The educational (im)mobilities and status (il)legalities of Cape Verdean youth in Portugal

Elizabeth Pilar Challinor*, Filipe Martins

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Education has played a fundamental role shaping Cape Verdean mobilities and recent increases in educational opportunities for poorer sections of the youth population have raised expectations for a better life. Through a discussion of how modern-day education has become a project of self-realisation, the article provides a detailed analysis of a regime of mobility that encouraged Cape Verdeans to study in vocational colleges in Portugal. It illustrates how the protocols signed between local councils in Cape Verde and the colleges created a responsibility vacuum that caused students to slip into illegality, perpetuating the inequalities which the pursuit of education is intended to redress. The ways in which Cape Verdean youth responded–navigating constraints to create the image of a successful life in Portugal against all odds–elucidate how the power of the moral expectation to succeed led them to work the system and to turn secondary education into a stepping stone for their mobility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2256-2272
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 3 Oct 2018


  • Employment
  • Legal status
  • Migration
  • Social mobility
  • Vocational education
  • Youth


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