Globally sensitive: Revolt, citizenship, and expectations for the future in North Africa

Globally sensitive: Revolt, citizenship, and expectations for the future in North Africa

It is broadly acknowledged that the most consistent contribution to the ‘Arab uprising' has been given by young people from different walks of life. Through keywords conveying expectations of individual recognition and collective participation - karāma (dignity), ‘adāla ijtima‘iyya (social justice), hurriyya (freedom) - young people of different political groups (including Islamists) voiced a demand for ‘global citizenship' which is at odds with the discourses on nation and community classically encouraged by the post-colonial elites. These demands have been generally attributed to the local conditions of poverty and unemployment, however a more thorough analysis of their aspirations is yet to be performed.
My project aims to study and compare the forms of social and political participation and the expectations of the future enacted by groups of young people in three Arab countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt). I choose such countries both for the recognized role of their ‘shabāb' (young people) in the uprising and for the different outcomes of the events.
My core research question is: how do young people of these countries craft their identity weighting in different discursive traditions and how does this negotiation shape their desires and aspirations for the future? Additional queries include: to what extent is their engagement related to a lack of material resources or combines with a desire of membership in a wider global community? Is there a relationship between the new commitment for social change and the widespread desire of emigration that I observed and studied in the past?
Building on Appadurai's recent reflections on the ‘capacity to aspire' and Moore's claim for an anthropology of the future, I aim to propose a ‘political anthropology of aspirations' able to meet one of the main question raised by the Arab revolt, that is under what conditions people may accept ‘voluntary servitude' or commit themselves to a change.

Estatuto: 
Proponent entity
Financed: 
Yes
Entidades: 
Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia
Keywords: 

Anthropology, Youth, Arab societies, Subjectivity, Social movements 

 

 

 

 

It is broadly acknowledged that the most consistent contribution to the ‘Arab uprising' has been given by young people from different walks of life. Through keywords conveying expectations of individual recognition and collective participation - karāma (dignity), ‘adāla ijtima‘iyya (social justice), hurriyya (freedom) - young people of different political groups (including Islamists) voiced a demand for ‘global citizenship' which is at odds with the discourses on nation and community classically encouraged by the post-colonial elites. These demands have been generally attributed to the local conditions of poverty and unemployment, however a more thorough analysis of their aspirations is yet to be performed.
My project aims to study and compare the forms of social and political participation and the expectations of the future enacted by groups of young people in three Arab countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt). I choose such countries both for the recognized role of their ‘shabāb' (young people) in the uprising and for the different outcomes of the events.
My core research question is: how do young people of these countries craft their identity weighting in different discursive traditions and how does this negotiation shape their desires and aspirations for the future? Additional queries include: to what extent is their engagement related to a lack of material resources or combines with a desire of membership in a wider global community? Is there a relationship between the new commitment for social change and the widespread desire of emigration that I observed and studied in the past?
Building on Appadurai's recent reflections on the ‘capacity to aspire' and Moore's claim for an anthropology of the future, I aim to propose a ‘political anthropology of aspirations' able to meet one of the main question raised by the Arab revolt, that is under what conditions people may accept ‘voluntary servitude' or commit themselves to a change.

Objectivos: 
1. To study the emergence of youth moralities and subjectivities in three Arab countries (Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt), observing similarities and differences among youth of different social groups and affiliations; 2. To examine the specific, local aspirations, desires and hopes of the young people, their connections with the ‘global ecumene' of values and expectations and their capacity to influence new values, moralities, possibilities of agency and forms of collective participation; 3. To put forward a ‘political anthropology of aspirations' able to analyze the relations between structures of power and the possibility of imagining alternatives and social change; 4. To analyze the ‘Arab revolt' and the forms of youth participation in their current and future developments, focusing on the role of local and global sensibilities in moulding demands, strategies and discourses; 5. To observe the elements of continuity and differentiation with the historical claims of anti- colonial and post-colonial movements.
Parceria: 
Unintegrated
Coordenador 
Start Date: 
01/04/2015
End Date: 
31/03/2020
Duração: 
60 meses
Active