Derry Girls and the Politics of the Everyday: Theorizing for a More Youth-Inclusive Approach to Peacebuilding
Queen's University, Canada
The popular sitcom Derry Girls is a witty take on director Lisa McGee’s adolescent experience in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. While this period marks an era of exceptional sectarian violence, Derry Girls showcases the ways that conflict also becomes entangled within mundane, everyday life and how young people are profoundly affected by conflict yet are continually excluded from conflict-related decision-making. I draw on Derry Girls to unpack the theoretical framework offered by Berents and McEvoy-Levy that seeks to include young people more intentionally in peacebuilding by acknowledging how peace is narrated by and through youth, that structures can either inhibit or facilitate positive contributions to peace by youth, and the extent to which peace and conflict are profoundly ‘youthed’. The objective of this paper is to offer credence to a movement that defines peacebuilding differently than the state-centric and elite-driven model that has predominated peace and conflict studies, and instead follows the important contributions of sociological perspectives to the field. Following from the three pillars offered by Berents and McEvoy-Levy the following arguments are made. Firstly, recognizing youth as knowledge creators requires dismantling the protectionism and adultism that undergird peacebuilding. Secondly, a focus on the everyday actions of young people illuminates not only the ways that their daily lives are incongruent with reductionist accounts of their lived realities, but that their daily lives are also spaces of peacebuilding in and of themselves. Thirdly, and in culmination of the previous two arguments, I argue that a more youth-inclusive approach to peacebuilding requires re-examining the very concepts that underpin ‘youth’ and ‘peacebuilding’ and the barometers by which successful peace is measured.
Cheetah Generation: Youth Social Entrepreneurship in African countries
Affiliations: TakingITGlobal & OCAD University
Decolonization was explored through the lens of addressing youth employment in African countries and making space for development initiatives created for and by people living in the Global South to succeed. Africa is the youngest continent in the world with over 70% of the population under 34 years of age, yet unemployment and poverty among youth is very high. Despite these challenges, youth are employing creative ways to create opportunities for themselves while addressing poverty and other challenges in their communities and countries. A literature review was carried out to trace the history and ‘emergence’ of social enterprise within development theory and assess the effectiveness of the social enterprise against four other frameworks addressing poverty: philanthropy, international development assistance, development NGOs and governments. The social enterprise framework was found to be effective in addressing poverty and youth unemployment though involving the youth and the poor in the economic and social improvement of their own situations, and was found effective in adapting to the diverse needs of youth and the poor in their various contexts. This research presented a multiplicity of voices through academic and policy forms of writing, as well as ‘on-the-ground’ realities, human struggles and challenges. The narrative case studies methodology was employed to understand first-hand stories of youth making a difference through social entrepreneurship. Foresight, a design thinking methodology was employed to assess the potential future of youth social entrepreneurship and to develop recommendations for development actors, government and private sector to support youth initiatives to grow and succeed. Decolonizing ourselves as scholars, practitioners and activists involves genuinely collaborating with organizations in the Global South, particularly grassroots youth-led organizations, while moving away from favoring and funding ideas and initiatives that fit the ‘Global North’ or ‘eurocentric’ view of what development should be in Africa.
“You can settle here”: immobility aspirations and capabilities among youth from rural Honduras
1University of Waterloo, Canada; 2University of Guelph, Canada; 3La Fundación para la Investigación Participativa con Agricultores de Honduras (Spanish acronym: FIPAH), Honduras
A “mobility bias” has been identified in the migration literature, whereby researchers have focused on the drivers of migration while neglecting the factors that influence immobility decisions. Addressing this gap is important for developing a holistic understanding of human mobility patterns and effectively mitigating experiences of distress migration among populations experiencing marginalization. Youth from rural Honduras face various social, economic, environmental, and political pressures that impede rural livelihood sustainability and increase their vulnerability to distress migration, with implications for rural development and youth well-being. This qualitative study explored (im)mobility aspirations and decisions among rural Honduran youth, drawing on 32 in-depth semi-structured interviews conducted with youth from two rural municipalities of Honduras in 2019. The study was designed and executed in partnership with la Fundación para la Investigación Participativa con Agricultores de Honduras (Spanish acronym: FIPAH). Analyses were guided by the aspiration-capabilities framework. Findings showed that respondents were deterred from outmigration due to associated risks and uncertainties, negative experiences of migration communicated through migrant networks, and negative discourses around migration within their communities (repel factors). Immobility preferences were also shaped by family obligations and support networks, appreciation for the land and country, and a moral imperative to stay (retain factors). Respondents identified the capacity to envision viable rural livelihood options as an important precursor to actualizing their immobility aspirations. They acknowledged the role of rural development organizations in helping them envision livelihood options and access the education and training required to pursue those options. Importantly, respondents positioned themselves as active agents of their immobility decisions, creatively applying skills and leveraging resources in order to turn immobility aspirations into immobility outcomes. These findings help address the “mobility bias” in migration studies by enriching an understanding of immobility as an agentic livelihood practice in a context with high rates of outmigration.