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The good life in rural and urban Senegal: a qualitative and quantitative study

Duboz, P.; Macia, E.; Diallo, A.H.; Cohen, E.; Bergouignan, A.; Seck, S.M.

Plos one 16(5): E0252134

2021


ISSN/ISBN: 1932-6203
PMID: 34043694
Accession: 072713161

Very few studies have analyzed the influence of the environment, rural or urban, on the notion of good life and subjective well-being in sub-Saharan Africa and none, to our knowledge, has combined qualitative and quantitative methodologies for this purpose. The objectives of this interdisciplinary study were: a) to understand the emic representations of the good life in rural and urban Senegal and; b) to compare the levels and determinants of satisfaction with life between these two populations. This study was carried out in Dakar and in a very isolated rural area in the North East of Senegal: the sylvo-pastoral zone of Ferlo. A total of six focus groups were conducted for the qualitative phase, while the quantitative phase was conducted on representative samples of the populations living in Dakar (N = 1000) and Téssékéré (N = 500). Our results indicate that, against all expectations, life satisfaction is better in the Senegalese Ferlo than in the capital, Dakar. This difference may be the joint result of less meaningful social comparisons and a relationship with nature as a source of stress restoration in rural areas. However, the lifeworld of the rural Fulani of the Ferlo is being undermined by global climatic disturbances, which imposes rapid adaptations of pastoralism; otherwise this activity, that is not only subsistence but also identity-based, may disappear.

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