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The power in-between: youth's subaltern agency and the post-conflict everyday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)36-57
Issue number1
Early online date31 Oct 2014
Accepted/In press7 Jul 2014
E-pub ahead of print31 Oct 2014

King's Authors


Drawing on examples from the post-conflict context in Liberia, this article suggests that the framing of youth as subvertors or as agents of peace is a product of the practices of classifying, including and excluding associated with peacebuilding and reintegration. Such policies, while advancing the rhetoric of inclusion, may fall short of rectifying marginalisation. More prominently they may remain decoupled from the problems of access to socially valued goals such as formal employment. Inaccessibility results in youth's agency and resourcefulness being enacted on the margins as diplomatic interactions, choices and decisions in the everyday. This subaltern form of agency however presents a hopeful position: a form of power and capacity independent of inclusiveness as a policy or strategy, inaccessibility as a structural reality and marginalisation as an outcome. Recognition of youth's subaltern agency can help reorient the rationale for youth-focused programming; it can also encourage a shift in policy thinking about youth's potential contribution to peacebuilding.

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