What Politics? Youth and Political Engagement in Africa

Friday, 20 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Elina OINAS, University of Helsinki, Finland
This paper provides an introductory note to the anthology What Politics? Youth and Political Engagement in Africa, setting the analytical landscape for the chapters. It is emphasized that the notion of engagement serves here to examine the various stakes young people in today’s Africa have in their present and future lives, and their personal and collective ways of tackling them. The volume underscores the importance of going beyond dualist accounts of youth by promoting empirical openness to what matters to young people as an aspect of change in their everyday lives. The paper outlines the contents of the book in three sections: ‘Envisioning’, ‘Entitlement’ and ‘Embeddedness’. The section ‘Envisioning’ emphasizes creative agency and youthful aspirations for personal and collective autonomy, often through cultural expressions. The second section, ‘Entitlement’, highlights young people’s efforts to claim and justify their pursuits of material justice and life chances in the future. The third section, ‘Embeddedness’, discusses youth participation in formal political arenas.