In Sierra Leone, youth constitute the majority of the population and are often perceived as key agents for the country’s social, political, economic and cultural transformations. Nevertheless, young people’s participation in the postcolonial pyramidal hierarchy has always been limited to marginal levels, in times of both peace and war. Increasingly, recent research has focused on youth agency and on how young people have been shaping their own life patterns and experiences according to agentive possibilities for self-creation. This doctoral thesis builds upon an historical and ambiguous dilemma involving the youth: Are they a force to create or a force to destroy? To understand the power of youth and to examine their role as active and conscious agents within the Sierra Leonean social, political, cultural and economic processes, I argue we can observe a three-phase alteration on youth agency and their subsequent responses to unfreedoms: first, the development of a rebellious youth culture (1961-1991); second, the making of a social rebellion and war (1991-2001); and third, the reinvention of a rebellious youth culture (2001-2011). This thesis takes as its point-of-departure the above-mentioned dilemma, focusing on the creative power of youth and the impact of different discursive possibilities upon their actions. The dissertation looks at the formation of the state in Sierra Leone and concentrates on its gradual collapse, suggesting that the failure of the state to provide for the elementary needs of the people led to the development of a rebellious youth culture. It also looks at the participation of the youth in the conflict, analyzing the social composition of fighting forces and the extent to which the war was a youth collective project. The dissertation then examines the impact of the Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration (DDR) programme on young former combatants’s livelihoods and social acceptance. Lastly, drawing upon an analysis of qualitative data, the research explores youth agency, state fragility and peace in post-war Sierra Leone. It looks at socio-economic development, youth survival strategies in new informal economies and in the contradictory processes of youth social exclusions. Further, it discusses the impact of globalization in the re-invention of a rebellious youth culture and in the centrality of agency, emphasizing the functionality of music as the new collective voice of youth in Sierra Leone. The main conclusion of the research is that to understand the power of youth, one must look at young people as social shifters. Moreover, one must look at the Sierra Leonean state in terms of social stratification. The reality of a multiplicity of factors – social, cultural, political, economic, ethnic and historical – has important implications for assessing youth agency in postcolonial Sierra Leone. These factors, among others, have their own impact on young individuals and on how they experience opportunities and obligations, and how they express their statuses and social significance. By expanding the study into a multi-dimensional analysis while focusing it on individuals’ perspectives of their own experiences, this research attempts to elucidate the many complex realities of the youth of Sierra Leone. Their hostile and often aggressive behaviour not only reflects a collective survival strategy, but it reveals the continuity of the conflicts of the past as well as the limitations of the state at removing unfreedoms in Sierra Leone.
|Titolo:||MARGINAL YOUTH, STATE COLLAPSE, AND WAR: YOUTH AGENCY IN POSTCOLONIAL SIERRA LEONE|
|Data di pubblicazione:||6-apr-2011|
|Settore Scientifico Disciplinare:||Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica|
|Citazione:||MARGINAL YOUTH, STATE COLLAPSE, AND WAR: YOUTH AGENCY IN POSTCOLONIAL SIERRA LEONE / I. Assis Leao Luz ; Dissertation Supervisor: dr. Alberto Martinelli ; Co-Supervisor: Ibrahim Abdullah. - Milano : Università degli studi di Milano. Università degli Studi di Milano, 2011 Apr 06. ((22. ciclo, Anno Accademico 2009.|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||Tesi di dottorato|