Notions of Hope in a Fragile Context – the Afghan Youth Project

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 08:40
Oral Presentation
Aisha-Nusrat AHMAD, International Psychoanalytic University, Germany
Phil LANGER, International Psychoanalytic University Berlin, Germany
Afghanistan and its people have been wracked with more than three decades of war and conflict that have led Afghanistan to be amongst the poorest countries in the world. Lack of educational facilities and societal restrictions especially for girls and young women, corruption, nepotism, unemployment as well gender and ethnic discrimination are common. The Afghan Youth Project aims to understand the impact of traumatic experiences of everyday violence have for identity formation, conceptions of society and the development of social agency for youths in Afghanistan. And as well as how these experiences shape their imaginations of a different peaceful Afghanistan? To what extent do they see themselves capable in contributing to a societal and political transformation? Children and adolescents amount together two third of the country’s population, yet their experiences, are neglected in scientific debates, that primarily focus on political and military ‚powerful‘ actors. But it is the young generation that shapes the country’s future therefore we think that the experiences of the youth must be taken into account when thinking about the country’s future. For this presentation, we would like to share some findings of the Afghan Youth Project that explores with a participatory research design the everyday experience on a micro level with qualitative methods such as narrative interviews and drawings as well projective essays and drawings considering the heterogeneous ethnicities and socioeconomic backgrounds. By now 45 narrative interviews, more than 170 projective essays and more than 200 drawings have been collected by the authors together with the local co-researchers. For this presentation, the authors will focus by drawing on the empirical data the narratives of pain and suffering but also the notions of resistance and hope among young Afghans and highlighting gender differences in dealing and coping with the experiences of violence.