated with a prioritization of the instrumental and material over the affective or recreational value of sexual partnerships, often resulting in multiple, concurrent relations. However, manifold considerations come into play in the relationship decisions of young women and men, indicating the importance of close attention to social and cultural as well as economic factors.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/29963/

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