Riding the Narrow Tracks of Moral Life: Commercial Motorbike Riders in Makeni, Sierra Leone

  • Buerge M
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Abstract

Contrary to the postwar paradigm of demobilization and reintegration of ex-combatants and ideals of coming-of-age under elders' guidance, some Sierra Leonean ex-combatants and other young men took another way: by remobilizing and providing transportation on motorbikes, they nowadays enhance the physical and social mobility of others and themselves. Depicted nevertheless as transgressing local morals, they try to find ways to conjoin the expectations of others with their own aspirations. Oscillating between avoidance and compliance with claimed norms, negotiating and extending them, they fill ruptures and gaps within society while they broaden and open fissures further. This article is about those men's ethical mobility and the obstacles to it: congestion, denied mobility, and difficulties of avoiding potholes and not losing the right track while navigating a constantly transforming social landscape.

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Authors

  • Michael Buerge

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