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Title: Peace as societal transformation : intergenerational power-struggles and the role of youth in post-conflict Sierra Leone
Author: Boersch-Supan, Johanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2744 6889
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2012
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Intergenerational solidarity and reciprocity are fundamental building blocks of any society. At the same time, socio-generational groups constantly struggle for influence and authority. In Sub-Saharan Africa, disproportionately male, gerontocratic and patrimonial systems governing economic, social and political life lend a special explosiveness to the social cleavage of generation. This dissertation draws on the concept of the generational contract to explore whether Sierra Leone’s decade-long civil war (1991-2001) – labelled a ‘revolt of youth’ – catalysed changes in the power-asymmetries between age groups. Based on fieldwork conducted between 2007 and 2010, I argue that youth in post-war Sierra Leone question fundamental norms of intergenerational relations and challenge local governance structures demanding changes to the generational contract. Amidst a strong continuity of gerontocratic dominance and counter-strategies from elders, youth draw on organisational forms and a local rights discourse to create spaces for contestation and negotiation. These openings hold potential for long-term rearrangements of societal relations in the medium to long-term future.
Supervisor: Soares de Oliveira, Ricardo Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Governance in Africa ; Social Inequality ; Children and youth ; Intergenerational relationships ; Social mobility ; Social status ; Social cleavages ; Africa ; conflict ; integration ; Rights (development) ; human rights ; local government ; history of Africa