Library Header Image
LSE Research Online LSE Library Services

‘We are labeled as gang members, even though we are not’: belonging, aspirations and social mobility in Cartagena

Marzi, Sonja ORCID: 0000-0001-5338-6945 (2018) ‘We are labeled as gang members, even though we are not’: belonging, aspirations and social mobility in Cartagena. Development Studies Research, 5 (1). pp. 15-25. ISSN 2166-5095

[img] Text (We are labeled as gang members even though we are not belonging aspirations and social mobility in Cartagena) - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)

Identification Number: 10.1080/21665095.2018.1466720


This paper explores how belonging and aspirations interact to shape marginalized young Colombians’ strategies for upward social mobility. Recent literature has argued that in the context of inequality and poverty, social mobility is constrained by people’s inability to aspire to and/or achieve their aspirations. The majority of this literature is from the economics field and looks at the way poverty acts as a brake on social mobility. This paper provides an additional interdisciplinary analysis of the role of ‘belonging’ (to places and social class) in influencing aspirations of young Colombians. Findings are based on ethnographic fieldwork with young people from two marginalized neighborhoods in Cartagena. It is argued that aspirations are closely linked to belonging and the extent to which young people feel integral to or distanced from their localities. Using a Bourdieusian perspective, the paper examines how belonging is developed and how it influences behavior, orientations and future prospects. This approach generates insights into young people’s apparent low aspirations beyond the explanation of internal behavioral poverty traps. In so doing, it provides a more comprehensive understanding of how societal structures limit aspiration development and achievement.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 The Author(s)
Divisions: Methodology
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 16:12
Last Modified: 16 May 2024 02:58

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics